New Delhi: After putting environment, forest and wildlife clearances online, the Union environment ministry is planning to do the same for biodiversity.

Once implemented, the clearance process from the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) is expected to become transparent, efficient and fast.

Established in 2003, NBA is an autonomous body of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. It performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory functions on conservation, sustainable use of biological resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits of use.

NBA is mandated to regulate access to biological resources, associated knowledge for research, bio-survey and bio-utilization, commercial utilization, obtaining Intellectual Property Rights, transfer of results of research and transfer of accessed biological resources.

“Individuals or entities require NBA’s approval when they use biological resources and associated knowledge occurring in India for commercial or research purposes or for the purposes of bio-survey or bio-utilisation. We are going to put this system online," said an NBA official, who did not wish to be identified.

“As per our rules, the clearance from NBA has to come in 3-6 months. But most of the time, it does not happen, as the applicants do not give all the required information. Due to this, sometimes, it takes even a year. But with the online system, it would be easier for the applicant to check whether they are submitting all the required documents or not," the official said.

“Basically, it is about having complete information. Once all the required documents are with us, the clearance can come even before the time line of 3-6 months... probably within a month too," the official explained.

The new system was ready for launch when the environment minister Prakash Javadekar was moved out. Now, NBA is trying to seek time from the new environment minister Anil Madhav Dave for the launch.

“Whether in Chennai (where NBA is based) or Delhi (where the ministry is headquartered), the online approval system of NBA will be launched soon. It will make the system completely transparent and accountable," the ministry official added.

In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Narendra Modi had flagged the issue of delay in green clearances and corruption involved in the process. Since May 2014, when National Democratic Alliance (NDA) formed government and Javadekar became environment minister, the ministry made the clearances system online.

In May 2016 on NDA government’s second anniversary, Javadekar had claimed that his ministry has brought down average time for green clearances from 600 days to 192 and that the government aimed to further reduce it to 100 days.

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