Depiction of a wrong map of India or showing Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) or Arunachal Pradesh as not a part of India on any online platform or physical documents could mean a stiff jail term of 7 years along with a heavy fine of up to Rs 1 Crore. This was mentioned in a new law which was proposed by the Narendra Modi government.
The Centre is planning to bring Geospatial Information Regulation Bill through which tough provisions will be brought and any person or institution acquiring and disseminating any geospatial imagery or data of any part of India through space or aerial platforms will have to first seek permission and license from a government authority. This means online platforms like Google will have to apply for a license to run Google Maps or Google Earth in India.
The law is meant 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. According to the law, ‘Geospatial Information has been defined as any imagery or data acquired through space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles or graphical or digital data depicting natural or man-made physical features, phenomenon or boundaries of the earth or any information including surveys, charts, maps and terrestrial photos.’
Without permission of a Security Vetting Authority which will be duly set up by the government no person shall can use, disseminate, publish or distribute any geospatial information of India – either inside India or abroad, without a valid license.