Kerala Knowledge Inc
Kerala is setting the trend for the rest of country in more ways than one. Recently, an action plan was formulated to protect the state's biodiversity. The Peechi-based Kerala Forest Research Institute ( kfri ) has drafted the Biodiversity Conservation Order 2000, which has been approved by the Kerala biodiversity committee, set up under the aegis of the National Biodiversity Board.
This effort is to document the state's unique biodiversity and traditional and folk knowledge. The order has been formulated after soliciting opinions from various sections of society including mediapersons, scientists, panchayats , and institutes involved in conserving folk knowledge.
A Biodiversity Fund will be set up, which will be run by the state biodiversity board. The board will handle the finances of programmes implemented under the order. The Union and state government will fund the initiative, which will also benefit from taxes on commercial products that use bio resources. Based on the assessments of the state biodiversity cell, the board will disburse these funds to the district panchayats . However, there are problems. It is impossible to lay down tax provisions through an order, says L Kizhisseri, a correspondent with the New Indian Express and a key member behind the drafting of the order. The other problem is whether there should be a penalty on environmental pollutants or a tax. M Shivadasan, professor at the University of Calicut says: "One can have penalty for using environment pollutants. But taxing something that is already identified as an environmental pollutant is not a right precedent. It is not an effective disincentive.'
A conscious attempt has been made to involve Panchayati Raj institutions