Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sansad TV- Wildlife Protection Bill




Constitutional Provisions for Wildlife:

  • The 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, Forests and Protection of Wild Animals and Birds was transferred from State to Concurrent List.
  • Article 51 A (g) of the Constitution states that it shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests and Wildlife.
  • Article 48 A in the Directive Principles of State policy, mandates that the State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.

Key features and Analysis:

  • CITES:
    • 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.
    • Under CITES, plant and animal specimens are classified into three categories (Appendices) based on the threat to their extinction.
    • The Convention requires countries to regulate the trade of all listed specimens through permits.  It also seeks to regulate the possession of live animal specimens.
    • The Bill seeks to implement these provisions of CITES.
  • Rationalising schedules: Currently, the Act has six schedules for specially protected plants (one), specially protected animals (four), and vermin species (one).  Vermin refers to small animals that carry disease and destroy food.  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
    • Inserts a new schedule for specimens listed in the Appendices under CITES (scheduled specimens).
  • Obligations under CITES:   The Bill provides for the central government to designate a: (i) Management Authority, which grants export or import permits for trade of specimens, and (iii) Scientific Authority, which gives advice on aspects related to impact on the survival of the specimens being traded.
  • The 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.
  • Invasive alien species: The 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.
  • Control of sanctuaries: 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.  The Bill specifies that actions of the Chief Warden must be in accordance with the management plans for the sanctuary.
  •  Conservation reserves: 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.  The Bill empowers the central government to also notify a conservation reserve.
  • Surrender of captive animals: The 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.
  • Penalties: The Act prescribes imprisonment terms and fines for violating the provisions of the Act.  The Bill increases these fines.

Concerns raised:

  • The Bill doesn’t include regional invasive species –some of which may be native to the country but invasive in some parts.
  • The amendment Bill has no separate Schedule for species the Act classifies as ‘vermin’,so the Centre can directly notify such species and open them up to be hunted – including some of the species currently in Schedule II.
  • The Bill also proposes changes to the Schedules. Foremost, it reduces the number of Schedules from six to four, to “rationalise” the lists. But the two main substitute Schedules that will specify the protected species are incomplete.
  • The Bill will render the existing ‘State Boards for Wildlife’defunct by replacing it them with set up a ‘Standing Committee’ of the State Board of Wildlife – headed by the respective state forest minister and 10 members nominated by the minister.


  • The recent amendment has taken a progressive step to foster the participation of forest dwellers within national parks while determining the management plan.
  • However, there is an imminent need to expand the definition of invasive alien species to include invasive native species.
  • Also, the amended bill should not disrupt the role of the State Board for Wildlife.