Facing strong criticism, Govt. to review draft Geospatial Bill

Delhi: Facing criticism, the government on Monday indicated that it was ready to review the provisions of a draft bill that propose jail term of seven years and a fine up to Rs 100 crore if anyone wrongly depicts India's map.

 Facing strong criticism, Govt. to review draft Geospatial Bill

Courtesy: Google Maps

A top Home Ministry official said the draft 'The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016' has been made public,seeking views and suggestions of general public on its various provisions.

"We are open to consider all suggestions that will come in next one month," the official said.

According to the draft 'The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016', it will be mandatory to take permission from a government authority before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India.

"No person shall depict, disseminate, publish or distribute any wrong or false topographic information of India including international boundaries through internet platforms or online services or in any electronic or physical form.Whoever acquired any geospatial information of India in contravention of the law shall be punished with a fine ranging from Rs 1 crore to Rs 100 crore and/ or imprisonment for a period upto seven years," says the draft bill.

The government also proposed to set up a Security Vetting Authority to carry out security vetting of the Geospatial Information of India in a time bound manner, as per the regulations framed by an apex committee.

However, the bill has been criticized for stringent provisions that may violate privacy of individuals.

The Home Ministry official discounted all apprehension clarifying that except authorised agencies, that too after due permission, no one can invade anyone's privacy.

Geospatial Information means geospatial imagery or data acquired through space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles including value addition or graphical or digital data depicting natural or man-made physical features, phenomenon or boundaries of the earth or any information related thereto including surveys, charts, maps, terrestrial photos referenced to co-ordinate system and having attributes.

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Updated Date: May 09, 2016 19:03:10 IST