Pakistan opposed this bill of India and moved to the UN (Geospatial Bill 2016)

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Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016

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Hey, Friends !

In this article on SAIKISITE, I am going to tell you all about a very new and interesting draft that has been released by The Ministry Of Home Affairs on May 4, 2016. This Bill is the Geospatial information regulation bill.
The draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016, which caused quite an uproar not only inside the country but its members were also visible to our western neighbours. Some of its provisions are really unforeseen and one can also get a feeling how the stringent penal causes would get implemented in an era where the platform for information dissemination and the one using it is so blurred that it gets difficult to really pinpoint to a particular entity of any wrong-doing.
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What exactly is the Bill?

Under the proposed law, anyone who wishes to publish any geospatial information on India will need a license from a security vetting authority. In addition, geospatial information has been defined in such a manner that it encompasses even photographs taken by individuals depicting natural or manmade physical features. So the law could be interpreted in a manner that would make it mandatory for individuals to take a licence if they want to click pictures of the Taj Mahal with their smartphones and upload it to a social networking site!
The penalties for failure to obtain a license are severe –fines up to Rs. 100 crore or up to seven years in jail. Clearly. The policy has been ill thought out because if a majority of Indians decide to obtain licenses, no single agency has the capability required to handle all this data. So, as said, here would come the question of its implementation apart from the fact that it also leaves a wide window of opportunity for high-handedness from a state.

Google’s hypocrisy

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The draft bill was brought out by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the earnest interest of securing the nation. The case in point is companies like Google which even after several requests from the government have been sent to Google in the last few years to block or mask areas of strategic and military importance on its mapping service to prevent any security threats arising from the ability to constantly monitor military bases free of cost from any country. Google has not complied with even a single request so far.
Also, the aim of the bill is to end the hypocrisy of Google which infringes upon Indian requests but readily accepts requests of us and china to block such information. To remove this arbitrariness harsh penalties were included in the bill.

Threat to small firms

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In the need of acquiring licences , big companies like Uber and Google can survive by getting all their maps vetted but, the biggest impact would be on start-ups and smaller firms. This will act as a big entry barrier in favour of the dominant players such as Google and Microsoft.
Smaller companies have no means to know what kind of geospatial information they can store and what they cannot. Moreover, if a start-up requires three months to get approvals for the data before one can use it, it’ll be as good as dead.
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U-turn by centre

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has highlighted the importance of geospatial data in an everyday life of the common man. But now, the government seems to be taking a u-turn.
The PM’s campaigns on Skill Development, Digital India, and enhancements of the transport sector are heavily dependent on geospatial data. If the bill is passed as drafted, all this development process will be stalled or would heavily be steeped in red tapism ironically the same menace which the government wants to end by moving into the domain of e-governance.
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Geospatial policy

When the geospatial bill is put under the public scrutiny ,an expert committee had submitted a draft, National Geospatial Policy (NGP) to the ministry of science and technology for its consideration. The proposed policy seeks to empower people through the use of Geospatial Data, Products, Services and Solutions (GDPSS) and lays down principles governing the creation, management, access, sharing and dissemination of quality geospatial data for more tangible economic and social benefits.
Amidst all these haploids the question that stills haunts the bosom of my heart is that whether the digitalisation that is build on the promise of absolute freedom has a benevolent potential to bind us all in the shackles of digitalisation  itself?

What You Think?
Comment below. Keep reading SAIKITE for more awesome blogs.
Thank You !

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