ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016

The draft of the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016, that makes it mandatory to take permission from the Security Vetting Authority before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India, actually ends up tying the hands of academics and researchers in India.

In the light of gross misrepresentation of Indias international boundaries not only by some of our immediate neighbouring countries but also by a few powerful media houses, intelligence agencies of other countries, as well as by some world organisations, the Government of India felt the need to have a geospatial data and information regulation bill. The draft of the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016 circulated by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, to regulate the acquisition, dissemination, publication and distribution of geospatial information of India, contains many provisions which will adversely affect academic activities and economic interests. The immediate provocation for the bill is the misrepresentation of our international borders, especially with Pakistan and China. Though the intention of the bill is in the interest of the protection of the sovereignty and integrity of the country, the fact that the whole gamut of geospatial information is set to get into the Indian bureaucratic realm, reputed for red-tapism, is what is worrisome.

We are over-secretive with our maps; not making them accessible in the internet for the use of students, researchers, scientists, academics and the like. Earth scientists mostly use maps produced by the Survey of India and the National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO). Maps produced by these organisations are used to derive other thematic maps. Thus, most of the maps that are generated by the earth scientists are redrawn maps. The most commonly used redrawn map is perhaps the India map to show location of a certain study area within India.

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