New Delhi: A bill which seeks to conserve and protect wildlife through better management of protected areas and rationalise schedules which list out species under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, was introduced in Lok Sabha on Friday.
The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021, was introduced by Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav amid din created by the Opposition over the Lakhimpur Kheri violence issue.
According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, was enacted to provide for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants with a view to ensure the ecological and environmental security of the country.
The bill seeks to include the aspects of “conservation” and “management” of wildlife which are covered by the Act and make amendments for better management of protected areas.
It proposes to rationalise and amend the schedules, which list out wildlife species, for the purposes of clarity, and ensure better care of seized live animals and disposal of seized wildlife parts and products.
“The Wildlife Act broadly has two classes of animals, that is to say, (a) species listed in Schedule I and Part II of Schedule II; and (b) species listed in Part I of Schedule II, Schedule III, and Schedule IV, based on which their protection and penalties for contravention differ,” according to the bill.
“Since, the Act essentially has only these two levels of protection for animals, the segregation of protected animals or species in four schedules may not be appropriate and may cause confusion and be difficult for the public to understand. Therefore, it is proposed to rationalise and amend the schedules,” it said.
The bill seeks to enable control of invasive alien species and allow for transfer or transport of live elephants by person having ownership certificates in accordance with conditions prescribed by the central government.
It also proposes to insert a new Chapter VB in the principal Act for regulation of international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora and allow state boards for wildlife to constitute standing committees.
India is a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which requires that appropriate measures are taken to enforce the provisions of the convention.