WILDLIFE PROTECTION AMENDMENT BILL 2021
3rd August, 2022 Environment
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Context: The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021 was passed by Lok Sabha.
- The bill aims to implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and expand the number of species protected by the convention.
- CITES is a convention that requires countries to regulate the trade of all listed specimens through permits and regulate the possession of live animal specimens so it does not threaten the survival of the species.
- The previous Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 had six schedules for specially protected plants (one), specially protected animals (four), and one vermin species (small animals that carry disease and destroy food).
- The amended bill reduces the total number of schedules to four by eliminating the schedule for vermin species and reducing the number of schedules for specially protected animals to two.
- It also inserts a new schedule for specimens listed under CITES.
- The Bill provides for the central government to designate an authority which grants export or import licences for the trading in specimens. Anyone who trades in a scheduled specimen must inform the appropriate authority of the transaction's specifics.
- The authority may use an identification mark for a specimen which, the bill, prohibits any person from removing or modifying. Additionally, people possessing live specimens of scheduled animals must obtain a registration certificate from the Management Authority.
- The Bill gives the government the authority to control or outlaw the import, trade, and possession of invasive alien species, or those that are not indigenous to India.
- The bill increases the penalty for violations of the provisions of the bill. Under the 1972 act, the general fine was up to ₹25,000 which has been increased to ₹1,00,000. For violating the provisions meant for specially protected animals, the previous fine was up to ₹10,000 and now has been increased to at least ₹25,000.
- The bill will also ensure greater control and regulation of wildlife sanctuaries and empower the government to notify a conservation reserve, an area located next to sanctuaries or national parks to protect the flora and fauna.
- Additionally, the bill provides for any person to voluntarily surrender any captive animals or animal products for which no compensation will be awarded and the items will become the property of the state government.