The State Biodiversity Board is yet to start functioning in a full-fledged manner, said Balakrishna Pisupati, Chairman, National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) of India.

Dr. Pisupati told The Hindu that Biodiversity Boards in other States such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur and West Bengal had already formed Biodiversity Monitoring Committees (BMC) in large numbers, whereas in Tamil Nadu less than 10 BMCs were formed.

The Biological Diversity Act required the BMCs to develop People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBR) at the local level to implement the conservation, access and benefit sharing provisions of the Act. The NBA is currently focussing on strengthening the BMCs to prepare the PBRs, he said. Citing the example of Kerala, Dr Pisupati said the State Biodiversity Board in Kerala had formed 948 BMCs. There the BMCs were formed at the village, taluk, municipal, and corporation levels. The Kerala Board had also taken action to include biodiversity as a subject in the school and college curriculum. The Kerala State Biodiversity Board was functioning independently and introducing novel concepts, he said.

The Union government had allocated nearly Rs. 200 crore for the NBA this financial year. The Authority proposed to allocate Rs. 50 crore for strengthening State Biodiversity Boards, and another Rs 50 crore for improving the PBRs, Dr Pisupati said.

Listing the various activities of the State Biodiversity Boards of a few States, Dr. Pisupati said the Andhra Pradesh Board had started conducting training for BMCs. In Gujarat, the State Board had started conducting orientation programme for judicial officers. The West Bengal Board started the work of doing economic valuation of biodiversity resources. The Meghalaya State Board started a GIS-based system to ensure operationalisation of BMCs. The NBA provided technical aid and supportive staff to 21 State Biodiversity Boards in the country for better implementation of the Biodiversity Act.

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