1. Parliamentary panel chief backs draft Geospatial Bill

Parliamentary panel chief backs draft Geospatial Bill

Amidst government's efforts to tighten law on wrong depiction of India's map, head of a Parliamentary panel today expressed grave concern over absence of a clear demarcation...

By: | New Delhi | Published: June 3, 2016 9:06 PM
rajya sabha Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs and Congress MP P Bhattacharya said the absence of a clear demarcation of India’s national boundaries with neighbouring countries is giving rise to wilful and inadvertent cross-border movement of people. (Reuters)

Amidst government’s efforts to tighten law on wrong depiction of India’s map, head of a Parliamentary panel today expressed grave concern over absence of a clear demarcation of country’s national boundaries and said any inaccurate depiction of maps was not acceptable.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs and Congress MP P Bhattacharya said the absence of a clear demarcation of India’s national boundaries with neighbouring countries is giving rise to wilful and inadvertent cross-border movement of people, leading to illegal trade in narcotics and other nefarious activities.

Speaking at a FICCI conference on ‘Location Based Services (LBS) – 2016: Transforming Coordinates to Business’, Bhattacharya pointed out that inaccurate depiction of maps was not acceptable and the country’s security and integrity cannot be compromised, a release issued by the chamber said.

Bhattacharya’s comments came weeks after government prepared the draft ‘The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016′, that will make mandatory to take permission from a government authority before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India, and sought public opinion on it.

According to the draft bill wrong depiction of India’s map could land the violators in jail with a maximum term of seven years and fine upto Rs 100 crore.

This measure has been envisaged by the government against the backdrop of instances where certain social networking sites showed Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as part of Pakistan and China respectively.
Bhattacharya said while India was technologically sound, lack of technical skills amongst the workforce was affecting the country’s security.

He urged FICCI to organise training programmes to upgrade the skills of the technical workforce in collaboration with the government.

In his presentation, Rajesh Mathur, Chairman, FICCI Committee on Geospatial Technologies, said the draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016 was a step in the right direction but certain sections needed to be changed.

FICCI, he said, was in agreement with the need for a regulatory body and was in favour of no compromise on national security, integrity and sovereignty.

Mathur said FICCI had suggested that national boundaries must be depicted as per Government guidelines; vital installations’ internal layout must be masked; and Geospatial information, both in human and machine readable form, must be accessible by all.

Highlighting the significance of geospatial technologies, Atul Kumar, Chief General Manager, NHAI, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, said high resolution satellite, UAVs and geospatial technology have been useful in highways and have been used for pre-feasibility/ feasibility studies of new alignments, upgrades/ road widening.

K S Parikh, Deputy Director, Space Applications Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation, Ahmedabad, said India is the fourth country to build and own navigation constellation in the world.

Position, navigation and timing services are essential requirements of the day. Several applications are undertaken by official agencies and there is ample opportunity for innovation and development of new applications.

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