Government has been taking slew of measures to promote biodiversity through several steps including increasing Biodiversity Heritage Sites, creating awareness on conservation of plant genetic resources and give awards to farmers to encourage conservation of Plant Genetic Resources.
“So far forty-four (44) Biodiversity Heritage Sites have been notified by sixteen (16) states. As per Section 37 (1) of the Biological Diversity Act,2002 the State Government may, from time to time in consultation with the local bodies, notify in the Official Gazette, of areas of biodiversity importance as Biodiversity Heritage Sites,” said Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey in Lok Sabha today.
Biodiversity Heritage Site is a unique conservation approach recognised under the Section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002. Biodiversity Heritage Sites have rich biodiversity with wild as well as domesticated species; high endemism; rare and threatened species, keystone species, species of evolutionary significance, wild ancestors of domesticated/ cultivated species; fossil beds; cultural, ethical or aesthetic values for maintaining cultural diversity, with or without long human association with them.
These heritage sites are located in several states including Assam, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tripura, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa.
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Along with it, the Government of India is creating awareness on conservation of plant genetic resources including seeds of farmers’ varieties and landraces through the schemes like Tribal Sub-Plan, North-Eastern Hill Region and Scheduled Caste Sub Plan.
“A total of 233 most potential varieties of different crops identified by farmers are being conserved through on-farm cultivation, value chain and marketing involving Self Help Groups and Farmer Producer Organizations (in seven states including Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) by National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources – Indian Council for Agricultural Research, New Delhi,” he added.
Also, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFR) Act, 2001, the PPVFR Authority annually confers awards, rewards, and recognitions to farmers (s)/farming communities who are involved in the conservation of Plant Genetic Resources.
The Plant Genome Saviour Community award is awarded to five farming communities and each award amounts to Rs 10 lakhs along with a citation. The Plant Genome Saviour Farmer Reward is awarded to ten farmers and each reward amounts to Rs 1.50 lakhs. The Plant Genome Saviour Farmer Recognition is awarded to twenty farmers with Rs 1 lakh each.
So far, 41 Plant Genome Saviour Community Awards, 67 Plant Genome Saviour Farmer Rewards, and 84 Plant Genome Saviour Farmer recognition were conferred.