Hence, it is important for IAS aspirants to cover the environment chapter of the India year book so as to better understand the latest government initiatives in conservation.
A: Biodiversity Conservation Scheme Relating to Biosafety
I. Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC)
• The Ministry of Environment under the Environment (Protection) Act has notified the Rules for the Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms or Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells in 1989.
• The rules also cover the application of hazardous microorganisms which may not be genetically modified.
• Hazardous microorganisms include those which are pathogenic to animals as well as plants.
II. Cartagena Biosafety Protocol
• The main objective of the Protocol is to ensure safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology.
• The LMOs that may have an adverse effect on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking into account risk to human health.
• The Cartagena Biosafety Protocol (CBP) was negotiated under the aegis of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
• India is a party to the Protocol. The Protocol came into force in 2003.
• As of date, 170 countries are parties to the Protocol.
III. Nagoya COP
• The Nagoya Protocol is aimed at fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources.
• The Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress is a new international treaty adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the CPB at Nagoya, Japan.
• The scheme has helped in strengthening the biosafety management systems and awareness in India.
IV. Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee
• All GMOs and products thereof are regulated under Rules 1989 of EPA.
• Bt cotton was the first GM crop to be approved in 2002. GEAC has adopted the ‘event based approval’ mechanism wherein a new procedure for commercial release of Bt cotton hybrids is initiated.
• Approvals for confined field trials of several GM crops for generation of biosafety data both from the private and public sector institutions has been given.
• These include transgenic maize, tomato, potato, rubber, cotton, rice, brinjal, mustard, castor, sorghum, wheat, watermelon, groundnut, Forest PLUS papaya, sugarcane, banana, pigeon pea, chickpea, artemisia.
• The US Forest-PLUS Programme is signed under the Partnership Agreement between the Government of India and United States of America for the Sustainable Forests and Climate Adaptation Project.
• The programme focus is on REDD+ and enhanced carbon sequestration through afforestation, conservation and sustainable management of forests, enhancing climate resilience, capacity building etc.
• The Forest Plus Programme is being implemented in the four states i.e., Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Sikkim.
Brief and Objective
• The Indian Forest Act, 1927 (IFA), provides the legal framework for the protection and management of forest, transit of forest produce and timber, and the duty leviable on timber and other forest produce.
• This act also provides the mechanism to ensure notification of reserved, protected and village forests, protection of forest resources, forest biodiversity and wildlife of the country.
• National Forest Policy aims to have a minimum of one-third of the total land area under forests.
• The Protected Area network in India comprises 730 protected areas (103 national parks, 535 wildlife sanctuaries, 66 conservation reserves and 26 community reserves).
• Protection of wildlife outside the Protected Areas is also provided by this scheme and also the recovery programmes for saving critically endangered species.
Its objectives include:
• To assist the states/UTs in the development and management of protected areas networks and even provide protection of wildlife inside and outside protected areas;
• To provide for the voluntary relocation of villages falling within the PAs to outside area and settlement of rights.
• To provide financial and assistance for eco-development, training, capacity building and research studies;
• To create facilities for better protection and management of PAs/High-value biodiversity formations.
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) is a statutory multi-disciplinary body to combat organised wildlife crime in the country. Some objectives are as follows:
• Advise the Government of India on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws.
• To collect and collate intelligence related to organised wildlife crime activities.
• Capacity building of the wildlife crime enforcement agencies for a scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crime.
• To disseminate the same to state and other enforcement agencies for immediate action so as to apprehend the criminals.
• To establish a centralised wildlife crime data bank.
• Assist State Governments to ensure success in prosecutions related to wildlife crimes.
• Coordinate actions by various agencies in connection with the enforcement of the provisions of the Act.
• Assist international organisations concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control.
Central Zoo Authority
India endorsed the London Declaration and Kasane Statement on illegal Wildlife Trade. The main objectives of the Central Zoo Authority are two-fold:
• To enforce minimum standards and norms for upkeep and healthcare of animals in the Indian zoos.
• To monitor and evaluate the existing zoos so that they can be transferred into potent centres for ex-situ conservation of endangered wild fauna.
Project Elephant (PE) was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and 100 per cent financial assistance is provided to the concerned state government for undertaking various activities for scientific management of elephant habitats. There are 29 notified Elephant Reserve in the country.
Presently the project is being mainly implemented in 22 states/UTs. The 2 proposed Elephant Reserve are Khasi Hills Elephant Reserve in Meghalaya and Lemru Elephant Reserve in Chhattisgarh.
It has the following objectives: -
• To protect elephants, their habitat and corridors.
• Welfare of domesticated elephants.
• To address issues of man-animal conflict.
Project Tiger/National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
Its main objectives of this Centrally Sponsored Scheme are:
• To ensure maintenance of a viable population of tigers in India for aesthetic, scientific, economic, cultural and ecological values.
• To preserve for all times, areas of biological importance as a national heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people.
The Animal Welfare Board of India
To prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals as per the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act is the main objective of this organisation. Committee for Purpose of Control & Supervision of Experiments on Animals was established under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
The following Central Sector schemes are being implemented by the Animal Welfare Board of India:
i. AWBI Plan Scheme;
ii. Scheme for provision of ambulance services to animals in distress;
iii. Scheme for birth control and immunization of stray dogs;
iv. Scheme for shelter houses for looking after the animals;
v. Scheme for relief to animals during unforeseen circumstances and natural calamities.
National Institute of Animal Welfare
The National Institute of Animal Welfare (NIAW) has been set up as a subordinate office of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The objectives of NIAW are:
• To create an enabling environment for fulfilment of the statutory requirements as laid down in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
• To improve animal welfare through education, research and public outreach.
• To impart training and education in animal welfare on a diversified basis comprising animal management, their behaviour and ethics.
Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Clearance
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been amended from time to time to further streamline the clearance process. The main objective is to integrate environmental concerns into the developmental process for achieving the goal of sustainable development.
The safeguard measures are intended to minimize adverse impacts, inter alia, on:
• Air quality
• Wildlife habitat
• Land degradation
• Water quality