India deregulates map-making, huge push to self-reliance plan, says PM

The plan is to allow the Indian private sector to make and publish maps with geospatial features

India deregulates map-making, huge push to self-reliance plan, says PM

The plan is to allow the Indian private sector to make and publish maps with geospatial features

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 15

India on Monday deregulated the map-making and geospatial data generation, distribution and storage sector in a bid to provide a fillip to the self-reliant nation initiative.

The plan is to allow the Indian private sector to make and publish maps with geospatial features and help in the application of the space technology in improving outcomes in a range of sectors from farming and infrastructure to disaster mapping.

Maps and accurate geospatial data are crucial for national infrastructure projects such as linkages of rivers, creation of industrial corridors and deploying smart power systems.

Emerging vibrant technologies like Digital India, Smart Cities, eCommerce, autonomous drones, delivery, logistics and urban transport require a leap forward in mapping with greater depth, resolution and precision. In every economic endeavour, spanning agriculture, finance, construction, mining and local enterprise, India’s farmers, small businesses and corporations alike stand to gain tremendously from the application of innovative technologies based on modern geospatial data technologies and mapping services.

The existing regime, however, imposed significant restrictions on the mapping industry - from creation to dissemination of maps, requiring Indian companies to seek licenses, follow a cumbersome system of pre-approvals and permissions. 

Compliance with these regulatory restrictions has subjected startups in India to unnecessary red tape, hindering Indian innovation in map technologies for decades, Science minister Harsh Vardhan said announcing the liberalisation of the sector today.

The government said the move would help India realise the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and the goal of a 5 trillion-dollar economy.

“For this to happen the regulations that apply to geospatial data and maps henceforth stand radically liberalised. The Department of Science and Technology is announcing sweeping changes to India’s mapping policy, specifically for Indian companies. What is readily available globally does not need to be restricted in India and therefore geospatial data that used to be restricted will now be freely available in India. Furthermore, Indian corporations and innovators are no longer subject to restrictions nor do they require prior approvals before they collect, generate, prepare, disseminate, store, publish, update digital Geospatial Data and Maps within the territory of India,” the geospatial data guidelines say.

Indian startups and mapping innovators will be trusted to self-certify, apply good judgement and be relied upon to demonstrate adherence to guidelines. Also, measures to promote the development of Indian geospatial innovations that take advantage of the latest map-making technologies are proposed. With the next generation of mapping technology just about coming into its own around the world, this policy will enable Indian innovators to create substantial advances in mapping ultimately making our lives easier and empowering small businesses. Geospatial data sector is estimated to be a one lakh crore industry by 2030.

 

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