“India will have a new mapping policy in next six months,” said Shri Kapil Sibal, Honourable Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science & Technology and Ocean Development on 28th July 2004 at New Delhi in a meeting with Geoinformatics Industry. While emphasizing the importance of maps for developmental purposes, Shri Sibal said that it is unfortunate that maps in India are not so easily accessible.
Geoinformatics Industry Meet being jointly organized by Centre for Spatial Database Management and Solutions (CSDMS) and GIS Development was first of its kind to promote mapping and GIS to the highest policy level. Senior officials of almost all the important companies operating in the field were present and high level officials from Survey of India and Department of Science and Technology accompanied the Hon’ble Minister from the government side.
Dr. Ravi Gupta, Editor–in–Chief of GIS Development and Information for Development magazines, made a presentation on behalf of the industry outlining the potential, prospects of GIS and mapping for national development and urging the urgent need to bring in reforms in existing map policy and provide more conducive framework for public-private partnership. He explained how the development in general has been hampered due to poor and non-supportive policy framework despite the country has the best of spatial data, manpower and technical abilities. He put on great emphasis on making investment in producing large scale and accurate mapping of the country, which in his opinion, can help resolve lot of issues of national development, which in turn can contribute effectively towards increasing GDP of the country.
Responding to the presentation, Shri Kapil Sibal highlighted on the potential of maps and advocated its usage in almost all walks of life. While elaborating the usage of maps for overall development of the country, he agreed that roadblocks blocking more liberal mapping policy needs to be addressed and reexamined. He told the gathering that his ministry is resolving the issues in consultation with Ministry of Defence. While addressing the key representatives of geomatics industry, Shri Sibal also highlighted the needs that the government and the industry should join hands to develop the maps of needed scales. A joint enterprise on equal partnership basis, which shall be a winning situation for both the parties. He proposed that in such a venture, the government would be responsible for providing large-scale maps and the private sector can contribute in developing value addition on many aspects and provide solutions and services to a large market potential. But while doing so commercial interest of Survey of India shall be taken into account and it should be adequately paid for its wealth of knowledge. He specifically called upon to the industry to come forward and become partner in realizing the large market potential and work together towards the common goals. He also said that government is open to develop Special Purpose Vehicles to attract technological and financial investments from the industry and invited a win-win model for joint enterprise from industry.