New Delhi: In a huge step towards Digital India, the Centre on Monday eased regulations governing the acquisition and application of geospatial data for Indian companies under what is known as the ‘mapping policy’ to enable substantial advances in remote sensing and free access in mapping. In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Ease of Doing Business policy, the move is aimed at ultimately empowering small businesses.Also Read - Digital Transaction Up 88 Per Cent In Three Years. A Look At Five Initiatives By Government To Boost Digital India

“What is readily available globally does not need to be restricted in India and therefore geospatial data that used to be restricted will now be freely available in India,” the Union Ministry of Science and Technology said in a release. Also Read - PM Modi to Launch Pradhan Mantri Digital Health Mission on Sept 27

As a result, corporations and innovators in India are no longer subject to restrictions nor do they require prior approvals before they collect, generate, prepare, disseminate, store, publish, update digital Geospatial Data and Maps within the territory of India, the release said. Also Read - PM Narendra Modi to Launch e-RUPI on August 2: Know All About The New Digital Payment Platform

“Our startups and mapping innovators will be trusted to self-certify, apply good judgement and be relied upon to demonstrate adherence to guidelines. In addition, measures to promote the development of Indian geospatial innovations that take advantage of the latest map-making technologies are proposed,” the release further said.

Changes under mapping policy

> There will be complete deregulation with no prior approvals, security clearances, licenses, for acquisition and production of geospatial data and geospatial data services, including maps.
> Aspects such as prior approvals for surveying, mapping and for building applications based on that have been done away with.
> It will be of great help in sectors that were suffering because of non-availability of high-quality maps.
> It will enable new technologies and platforms that will drive efficiencies in agriculture and allied sectors

“The reforms will unlock tremendous opportunities for our country’s start-ups, private sector, public sector and research institutions to drive innovations and build scalable solutions. This will also generate employment and accelerate economic growth,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

“India’s farmers will also be benefited by leveraging the potential of geo-spatial and remote sensing data. Democratizing data will enable the rise of new technologies & platforms that will drive efficiencies in agriculture and allied sectors,” he said in a subsequent tweet.

These reforms demonstrate our commitment to improving ease of doing business in India by deregulation, the prime minister added.

With Agency inputs