The Union Cabinet approved the following amendments to the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972:
(i) Amendment to Section 2:
Definitions of ‘Gram Sabha’, ‘Panchayat’, and ‘Scheduled Areas’ have been added to the Act.
(ii) Amendment to Section 18:
Provisions for having consultation with Gram Sabha in the event of the intention of the State Government for declaration of a Sanctuary has been included in the Act.
(iii) Amendment to Section 22:
Records of the Gram Sabha and the Panchayat during the inquiry by the Collector on the claims to be considered by him during the process of notification of the Sanctuary.
(iv) Amendment to Section 33:
Consultation with the Gram Sabha concerned for management and maintenance of a Sanctuary has been made mandatory.
(v) Amendment to Section 35:
Provisions for having consultation with Gram Sabha in the event of the intention of the State Government for declaration of a National Park has been included in the Act.
(vi) Amendment to Section 36D:
Representative of Panchayat or tribal community have been included in the Community Reserve Management Committee.
(vii) Amendment to Section 38:
Provision for having consultation with Gram Sabha in the event of declaration of a National Park by the State Government has been included in the Act.
The Ministry of Panchayati Raj had advised additional amendments to these Sections.
The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (53 of 1972), provides the legal framework for the protection of various species of wild animals, management of their habitat and also for the regulation and control of trade in the products derived from wild animals. The Act has been amended from time to time. Due to emerging needs, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has proposed to further amend the said Act. Amendments had separately been proposed for incorporation of provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES), enhanced penalties for offences and other minor amendments.