New Delhi: A draft legislation proposed by the Narendra Modi government will soon make it mandatory for any person or institution seeking to acquire and disseminate any geospatial imagery or data of any part of India through space or aerial platforms to first seek permission and license from a government authority.
According to a report in The Economic Times, those acquiring geospatial imagery of India without permission may end up paying a fine of up to Rs 100 crore besides a 7-year jail term.
This measure has been envisaged by the government against the backdrop of instances where certain social networking sites showed J&K and Arunachal Pradesh as part of Pakistan and China respectively.
Recently, Twitter had shown the geographical location of Kashmir in China and Jammu in Pakistan triggering protests from the Indian government after which it was corrected.
The daily said that the Centre is mulling bringing the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, which is meant to regulate the acquisition, dissemination, publication and distribution of geospatial information of India. The Bill could mean that online platforms, such as Google, will have to apply for a license to run Google Maps or Google Earth in India.
Not only this, the Security Vetting Authority, to be set up by the government, will conduct "sensitivity checks" on the imagery in a bid to protect India's security, sovereignty and integrity.
According to the draft, "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, aircraft, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles or terrestrial vehicles, or any other means whatsoever without general or special permission of the Security Vetting Authority.”
The Act will, however, not apply to Indian government bodies, reported the daily.
Meanwhile, a visiting Malaysian minister tendered an apology in New Delhi on Monday after an incorrect depiction of an Indian map in his presentation at a business event showed PoK as part of Pakistan that triggered strong protests from a section of the audience.