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Govt announces liberalization of policies governing geospatial data

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New Delhi: In sweeping changes to the country’s mapping policy, the government on Monday announced the liberalization of norms governing the acquisition and production of geospatial data, an action that will help boost innovation in the sector and create a level playing field for public entities. and private.

Under the new guidelines, the sector will be regulated and aspects such as prior approvals for surveying, mapping and building applications based on them have been removed, said Science and Technology Department Secretary Ashutosh Sharma.

For Indian entities, there will be complete disruption without prior approvals, security permits, licenses, for the purchase and production of geospatial data and geospatial data services, including maps, he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the liberalization of policies governing the acquisition and production of geospatial data is a “massive step in the government’s vision for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat”. The reform will benefit the country’s farmers, start-ups, the private sector, the public sector and research institutions to foster innovation and build scalable solutions, he said.

Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan told a news conference that easing the rates would help a lot in some sectors that were suffering due to the unavailability of high quality maps.

“The availability of a comprehensive, highly accurate, detailed and constantly updated representation of geospatial data will significantly benefit different sectors of the economy, significantly increase innovation in the country and greatly increase its readiness. for emergency response, “Vardhan said.

He also said earlier that the India Survey, a trusted mapping organization, had to seek permission for mapping from various agencies, thus delaying its work by at least three to six months.

In a series of tweets, Modi said, “Our government has taken a decision that will provide a major boost to Digital India. The liberalization of policies governing the acquisition and production of geospatial data is a massive step in our vision for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, “he said.

The move will unlock tremendous opportunities for the country’s beginners, the private sector, the public sector and research institutions to foster innovation and build scalable solutions. It will also generate employment and accelerate economic growth, he stressed.

‘Farmers of India will also benefit by exploiting the potential of geospatial and remote data. Data democratization will enable the establishment of new technologies and platforms that will boost efficiency in agriculture and allied sectors.

“These reforms demonstrate our commitment to improving the ease of doing business in India through deregulation,” he said.

Vardhan explained that with the advent of geospatial services available to the public, much of the geospatial data that once existed in the restricted area is now freely and commonly available and some of the policies / guidelines used to regulate such information have become obsolete. and surplus.

“What is readily available globally does not need to be fixed,” he said.

Under the new guidelines, mobile land map study, road study and surveillance in Indian territorial waters will only be allowed for Indian entities, regardless of accuracy.

All geospatial data generated using public funds, except classified geospatial data collected by security and law enforcement agencies, to be made available for scientific, economic and development purposes to all Indian units and without no restrictions on their use.

Vardhan said because of this policy, the entire sector will open up in a big way and $ 1 billion worth of geospatial data can be obtained and used by 2030.

Speaking to Google Maps, he said, “If we are to make our services available, we must liberalize, start collecting and using data.”

Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for the Department of Space, said the decision would allow India’s geographical potential to be used for a higher purpose for India to emerge as a front-line nation in all sectors and not limited to its geography capabilities for security purposes only

Singh added that disrupting the geospatial sector would play a stimulating role for the space industry as this sector is at the core of more advanced technologies like 5G.

The industry also welcomed the new guidelines.

Agendra Kumar, President, Esri India Technology Pvt Ltd, which is in the mapping and spatial analysis solutions, said by facilitating the collection, generation, preparation and distribution of geospatial data and maps within the country, the new policy will enable sharing, collaboration and easy data access without any restrictions.

“This would open up tremendous opportunities for GIS (Geographic Information System) applications in sectors such as agriculture, mining, water, urban services, public safety and infrastructure which already rely heavily on geospatial infrastructure. – PTI

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