India: “The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016”

 

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has requested for comments/suggestions on draft “The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016”.

“To regulate the acquisition, dissemination, publication and distribution of geospatial information of India which is likely to affect the security, sovereignty and integrity of India.”

Ministry of Home Affairs

A draft of “The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016” has been prepared. This Act may be called the Geospatial Information Regulation Act, 2016.

It shall extend to the whole of India and it applies also to citizens of India outside India; persons in the service of the Government, wherever they may be; and persons on ships and aircraft, registered in India, wherever they may be.

The Geospatial Information Regulation Act, 2016 comprise of eight chapters. These chapters are as :

Chapter I – PRELIMINARY: The bill defines “Geospatial Information”  means geospatial imagery or data acquired through space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles including value addition; or graphical or digital data depicting natural or man-made physical features, phenomenon or boundaries of the earth or any information related thereto including surveys, charts, maps, terrestrial photos referenced to a co-ordinate system and having attributes;

Chapter II – REGULATION OF GEOSPATIAL INFORMATION OF INDIA:

  • Acquisition of Geospatial Information of India: 

No person shall acquire geospatial imagery or data including value addition of any part of India either through any space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles or terrestrial vehicles, or any other means whatsoever.

Every person who has already acquired any geospatial imagery or data of any part of India either through space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles or terrestrial vehiclesor any other manner including value addition prior to coming of this Act into effect, shall within one year from the commencement of this Act,make an application alongwith requisite fees to the Security Vetting Authority for retaining such geospatial information and grant of licence thereof.

  • Dissemination, Publication or Distribution of the Geospatial Information of India
  • Use of Geospatial Information of India outside India
  • Wrong depiction of map of India etc.-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

Chapter III – APEX COMMITTEE

The Central Government shall, by notification in Official Gazette, constitute an Apex Committee under the Ministry of Home Affairs to oversee and administer the implementation of this Actin accordance with the prevailing National Policies.

CHAPTER IV – LICENSING AND SECURITY VETTING

  • Security Vetting Authority.The Central Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute a Security Vetting Authority to carryout security vetting of the Geospatial Information of India in a time bound manner and as per the regulations framed by the Apex Committee.
  • Licence to acquire, disseminate, publish or distribute any Geospatial Information of India. 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.
  • Suspension or revocation of licence
  • Obligations of Licensee

CHAPTER V – OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

  • Penalty for illegal acquisition of geospatial information of India
  • Penalty for illegal dissemination, publication or distribution of geospatial information of India
  • Penalty for use of geospatial information of India outside India
  • Penalty for wrong depiction of map of India etc.
  • Penalty for violation of terms and conditions of a licence

CHAPTER VI – ENFORCEMENT MECHANISM

  • Enforcement Authority.The Central Government shall, by notification in Official Gazette, constitute an Enforcement Authority for enforcement of the provisions of this Act.
  • Power to inquire contraventions
  • Power to adjudicate
  • Power of Enforcement Authority to give directions
  • Compounding of contraventions.
  • Recovery of penalty

CHAPTER VII – APPELLATE MECHANISM

  • Appellate Authority.The Central Government shall, by notification in Official Gazette, constitute an Appellate Authority to adjucating the appeals against the decisions of the Security Vetting Authority or the Enforcement Authority as the case may be.
  • Appeal to Appellate Authority
  • Procedure and powers of the Appellate Authority
  • Court not to have jurisdiction
  • Appeal to High Court
  • Prompt disposal of Appeals

CHAPTER VIII – MISCELLANEOUS

  • Cognizance of offences by Court
  • Offences by companies.Where a person committing a contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule, direction or order made thereunder is a company, every person who, at the time the contravention was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of business of the company as well as the company, shall be guilty of the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly: Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to punishment if he proves that the contravention took place without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent such contravention.
  • Power to make rules
  • Rules and regulations to be laid before Parliament
  • Act to have overriding effect
  • Chairman, Members and Employees of the Apex Committee, Security Vetting Authority, Enforcement Authority and Appellate Authority to be public servants
  • Protection of action taken in good faith
  • Removal of difficulties
  • Act not to apply to Indian Governmental Bodies

 

The comments/suggestions on the draft Bill may be forwarded to the Joint Secretary (Internal Security-I), Ministry of Home Affairs, North Block, New Delhi at email id: jsis@nic.in within 30 days (from May 04, 2016).

Download a Copy of the draft “The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016”




1 Comment

  • Parth Sarathi Roy says:

    Another example to centralize the power, enlarge the canvas of licence raj, benefit select industries, deprive scientists, researchers, students and start ups to use the data. Global trend is open data and data sets to study land ocean and atmosphere. Most of research in India in the filed of earth system science use open data. They are freely available for download. Here we talk of centralized data in “lock and key”. There is identified agency who are the custodian of Indian’s boundary. They should make the data available in open domain. Pardon me to be harsh..there is powerful coterie.

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