Hyderabad, Oct. 16: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced $50 million (Rs 2,650 crore) for efforts to strengthen bio-diversity conservation in the country.
“I am pleased to launch the Hyderabad Pledge and announce that our government has decided to earmark a sum of $50 million,” Singh said while inaugurating a meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. India is the current president of the global conference.
The amount will be used to enhance technical and human capabilities of national and state-level agencies to attain bio-diversity objectives, Singh said, underscoring that India’s traditional systems of agriculture and medicine relied heavily on plant and animal bio-diversity.
The Prime Minister made special mention of a traditional knowledge digital library with a database of 34 million pages. The library helps meet the aims of a global pact, the Nagoya Protocol, aimed at protecting traditional knowledge systems such as ayurveda.
“We decided to build this database because of the patent on the use of neem extracts in Europe and another on the use of turmeric as a healing agent. Since then, because of this database, over 1,000 cases of bio-piracy have been identified and over 105 claims withdrawn or cancelled by patent offices,” Singh said.
The Prime Minister listed the laws India had in place to protect bio-diversity. These include the protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights' Act, which allows farmers to register seed varieties, and the Forest Rights Act that protects the rights of forest dwellers to jungle produce.