New Delhi: The Lok Sabha today passed the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021, seeking to increase the species protected under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, and implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES.
Replying to the discussion in Lok Sabha, Environment and Forests Minister Bhupender Yadav said that the unique ecosystem in the country must be preserved. He said, the Government has given equal importance to the development and environment. The Minister said, in the last eight years protected areas in the country have increased from 693 to 987, which includes fifty two tiger reserves.
Noting that, the government works on the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, he said, the centre is working towards the betterment of all wildlife species alongside humans. Replying to the concerns expressed by several members on increasing human – animal conflict, Bhupinder Yadav said plans have been drawn taking into account the socio-economic conditions of the regional ecosystem, on a case by case basis.
Mr Yadav said a special chapter has been added to conform to the international treaty Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. He said the bill makes amendments for better management of protected areas and s an explanation so as to provide for certain permitted activities such as grazing or movement of livestock, bona fide use of drinking water by local communities, till they are provided with a better displacement plan.
He called upon people to boycott luxury products made from animals belonging to endangered species.
Referring to the concerns by the Members of West Bengal, the Minister said protecting Sundarbans is Government’s constitutional responsibility. He also said, wetlands purify our environment and should be saved.
During the discussions, Congress Floor Leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, the Government could have held more consultations on the wildlife protection with the stakeholders. Dr Thirumavalavan from Tamil Nadu questioned the logic behind allowing commercial transaction of wildlife in the Bill.
Earlier, Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi initiated the discussions in the House, on the Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Bill 2021. Kirti Vardhan Singh (BJP), Remya Haridas (INC), Thomas Chazhikkadan (KC-M), Apurupa Poddar (AITC), Dr Mohammad Jawed (INC), Sardar Simranjit Singh Mann (SAD-M), Sangita Kumari Singh Deo (BJP) and Prof. Saugat Ray of AITC were among those who participated in the discussions.