New Delhi, India: Government of India (GOI) would soon unveil a policy which would encourage data sharing for developmental purposes. This was announced by Dr T Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, GOI, at the day-long seminar on ‘Geospatial technologies for good governance.’ The event was organised by FICCI in association with Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.
Delivering the special address, Dr Ramasami, said, “Most governments in the world are suffering from trust deficit. Geospatial technology is a tool which bridges the gap between governance and public.” Speaking about good governance, he said, “The purpose of good governance is to remain neutral and transparent towards people and ensure that rights of every citizen are equitably met. The question is can geospatial technology meet these objectives,” adding, “How will the technology ensure equitable distribution of resources, facilities and services among citizens?”
Dr S Subba Rao, Surveyor General of India, Survey of India (SoI), also promised a more friendly National Map Policy. He said, “India will soon have a National Map Policy which will be liberal and more friendly. We are currently working on it.” He also spoke about the importance of geospatial technology in today’s world and how the organisation is catering to meet the present day challenges. Speaking about SoI’s current project of mapping the whole country on 1:10,000 scale, he said, “I have to revamp my own work force. We are actively involved in the project which is to be completed in three years. This is one area where SoI is counting on industry for help in terms of Private-Public partnership.”
A. K. Bansal, Additional Director General of Forest, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India, talked about the importance of forests in providing livelihood to people. Speaking about the projects that the department is currently involved with, he said, “Under Green India Mission, the identification of landscapes will be done through geospatial technology by NGOs.” He also spoke about how the department is promoting planting of trees outside the forest areas.
The topic for first session was ‘Geospatial technologies in national development – triumphs and tribulations’. The session had speakers from both government and industry who spoke about various projects wherein they have successfully used geospatial technology. Speakers also talked about policies and shared their experiences in the second session which was dedicated to ‘Imperative factors for Indian geospatial sector – policy, best practices, capacity building.’
The last session of the day witnessed some interesting exchange of ideas among panellists who had assembled to talk about ‘Scripting G-enabled Future of Governance.’ Dr Mahesh Chandra, DDG, NIC, New Delhi, insisted that there should be a better coordination among government, users and industry. He said, “GIS industry consists of government, industry and users. And the three don’t talk to each other,” adding, “There are many government schemes where we require geospatial technology but the industry has no idea about what to offer.” Rajesh C Mathur, Co-Chair, FICCI Task Force on Geospatial Technologies and Vice Chairman, ESRI India, agreed with Dr Chandra but suggested that there should also be more discussion between government and government. Meanwhile, Kaushik Chakraborty, Vice President (Asia Pacific), Intergraph Geospatial, raised an interesting point when he said, “The challenge is not building the database but keeping it up and running.” adding, “Sharing data is one of the major challenges that we face.” Dr C R Francis, Senior Scientist, KSRSAC, Bangalore, said, “Sharing of data is a matter of concern as there is a fear that in case the data is shared, it will be misused. But if there is a policy stating that data should be shared, then the problem can be resolved.” He also advised the industry to focus on agriculture as the sector has a huge potential.
Source: Our Correspondent