Indian govt open to review Geospatial Information Regulation Bill

Indian govt open to review Geospatial Information Regulation Bill

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India: Three days after the draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016 was uploaded on the Home Ministry’s website seeking comments from the public, the government on Monday indicated that it was open to review its contents and consider all suggestions that are to come in the next one month.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has agreed to review a much-criticised draft of Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016 that proposes jail term of seven years and a fine up to Rs. 100 crore for wrongly depicting the map of India.

The draft Bill has come under scathing criticism on social media and other online platforms for its draconian features.

Uttarakhand DGP M.A. Ganapathy who was one of the officials to draft the Bill during his stint in the MHA, told The Hindu, “instead of getting hysterical, people should send valid and sane suggestions to oppose the draft Bill. This is at a draft stage and the idea was to invite comments.”

Another official involved in drafting the Bill said, “this Bill has been in the works since 2012. A committee of secretaries (CoS) had submitted a report calling for an regulatory body to monitor the Internet giants like Google and Microsoft. How else do you regulate them, by begging?”

According to the draft Bill, it will be mandatory to take permission from a government authority before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India.

"No person shall depict, disseminate, publish or distribute any wrong or false topographic information of India including international boundaries through internet platforms or online services or in any electronic or physical form.

The government also proposed to set up a Security Vetting Authority to carry out security vetting of the Geospatial Information of India in a time bound manner and as per the regulations framed by an apex committee.

Source: The Hindu