Cabinet clears Agriculture Bio-diversity bill

New Delhi: The Cabinet on Thursday approved a Bill that aims to set up National Agriculture Bio-diversity Authority that aims to keep a check on inflow of external pests while importing agricultural and animal products.

The National Agriculture Bio-diversity Bill will replace the Destructive Insects and Pest Act of 1914.

"The Cabinet approved the Bill which will have provisions to protect the country`s bio-diversity through stricter norms for import of agricultural, animal and fish products," sources said after the meeting.

The Authority will be set in the lines of similar legislation in the US, New Zealand and Australia. The proposed law will ensure streamlining of all plantation quarantine issues like pest-diseases and the threats of bio-terrorism either man-made or natural.

The Bill will help India implement international commitment on phytosanitary issues and control entry of any crop and plant related exotic diseases into the country.

The proposed law would have provisions for penalty and will ensure setting up of an integrated network of bio-diversity system in the country.

India imports edible oils, pulses, fruits among other food products. Besides, plant and seed materials are also imported for domestic use.