One of its primary aim to include the local communities and local bodies in policy making was to respect and protect their rotational knowledge. The act also declared certain vulnerable areas to be ‘Biological Diversity Heritage Sites’. The process of formulating Biodiversity Act started only after India becoming a signatory to the Convention on Biodiversity in 1992. Even then, it took ten years to be notified.
However, according to many experts, the loopholes in the act indicate that the real push was an international treaty obligation. On the notification of the Biodiversity Act, there were mixed responses. While many environmentalists were happy that the overspent had taken the first legal step to protect biodiversity, there was a growing discontent over some of the provisions of the act. The privileged granted to the Indian companies was in question.
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Because of the mixed structure of the Indian economy, the powers bestowed upon the private entrepreneurs was a matter of concern for the critics. There was also concerns that the act had sanctioned intellectual property rights on biodiversity by outlining a process for accepting applications, screening them and thereafter approving such claims. There is a strong pinion from experts that the space provided for local representation in the Biodiversity Act has been completely diluted with a new set of rules.
As per these rules and regulations, the role of biological management committees is limited to preparing People’s Biodiversity Registers that document local knowledge and bio- resources. This greatly undermines the rights of the local communities who are the most important stake holders when it comes to the conservation of biological resources. Also to be noted, the Act does not provide a comprehensive regime for the insertion and sustainable use of biological resources but largely focuses on the question of access to resources and related issues.
The legal and apparent loopholes in the Act is not only providing a vague knowledge to the citizens as to the protection of biodiversity, but also monopolizing the powers and rights to a great extent. Keeping in mind the locals and ardent conserver, an amendment providing their increased access to biologically vulnerable areas should be made without a delay, ultimately to restore the lost faith of the mass in the Indian legal system. An abstract on biodiversity act By sublanguage