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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Government announces liberalization of geospatial data policies

The Bharatiya government on Monday announced liberalization in policies governing the acquisition and production of geospatial data, creating a level playing field for public and private entities.

PM Modi in a series of tweets said, “Our government has taken a decision that will provide a huge impetus to Digital India. Liberalizing policies governing the acquisition and production of geospatial data is a massive step in our vision for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat”

“The reforms will unlock tremendous opportunities for our country’s start-ups, private sector, public sector, and research institutions to drive innovations and build scalable solutions. This will also generate employment and accelerate economic growth.”

”India”s farmers will also be benefited by leveraging the potential of geospatial and remote sensing data. Democratizing data will enable the rise of new technologies and platforms that will drive efficiencies in agriculture and allied sectors.”

“These reforms demonstrate our commitment to improving ease of doing business in India by deregulation.”

Science and technology minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan in a press conference said norms will greatly help in several sectors that were suffering because of non-availability of high-quality maps.”

“Availability of comprehensive, highly accurate, granular and constantly updated representation of geospatial data will significantly benefit diverse sectors of the economy, significantly boost innovation in the country and greatly enhance its preparedness for emergency response,” Vardhan said.

He said earlier even the Survey of India, the organization entrusted with making maps, had to seek permission for mapping from different agencies, thus delaying its work by at least three-to-six months.

Vardhan explained that with the advent of publicly available geospatial services, a lot of geospatial data that used to be in the restricted zone are freely and commonly available now and some of the policies/guidelines that used to regulate such information have been rendered obsolete and redundant.

“What is readily available globally does not need to be regulated,” he said. “Under the new guidelines, terrestrial mobile mapping survey, street view survey, and surveying in Indian territorial waters will be permitted only to Indian entities irrespective of accuracy” he emphasized. Talking about Google maps he said, “If we have to make our own services available, we have to liberalize, start collecting and using data.”

Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Department of Space, said that unshackling the geospatial sector would play a stimulating role for the space industry as this sector is at the core of cutting-edge technologies like 5G.

The industry groups and experts associated with mapping and spatial analytics solutions have also welcomed the new guidelines.

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