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Q. Geospatial Information Regulation Bill: Discuss the need of regulation for mapping in India and implications of the bill.
May 11, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-1, 2, and 3

Ans :


Geospatial information means the data acquired through space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles etc.

Recently the Ministry of Home Affairs has released a draft of The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016. The draft is aimed at making mandatory to take permission from a government authority before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India.

The need of regulation-

  • Many times India has faced the problem of foreign publications or global mapping utilities like Google Maps misrepresenting its international boundaries. Hence law is needed to restrain companies as well as individuals from misrepresenting India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty on maps.

  • The maps available in internet cover most of the sensitive information about our national security. Hence it is needed to prevent from circulating location details, and other geo-information, of sensitive installations related to national security.

Key features of draft bill-

  • All information that can be represented on geographical maps will have to be approved by a special authority before being publicised.

  • Any organisation or individual that disseminates maps contradicting official versions could face up to seven years in prison and a fine of Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 100 crore.

  • Appellate authorities and enforcement agencies will be established for strict implementation of the act.


  • The proposed Geospatial Bill is part of a bigger architecture the country is building to create and manage all geographic information and data more effectively.

  • There has been a pressing need to regulate the geospatial information which is threat to nation’s security, integrity and sovereignty. In this background it is welcome move.

  • But it would have covered only the representation of India’s national borders and the representation of defence establishments on maps, and not all location data, its collection and generation.
  • It can be misused by the authorities to prevent any inconvenient information from being tracked, besides it may lead to red tapping.

  • The provisions proposed bill may affect the growing IT sector and business/start-ups using location-based services like Ola, Uber etc.


The proposed bill geospatial information bill is most needed to preserve the security, sovereignty and integrity of the country, but the broad objectives can be misused by authorities. Hence centre should modify the bill to cover only broad areas like national boundaries, defence information etc. so that it should not affect business sector which are dependent on the geospatial information.

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