Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2022: Rajya Sabha clears Wildlife Bill, Minister promises to protect elephants

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Source: The post is based on the article “Rajya Sabha clears Wildlife Bill, Minister promises to protect elephants” published in The Hindu on 9th December 2022

What is the News?

Rajya Sabha has passed the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2022.

What is the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2022?

The Bill seeks to amend the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

It seeks to ensure that the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 complies with the requirements of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Key Provisions of the Bill

Rationalizing schedules: The Bill reduces the total number of schedules from six to four by: 1) Reducing the number of schedules for specially protected animals to two (one for greater protection level), 2) Removes the schedule for vermin species and 3) Inserts a new schedule for specimens listed in the Appendices under CITES.

Permitted certain activities: The Bill seeks better management of protected areas and provides for certain permitted activities like grazing, movement of livestock, and bona fide use of drinking and household water by local communities.

Captive elephants: The Bill permits the transfer or transport of a captive elephant for a religious or any other purpose by a person having a valid certificate of ownership.

Management and scientific authority: The Bill empowers the Central government to designate 1) A management Authority to grant export or import permits for the trade of specimens and 2) A scientific Authority to advise on aspects related to the impact on the survival of the specimens being traded. 

Conservation reserves: The Bill empowers both Central and State governments to declare areas adjacent to national parks and sanctuaries as a conservation reserves, for protecting flora and fauna.

Alien species: The Bill empowers the Central government to regulate and stop the import, trade or possession of invasive plant or animal alien species.

– It provides that people may “voluntarily surrender” any captive animals to the Chief Wildlife Warden, and such surrendered animals will become the property of the state government.

Penalty: The Bill enhances the penalties prescribed for violation of provisions of the Act. For ‘General violations’, the maximum fine is increased from Rs 25,000 to Rs. 1 lakh. In the case of Specially protected animals, the minimum fine of Rs. 10,000 has been enhanced to Rs.25,000.

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