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MPSBB plans to enforce ABS compliance with newly notified guidelines

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Monday, August 31, 2015, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Against the backdrop of over dozen cases of non-compliance related to Biodiversity Act having been dismissed by National Green Tribunal (NGT), Madhya Pradesh State Biodiversity Board (MPSBB) has formed a state level committee to resolve issues related to non-compliance to Biodiversity Act (BD Act) and implement the recently notified access to bio-resources and benefit sharing (ABS) guideline effective from November 21 last year.

Cases which now stands dismissed were pending at NGT for the past two years awaiting the recently notified guidelines on benefit sharing for final order. Due to lack of uniform benefit sharing guidelines, which are now notified, MPSBB plans to implement the ABS notification to be able to collect from domestic and foreign companies a certain percentage of their ex-factory gross sales of products using biological resources and traditional knowledge.

As per the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, Ayush manufacturer has the responsibility to share details of the source from where the raw material has been procured and also a certain percentage of the revenue generated out of the production for its sustainable use.

Cases of litigations were pending with NGT Bhopal bench of Madhya Pradesh (MP) and in various benches of High Court of MP. In 2012, companies had moved to courts when MPSBB asked them to deposit the stipulated amount on benefit sharing as per the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

Explains Dr Ram Gopal Soni, former member secretary, MPSBB, "Due to lack of uniform benefit sharing guidelines, which is now notified, boards of all the states and NBA have been losing Rs.25,000 crore and Rs.10,000 crore every year respectively since 2004.

Dr Soni is credited to have initiated the action during his tenure at MPSBB following which companies moved to NGT. NGT, however, approved the actions taken by MPSBB. Giving reference of his authored book titled "Biodiversity Act 2002 - A forgotten Act", Dr Soni, an IFS officer of 1982 batch, having over 30 years experience in biodiversity conservation explains, "The book offers in detail the procedures required for implementation of ABS guidelines by State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) and NBA and states that around 95 per cent of benefits collected by SBBs and NBA will go to local bodies through Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) as per the Act.

While talking about how the BD Act needs to be implemented, he further explains that the book is a practical guide to subjects like issuing notices, filing of complaints in district courts for registering cases against industries for not following the provisions of the Act and also includes case studies to understand the nuances of the Act. Though the Act was enacted but it was not implemented by any SBB or NBA in totality for the past 12 years or so. "This book deals in length as why it was not implemented, what is the scope and status of its implementation by different SBBs and NBA," he concludes.

BD Act was enacted in the year 2002 with the objective for conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits out of the use of biological resource, knowledge and for matters connected there with or accidental there to.


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Dr Arvind Saklani Sep 9, 2015 4:39 PM

The comment- "Due to lack of uniform benefit sharing guidelines, which is now notified, boards of all the states and NBA have been losing Rs.25,000 crore and Rs.10,000 crore every year" seems to be unrealistic. If we consider maximum ABS of 0.5% (as per the notification 21 Nov 2014) of ex-factory sale of the bioresources based products, the total sale should be about Rs 75 lakh crores per year according to the above statement. Whereas the total AYUSH market is estimated to be Rs 15,000 crores in India.
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