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Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021: Proposed Amendments to WPA 1972

Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Indian Constitution- Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • GS Paper 3: Environment- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021: Proposed Amendments to WPA 1972 -_3.1

 

Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021 in News

  • Recently, the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change has recommended not to encourage sale and purchase of captive elephants.
  • The Parliamentary panel has urged the government to remove the controversial clause in the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021 that overrides the original Act, making an exception only for the pachyderm.

Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021: Proposed Amendments to WPA 1972 -_4.1

 

About Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021

  • Amending WLP Act: Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021 seeks to amend the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
    • Mandate: The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 regulates the protection of wild animals, birds and plants.
  • Key Objective: The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill seeks to increase the species protected under the law, and implement provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • Below, proposed Amendments to the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 are discussed in detail-

Tiger Deaths, Tiger Conservation status and Protection Measures in India

 

Proposed amendments to CITES

  • About CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
  • Categorization: Under CITES, plant and animal specimens are classified into three categories (Appendices) based on the threat to their extinction.
  • Regulation: The CITES Convention requires countries to regulate the trade of all listed specimens through permits.
    • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) also seeks to regulate the possession of live animal specimens.
  • Proposed Amendments: The WPA Bill 2021 provides for the central government to designate a-
    • Management Authority: It grants export or import permits for trade of specimens.
      • Every person engaging in trade of a scheduled specimen must report the details of the transaction to the Management Authority.
      • As per CITES, the Management Authority may use an identification mark for a specimen.
      • The WPA Bill prohibits any person from modifying or removing the identification mark of the specimen.
      • Additionally, every person possessing live specimens of scheduled animals must obtain a registration certificate from the Management Authority.
    • Scientific Authority: It gives advice on aspects related to impact on the survival of the specimens being traded.

वन्य जीव (संरक्षण) संशोधन विधेयक, 2021: डब्ल्यूपीए 1972 में प्रस्तावित संशोधन

WPA Bill 2021 on Commercial Trade In Live Elephants

  • Present status: The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, under section 43, specifically prohibits trade in Wild Animals including captive and wild elephants.
  • Proposed Amendment: The WPA Bill provides for an exception that excludes ‘live elephant’ from the general prohibition contained in Section 43 of the Wild Life Act.
    • If passed, it will effectively allow commercial sale and purchase of ‘live elephants’ under the WPA Act.

 

Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021- Rationalizing Schedules

  • Present Status: Currently, the WPA Act has six schedules for specially protected plants (one), specially protected animals (four), and vermin species (one).
  • The Bill reduces the total number of schedules to four by-
    • Reducing the number of schedules for specially protected animals to two (one for greater protection level),
    • Removes the schedule for vermin species, and
    • Inserts a new schedule for specimens listed in the Appendices under CITES (scheduled specimens).

 

Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021- Invasive Alien Species

  • The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bills empowers the central government to regulate or prohibit the import, trade, possession or proliferation of invasive alien species.
    • Invasive alien species refers to plant or animal species which are not native to India and whose introduction may adversely impact wild life or its habitat.
  • The central government may authorise an officer to seize and dispose the invasive species.

 

 

Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021- Related to Wildlife Sanctuaries

  • Present Status: The Act entrusts the Chief Wild Life Warden to control, manage and maintain all sanctuaries in a state.
    • The Chief Wild Life Warden is appointed by the state government.
  • Proposed Amendments: The Bill specifies that actions of the Chief Warden must be in accordance with the management plans for the sanctuary.
    • These plans will be prepared as per guidelines of the central government, and as approved by the Chief Warden.
    • For sanctuaries falling under special areas, the management plan must be prepared after due consultation with the concerned Gram Sabha.
  • Special areas include a Scheduled Area or areas where the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is applicable.
    • Scheduled Areas are economically backward areas with a predominantly tribal population, notified under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution.

 

WPA Bill 2021- Notifying a Conservation reserves

  • Present Status: Under the Act, state governments may declare areas adjacent to national parks and sanctuaries as a conservation reserve, for protecting flora and fauna, and their habitat.
  • Proposed Amendments: The Bill empowers the central government to also notify a conservation reserve.

 

WPA Bill 2021- Surrender of Captive Animals

  • The WPS Bill provides for any person to voluntarily surrender any captive animals or animal products to the Chief Wild Life Warden.
  • No compensation will be paid to the person for surrendering such items. The surrendered items become property of the state government.

Proposed Penalties under WPA Bill 2021

  • The WPA Act prescribes imprisonment terms and fines for violating the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act.
  • The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill 2021 increases these fines.
Type of Violation              1972 Act 2021 Bill
General violation Up to Rs 25,000 Up to Rs 1,00,000
Specially protected animals At least Rs 10,000 At least Rs 25,000

 

Forest Conservation Act (FCA), 1980- Proposed Amendments to FCA

Forest Conservation Act (FCA), 1980- Proposed Amendments to FCA

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