National Geospatial Policy 2022

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    • The Ministry of Science and Technology has recently notified the National Geospatial Policy 2022.
      • It is a 13-year guideline which aims to promote the country’s geospatial data industry and develop a national framework to use such data for improving citizen services. 

    What is Geospatial Technology?

    • Geospatial technology is an emerging technique to study real earth geographic information using Geographical Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS) and other ground information from various devices and instruments.
    • Geospatial technology correlates an object’s position with its geographic coordinates.

    Applications

    • The list of industries where geospatial technology is required extends from ecology, tourism, marine sciences, healthcare, agriculture, and forestry to defence, law enforcement, logistics and transportation.
    • It is used by varied government departments for geospatial technologies like GIS, Remote Sensing, LIDAR, GNSS, Surveying and Mapping, etc. 

    Data on Geospatial Sector 

    • India’s geospatial economy is expected to cross Rs 63,000 crore by 2025 at a growth rate of 12.8% and to provide employment to more than 10 lakh people mainly through geospatial start-ups. 
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    Major Highlights of National Geospatial Policy 2022

    • Aim:
      • It will develop geospatial infrastructures, skills and knowledge, standards, and businesses.
    • 14 National Fundamental Sectoral Geospatial Data Themes:
      • It will be used to address various sectors that support the development of commercial geospatial applications in various sectors including disaster management, mining, forestry and more.
    • Geospatial Knowledge Infrastructure (GKI):
      • Integrated Data and Information Framework: By 2030 the government will look to establish an Integrated Data and Information Framework, under which a Geospatial Knowledge Infrastructure (GKI) will be developed. 
      • National Digital Twin: A high-resolution topographical survey and mapping as well as a high-accuracy Digital Elevation Model for the entire country will be developed by 2035.
        • The digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical asset, process or service. 
    • Institutional Framework: 
      • The Government will constitute a Geospatial Data Promotion and Development Committee (‘GDPDC’). 
      • It will be the apex body for formulating and implementing appropriate guidelines, strategies, and programs for the promotion of activities related to the Geospatial sector.
        • Functions of GDPDC 
          • Functions will be to take measures to foster innovation and provide leadership and coordination among stakeholders.
          • It will also promote standards necessary to strengthen Geospatial information management so that they can be used to find sustainable solutions to emerging development and security challenges faced by the nation.
        • Rules and Procedure: 
          • GDPDC can frame rules and procedures for its business. 
          • In the absence of the Chairperson, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India will preside over the Committee meetings. 
          • The Committee will meet at least once every year as arranged by the Chairperson.
    • Vision and Goals:
      • To make India a World Leader in Global Geospatial space with the best in the class ecosystem for innovation.
      • To develop a coherent national framework in the country and leverage it to move towards a digital economy and improve services to citizens.
      • To enable easy availability of valuable Geospatial data collected utilising public funds, to businesses and the public.
      • To have a thriving Geospatial industry in the country involving private enterprise.

    Major Challenges

    • Lack of commercial business: India presently does not have enough commercial businesses to capture a significant share of this industry.
    • Absence of a framework: geospatial technology has not been assimilated well enough in governance mechanisms due to the absence of a framework. 
    • Negligible contribution: The full benefits have yet to percolate to the public and neither is there many contributions to the nation’s GDP.
    • Lack of skilled manpower across the entire pyramid is also a major issue.
    • The unavailability of foundation data, especially at high-resolution, is also a constraint.
    • The lack of clarity on data sharing and collaboration prevents co-creation and asset maximisation.
    • There are still no ready-to-use solutions especially built to solve the problems of India. 

    Significance of the Policy 

    • Multi-Domain Applications: This technology has applications in every domain of the economy that enables government systems and services, and sustainable national development initiatives, to be integrated using ‘location’ as a common and underpinning reference frame.
    • It is a citizen-centric policy that seeks to strengthen the Geospatial sector to support national development, economic prosperity, and a thriving information economy.
    • SDG: The focus of the Policy is to make Geospatial technology and data as agents of transformation for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals to bring efficiency in all sectors of the economy and instil accountability and transparency at all levels of governance.
    • Atmanirbhar Bharat: The Policy recognizes the importance of locally available and locally relevant Maps and Geospatial Data in improved planning and management of resources and better serving the specific needs of the Indian population.
      • It aims to create an enabling ecosystem thereby providing a conducive environment to Indian Companies that will enable them to make India self-reliant in producing and using their own Geospatial data and compete with foreign companies in the global space.
    • Promoting Start-ups: The Policy enables and supports innovation, creation and incubation of ideas and start-up initiatives in the Geospatial sector that will enable leapfrogging from outdated regulations, technologies, and processes, bridging the Geospatial digital divide and capitalising on the opportunities arising out of continually evolving Technology.

    Way Forward

    • Deregulation: There was a need to de-regularise the geospatial data policy in India.
    • Removal of lengthy approvals: Several restrictions like getting licences or prior approvals have now been removed for the companies. 
    • Made-in-India solutions: There would be an increase in the development of made-in-India solutions, which would be backed by modern geospatial technologies.
    • Ease of doing business: The new policy has cleared the way for foreign companies to operate without any ambiguity while empowering Indian companies.  

    Related Initiatives 

    • SWAMITVA:
      • Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas scheme uses drones to map properties in villages.
      • People in rural areas now have clear evidence of ownership.
    • The South Asia satellites:
      • It is facilitating connection and communication in India’s neighbourhood.
    • Drone sector:
      • India gave a major boost to its drone sector as well as opened its space sector to private entities and 5G technology. 
    • Real-time digital payments:
      • India is the world’s number 1 in real-time digital payments. Even the smallest vendors accept and prefer digital payments.
    • PM Gati Shakti Masterplan: 
      • It is building multimodal infrastructure. It is powered by geospatial technology.
    • Digital Ocean platform: 
      • It is using geo-spatial technology for the management of our oceans. This is crucial for our environment and marine ecosystem. 

    Source: TOI