Seventeen of India’s 38 tiger reserves were in a “precarious” condition, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh admitted Wednesday and said a task force had been set up to give recommendations for improvement.

“Of the 38 tiger reserves in the country, we have found that 17 are in a precarious condition and we have set up a task force to examine the status of the tiger reserves,” Mr. Ramesh told reporters here.

The task force will make recommendations for improving the condition of these tiger reserves. “Simlipal Tiger Reserve in Orissa has been selected for the pilot project,” Mr. Ramesh added.

He said a Wildlife Conservation and Management Amendment Bill would be introduced in the next budget session to ensure stringent penalty measures against the law breakers.

“The bill will have punishment measures equivalent to the money laundering and foreign exchange law,” Mr. Ramesh said.

The minister also underlined the need to strengthen policing across international borders with Nepal and Myanmar to check tiger poaching.