The article is written to understand the complexity of recently proposed Draft of “Geospatial information regulation Bill, 2016” which has been introduced in public domain to seeking public comments, and facing criticism upon text used in the draft as substantially seems unpractical.
At present in India, all the concerns & issues are regulated by official Secret Act,1962, national Map Policy associated with guidelines issued by Survey of India including other appropriate Policy. It is endeavour of Government to enact and regulate the bill to ensure boundary of India in correct manner and to remove all the area/establishment pertain to national security from the maps available in markets and with public.
This bill is drafted by lawmaker under the monitoring team of Ministry of home Affairs, government of India and draft seeks to ensure the security, sovereignty, and integrity of India as defined under preamble & introductory section.
Overview of Bill
Objective: The Objective of this draft is to regulate the Geospatial information and to protect the national security; sovereignty and integrity of India and to control, create and generate their own data bank.
Applicability: This act will be applicable to person includes; an individual, a company, a firm, a trust, an association of persons or a body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, every artificial juridical person, any agency; office or branch owned or controlled by any of the above person.
Grant of License: Draft is very clearly says that license to be required to obtain from the authority if licensee falls under the purview of this Act and it shall be mandatory to take permission from a government authority before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India as the draft says “Any person who wants to acquire, disseminate, publish or distribute any geospatial information of India, may make an application alongwith requisite fees to the Security Vetting Authority for security vetting of such geospatial information and licence thereof to acquire, disseminate, publish or distribute such Geospatial Information in any electronic or physical form “ and apex committee shall supervise and purvey the implementation of this Act with consonance of existing policies.
Provision for Existing data: whoever having such existing data, liable to obtain license within a year of this Act coming into force, will have to apply for a license alongwith requisite fees and to take permission from “Security Vetting Authority for retaining such geospatial information”.
Role & function of Security Vetting Agency: The role of Security vetting agency is very clear, the authority will carry out security vetting of the Geospatial Information of India in time bound manner and the function of authority is to examine and scrutinize the application form and to grant and suspend license as may deem fit. Security vetting agency will check the technical and information content fill-up in application with regards to their eligibility and to maintain the consonance with the existing provision, the prime objective of function to achieve the protection of national security, sovereignty and integrity.
Obligations of a licensee:
- It is illegal to keep such geospatial information unless the geospatial information’s are vetted by the Authority and shall not allowed to acquire, publish, disseminate or distribute any geospatial information of India.
- While Publishing and distribution of Geospatial information, Licensee is liable to show the insignia which is official emblem of security vetting authority which means to clearance from the Authority to use the information in legally manner.
- Licensee shall keep indemnify to Government, for any loss and damages due to use of security vetted geospatial information.
To whom it will effect?
This act will effect to companies are engaged in providing map/data services to individuals and business likes; Google Maps, Ola and Uber which is app based company and some other related to whatsapp, twitter and facebook wherein people share their location through the tab of check-in and checkout, this will impact more business which exits and start-up under the various scheme and initiative of Government.
Without having of license if the person acts contravention of this draft, may have fined as per below extent;
- Keeping of Geospatial Information: If the person illegally keep the geospatial information may have fined from one Crore to one hundred Crore and Imprisonment upto seven years.
- Spreading and distribution of Information: whoever spread, publish and distribute the information without having a license shall be punished upto seven year and may have fined from Ten Lac to One Hundred Crore.
- Information use outside India: Any information use outside India without prior approval and permission from the authority mentioned in draft and if found any contravention with International Convention, treaty or by any agreement shall be punished with imprisonment upto seven year and may have fined from one Crore to one Hundred Crore.
- Depiction of Map of India: Whoever intentionally and un-internationally depicts the wrong map of India shall be liable for their act and may have fined from Ten Lac to One Hundred Crore and/or with the imprisonment for a period upto seven years.
View of Pakistan: Recently Pakistan Government has objected the move of india government and approached to United national Organisation that this draft is violation of United nation Security Council resolution on disputed area of Kashmir under the international laws, Since Pakistan has already enacted the law related to depiction of Maps and now screamed over the India version which having harsh clauses and stiff penalties.
However this is our internal issues and matter of national security so no other country shall be allowed to interfere the issues related to security concern and we as a responsible and moral country shall liable to tackle such situation without any interference of outside people.
My view on complexity of Draft
In keeping of the above; many question arises as to whether the Draft is truly written in practical manner and seems not economically sound for the growth of India though the business’s which will be harmed by the draft.
This bill is drafted to considering the earlier wrong depiction of India Map by social sites wherein Arunchal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir were not part of India, after the efforts made by Government social media sites changed the maps accordingly, an efforts by government to ensure such incident may not happen again.
Our IT sector has grown up undoubtedly over the past decades and technology is giving refresh thinking in term of sharing information with peoples within seconds, tremendously great approach to build the nation strong in order to enhance knowledge.
Moreover, This bill is unclear in many manner such as how one individual can be traced if infringe any provision, and how can individual approach the authority if having population of 1.21 Billion and using smart phones for the convenience of network and for sharing information, revalidation and vetting of data in each time is seems unpractised approach which will take time to get the approval from authority, business platform may harm by draft which use data and information for the sake of their business and once again license-raj policy will be evolved across India by the draft and chances of corruption may increase. Jurisdictions are to be clarified in the draft if matter of domestic and international infringement took place and definition used under this draft is very wide, ostensibly penalty is very harsh and stiff if un-intentionally wrong depicted and information shared by the individual.
This draft may spoil the vision of Make in India initiated by prime Minister if starts-up and mapping agency and companies using such platform for their business but proposed draft should not be scrapped, just to see the technical and practical aspect of the draft and required to harmonize accordingly and to review and reassess what the purpose of this draft is and does it really achieve, and initially this is under public domain to seek comments & feedback that could be part of the draft under the expertise team and supervision of leadership but it is not require to enforce as such otherwise it may Bizarre draft of government.
1. Draft of Geospatial Bill,2016
2. National Map Policy,2005
3. National data sharing and accessibility policy(NDSAP),2012
4. The official Secrets Act,1923
Submitted by – Sunny Kumar, LL.B, LL.M