As the year ends, let’s review the year for the GIS guys. NASSCOM says that GIS industry has shown a healthy growth trend of 44%this year. The biggest landmark for the IT and GIS industry in the current year has been the National IT Task Force Recommendations. For the first time after Rajiv Gandhi era, a commitment on increasing the role of IT in national economy and in governance came from top echelons of the government. The recommendations, which have been notified, will help the penetration of GIS in every sector. Another notable feature is the initiative taken by Sri Chandrababu Naidu which, in turn, has motivated other state governments to set up Infotech departments to help them use IT for better planning and execution of the government programmes.
In spite of all this positive trends, the fuel for making a GIS, the databases remain to be a big problem in the country. The top mandarins are determined to remain uninitiated regarding the availability of information. The recent order from the Defence Ministry on digitization of SOI maps; is distressing, to say the least, for anyone doing GIS in India. Oh! What a cute way to kill a growing, harmless and useful industry! To make the matter worse, inspite of the PM and the home minister reiterating every month that they would like to see the Right to Information act implemented, there seems to be little seriousness on this issue. This bill has been pending for more than two years now, and the government has not even planned a target date for its placement in the Parliament.
It seems that in the near future, India will continue to have lop sided growth in the spatial technology. The Department of Space will tend to maintain its momentum in providing high-resolution remote sensing images, and the Ministry of Defence poised to lag light years behind the technology to update laws related to spatial databases.
The Internet bulldozer is poised to create ripples in the GIS market. With the privatisation of Internet Service Providers, more and more people will now be exposed to information systems and databases available to public on-line in other countries. This may help to create an atmosphere of openness in the government, which would be more than welcomed by this GIS community.
We feel that, inspite of all the negatives, India has, the GIS industry in the country can expect a growth of rate of moe than 100% next year. We at [email protected] have geared up to keep you updated on the new trends and opportunities. Wishing you good luck for the new year 1999!
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