What is Geospatial Information Regulation Bill?

Geospatial Information Regulation Bill was introduced in the Parliament in 2016. The draft bill plans to bring in legally binding regulations with respect to Geospatial information of India. It involves provisions to penalise for an inaccurate depiction of India in maps. The draft bill was released by the Ministry of Home Affairs on May 4, 2016. As per this bill, it is mandatory to seek permission from the Government before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India. Currently, the Government has opened up doors for suggestions from all the stakeholders.

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What does Geospatial Information mean?

As per the draft bill, the following information will be categorized as Geospatial Information.

  1. Images or data acquired through satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles, aircraft, balloons.
  2. Graphical or digital data showing boundaries or any physical features that could be man-made or natural.
  3. Surveys, charts, maps, terrestrial photos.

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Geospatial Information Regulation Bill – Purpose

  1. Geospatial Information Regulation Bill will be a regulatory attempt on Geospatial industry for maintaining national sovereignty over India’s geospatial data.
  2. It will keep a check on illegal acquisition of geospatial information of India and will impose fine ranging from INR 1 crore to INR 100 crores or imprisonment up to 7 years.
  3. Any addition or creation in the country that has to do with any geospatial information will need the government’s approval.
  4. It will be mandatory to take permission from a government authority before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India.
  5. The bill will also mandate a check on the Use of geospatial information of India outside India.
  6. A Security Vetting Authority will be set up to meet the purpose of Geospatial Information Regulation Bill.

What is the Role of  Security Vetting Authority?

It has 2 major roles in implementing Geospatial Information Law.

  1. Granting licenses to organisations or individuals who want to use Geospatial data.
  2. Cross-check the content and data provided and make sure it does not compromise the national security, sovereignty and integrity.

Who will be Impacted by the Geospatial Information law?

Every person, every business entity that uses location as a major cog in the wheel of running its business will be affected. An example would be Uber, Google, Ola, Facebook, Twitter, Swiggy, Zomato. Since the negative implications of this law are massive on major businesses in India, the bill is yet to be passed in the Parliament of India and it has been put on the back burner.

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