Highlights of the Bill

  •  The Bill establishes the Agricultural Biosecurity Authority of India (ABAI) to protect plants, animals and related products from pests and diseases to ensure agricultural biosecurity. 
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    • ABAI will regulate imports and exports of plants and animals, as well as their inter-state movement.  Imports and exports of plants and animals shall only be allowed if they are issued permits by the respective authority in the originating country or by ABAI, respectively.
    • ABAI will also conduct surveillance of pests and diseases in the country, undertake pest risk analysis, and interact with research institutes and state governments on plant and animal protection.
    • ABAI may notify quarantine pests.  It may also declare an area as a controlled area if it is suspected of being infested with pests.  It shall communicate the measures to be taken by the state government.
    • If a state government fails to take the required measures, ABAI can take necessary steps to eradicate or contain a quarantine pest in a controlled area.  The state government shall reimburse ABAI with the costs incurred for such purposes.   
    • The central government may declare a biosecurity emergency on the recommendation of ABAI in case of a pest or disease outbreak.
    • ABAI shall discharge international obligations under various international trade, sanitary and phytosanitary agreements. 

    Key Issues and Analysis

    • Currently, import, export, quarantine, and the inter-state spread of plant and animal diseases are regulated by various entities under different laws.  These functions will be subsumed under the proposed ABAI.
    • Other countries have established biosecurity systems similar to the one proposed under the Bill.  Most of them have established national authorities that regulate imports, exports, quarantine and inter-state movement of plants and animals.
    • The Standing Committee examining the Bill recommended a higher representation of states in ABAI.  It also recommended removing the requirement for states to reimburse ABAI for measures taken by it to contain a quarantine pest or disease.

    Read the complete analysis here