Workshops on e-filing of applications for accessing biological resources held at Chennai in February 2019

14 Feb, 2019

The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) launched an online portal in 2017 for submitting applications to access biological resources. Since then NBA has received over 600 e-applications from companies and researchers. During the business dialogues held in Hyderabad and Chennai in January 2019, participants requested the ABS Partnership Project to organise a workshop on e-filing process, particularly on the information to be furnished for different types of access and related documents.

The Access and Benefit Sharing Partnership Project in collaboration with National Biodiversity Authority, Chennai organised two half-day workshops on 14th February 2019 at the National Biodiversity Authority, Chennai.

Mr. T. Rabikumar IFS, Secretary, National Biodiversity Authority, Chennai addressed the participants in these workshops. He invited participants to share their experience and highlight the challenges they face while submitting applications through the online portal, in order to improve its functionality. He stated that applicants will soon be able to check the status of their applications through the NBA website.

Dr. K.P. Raghuram, Technical Officer – Benefit Sharing, National Biodiversity Authority provided a brief introduction into the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and its ABS provisions. He provided step-by-step guidance on the application process for filing various applications, i.e. Form-I, II, III and IV through the online portal. A mock e-application form was initiated, and the participants were provided with opportunities to clarify their queries throughout the session. He also highlighted the need for providing appropriate attachments as requested in the forms.

The workshops were attended by 28 participants from various entities accessing biological resources from India. The participants provided several suggestions for improving the functionality of the online portal for filing access applications. Participants illustrated an example – when the biological resources are accessed from multiple locations or sources. Currently, the online portal has only the option of selecting each location from a drop-down menu rather an option to upload a file with all the required information. Participants mentioned that these entries sometimes run up to thousands. The suggestions and feedback received from the participants were noted by the officials from National Biodiversity Authority to maintain a user-friendly e-filing process.