CAG unhappy with BSI`s working, asks govt to release funds

The adverse observations by the country`s top auditor on BSI`s working hold importance as conservation of biodiversity has become a major global issue.

Last Updated: Nov 28, 2010, 14:00 PM IST

New Delhi: Acute shortage of funds and
manpower, especially of scientists, has prevented Kolkata-based
premier institute Botanical Survey of India from effectively
implementing provisions of Convention on Biological Diversity,
ratified by India way back in 1994, the CAG has noted.

In his report tabled in Parliament recently, the
Comptroller and Auditor General also found that the BSI, an
autonomous body under Environment Ministry, was not effective
in meeting its objectives as there was inadequate
identification, documentation and monitoring of plant species.

Noting that the institute could not effectively fulfil
its role in meeting India`s commitment to CBD, the CAG has
suggested various recommendations to strengthen it for
conserving biodiversity.

The adverse observations by the country`s top auditor on
BSI`s working hold importance as conservation of biodiversity
has become a major global issue. The world is marking
International Year of Biodiversity this year and India has
offered to host the biodiversity summit 2 years later.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh at various forums has
been stressing on need for conservation of biodiversity noting
that it was as important as the issue of climate change.

Even as the importance of biodiversity has been
increasingly felt over the years, the vacancy percentage also
increased simultaneously in the BSI.

For instance, in 2009-10 of total 1238 sanctioned
strength (scientific and non-scientific cadres), 442 posts
remained vacant (194 and 248 respectively), the CAG has stated
while asking the Environment Ministry to release sufficient
funds to BSI to execute its task efficiently.

The report further pointed out that many fragile
ecosystems, protected areas and sanctuaries which need special
attention had neither been studied nor inventorised.

The institute explored only six per cent out of 83 per
cent of the unexplored areas during the last seven years since
2002.

"Of 32,231 hectares explored, research results in the
form of published documentation were disseminated in respect
of only four per cent at 19731 hectares," it said.

Similarly, out of 15,397 sacred groves (forests protected
by the community due to religious attachment) in the country,
the BSI explored only two -- Mawphlong in Meghalaya and Kabi
in Sikkim -- during 2002-09 due to lack of resources.

BSI also failed to conduct any status survey of plant
species. As a result of this, the "Red Data Book" which
represents the status of endangered species, could not be
updated after 1990.

PTI