Spotlight on Geospatial Information Regulatory Bill, 2016
LBS -2016: Transforming Coordinates to Business
FICCI organized the fourth edition of its annual conference, 'Location Based Services (LBS) - 2016: Transforming Coordinates to Business' on June 3, 2016. The discussions revolved around the much talked about draft of “The Geospatial Information Regulatory Bill, 2016”, which intends to regulate the acquisition, dissemination, publication and distribution of geospatial information of India in order to ensure security, sovereignty and integrity of India.
P. Bhattacharya, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, expressed concerns over the absence of a clear demarcation of India's national boundaries with neighboring countries which is giving rise to willful and inadvertent cross-border movement of people and leading to illegal trade in narcotics and other nefarious activities.
Speaking at the conference, Bhattacharya pointed out that inaccurate depiction of maps was not acceptable and the country's security and integrity cannot be compromised. He also mentioned certain instances of cross-border terrorism where enforcement agencies could utilize this technology in identifying accurate location of terrorists and their strengths, and could avoid such mis-happenings.
Bhattacharya said that while India was technologically sound, lack of technical skills amongst the workforce was affecting the country's security. He urged FICCI to organize training programmes to upgrade the skills of the technical workforce, in geospatial domain, in collaboration with the Government of India.
In his theme presentation, Rajesh Mathur, Chairman, FICCI Committee on Geospatial Technologies, said that draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016 was a step in the right direction but certain sections needed to be changed. FICCI, he said, was in agreement with the need for a regulatory body and was in favor of no compromise on national security, integrity and sovereignty. He added that FICCI had suggested that national boundaries must be depicted as per Government of India guidelines; vital installations' internal layout must be masked; and Geospatial information, both in human and machine readable form, must be accessible by all.
Data acquisition, Mathur said, should not require licence. The effort should be to encourage private sector to participate in data acquisition activities and data should be vetted before it is published. On data distribution, he said that there should be no need for licence if data is already vetted. Private sector companies must be encouraged to participate in creation of value added products/service and no vetting should be required for value added products created by way of apps/services.
He said that there should be no restrictions on use and possession of vetted data. It was important to mandate all data creators to share it with all others who can benefit from it and encourage use of modern techniques for data acquisition and dissemination, mandate adoption of standards and define guidelines for Intellectual Property Rights, especially for value added products. He also informed the audience that FICCI has
submitted its recommendations to the Ministry of Home Affairs on the draft Bill.
The applications of geospatial technologies are used worldwide as effective administrative and management tools for decision making, and are helping planners in preparing sustainable developmental strategies. Therefore, most of the mission mode projects are conceptualised and implemented using geospatial technologies. A Geospatially enabled ICT framework can play a central role in establishing real time and transparent flow of information between Central and State governments, their departments and enforcement agencies, in order to ensure desired output for planning and smooth delivery of services to citizens.
The Government of India under the vision of the Hon'ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has rolled out some transformational projects which are conceptualised to upgrade the life of citizens using various ICT-based approaches. Digital India, Smart City, Swatch Bharat Abhiyan, AMRUT, National Mission for Clean Ganga are some of the programmes which cut across many sectors of economy like Urban Planning, Infrastructure Development, Power, Water, Transportation, Land Records, Disaster Management, Homeland Security & Defence, Rural Development, Natural Resource Management etc., and therefore involvement of many ministries and departments of the Centre and State governments. Geospatial technologies have the capability to integrate multiple operational verticals at one plane and to enable various departments to monitor different aspects of a situation in real time for taking informed decisions. India does need a Geospatial Information Act, but it has to be an enabling Act that makes for faster and better implementation of programs.
Highlighting the significance of geospatial technologies, Atul Kumar, Chief General Manager, NHAI, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, said that high resolution satellite, UAVs and Geospatial Technology have been useful in highways and have been used for pre-feasibility/ feasibility studies of new alignments, upgrades/ road widening. Also operation, maintenance & road asset management with preparation of GIS based road network would go a long way. He added that geospatial can be used for road safety including identification of blackspots and utilized for land use situation for development of national highways. It can also help in the study of congestion, traffic jams, junction arrangement planning, ROW management, encroachment monitoring and integration of linear chainages with spatial location.
K.S. Parikh, Outstanding Scientist, ISRO, said that India is the fourth country to build and own navigation constellation in
world. Position, Navigation and Timing servicers are essential requirements of the day. Several applications are undertaken official agencies and there is ample opportunity for innovation and development of new applications. He added that GAGAN- GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation, an overlay system built around the GPS and NAVIC, an independent navigation satellite system established by India, capable of providing Position, Navigation and Timing services over India will benefit the country in both aviation and non-aviation sectors.
Rakesh Verma, Member, FICCI Committee on Geospatial Technologies, said, “The Geospatial Bill should be an opportunity to create a level playing field for Indian industry rather than be restrictive.”
Delivering Plenary Keynote Address, Rohan Verma, Executive Director and CTO, MapmyIndia, emphasized that their home grown firm has created maps indigenously and with accurate depiction of borders. He also highlighted about various applications and services based on digital maps, which could be of utility for corporates as well as Government.
Nikhil Pahwa, Editor & Publisher, MediaNama, in his address, touched on the issue of the draft Bill and highlighted that not all geospatial data is sensitive. He opined that though there is no compromise on national security, the licensing and security vetting of all data will kill real time applications and discourage innovation and entrepreneurship.
The programme witnessed discussions on business applications of location technologies like Field Work Force Management, Mobility & Navigation, and Business Intelligence. Panelists from various user segments like travel, tourism, asset tracking, Cash-inTransit etc. shared their experiences on such applications. Dr. Vishnu Chandra, Deputy Director General, NIC, Government of India, Chaired the session on Location Enabled Smart Municipality. The panelists discussed about the usage of LBS and related technologies in the context of Smart Cities. Futuristic technologies like Indoor Navigation, UAVs and Autonomous Vehicles (driverless cars) were also presented during the programme.
P. Bhattacharya, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs delivering his keynote address.
L to R: Rakesh Verma, Member, FICCI Committee on Geospatial Technologies; P. Bhattacharya, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs; Rajesh Mathur, Chair, FICCI Committee on Geospatial Technologies; K.S. Parikh, Outstanding Scientist, ISRO and Sumeet Gupta, Director, FICCI, during the inaugural session.
L to R: Vineet Budki, Founder & CEO, Guiddoo World; Harshal Vora, CEO and Founder, RadioLocus; Óscar Esteban Sánchez, Country Head – Cash Business, SIS-Prosegur; Maneesh Prasad, CEO, Telematics; Sesh Seshadri, Director, Lonely Planet and Peeyush Bajpai, Director – Big Data, Nielsen India, during the business applications session.