New Delhi: Indian government has proposed a new law which will make anyone showing J&K and Arunachal Pradesh as parts of Pakistan and China respectively in maps liable to a jail term of up to seven years and fine up to Rs 100 crore.
This measure has been envisaged by the government against the backdrop of instances where certain social networking sites showed Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as part of Pakistan and China respectively.
The draft, however, is silent about the depiction of the part of Ladakh occupied by China.
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.
According to the draft ‘The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016’, it will be mandatory to take permission from a government authority before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India.
“No person shall depict, disseminate, publish or distribute any wrong or false topographic information of India including international boundaries through internet platforms or online services or in any electronic or physical form.
“Whoever acquired any geospatial information of India in contravention of the law shall be punished with a fine ranging from Rs 1 crore to Rs 100 crore and/or imprisonment for a period of up to seven years,” according to the draft bill.
Geospatial Information means geospatial imagery or data acquired through space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles including value addition or graphical or digital data depicting natural or man-made physical features, phenomenon or boundaries of the earth or any information related thereto including surveys, charts, maps, terrestrial photos referenced to co-ordinate system and having attributes.
The government also proposed to set up a security vetting authority to carry out security vetting of the geospatial information of India in a time bound manner and as per the regulations framed by an apex committee.
The security vetting authority shall consist of an officer of the rank of Joint Secretary to the government of India or above as chairman and two members—one a technical expert and the other, a national security expert.
“Any person who wants to acquire, disseminate, publish or distribute any geospatial information of India, may make an application along with requisite fees to the Authority for security vetting of such geospatial information and licence thereof to acquire, disseminate, publish or distribute such Geospatial Information in any electronic or physical form,” the draft bill says.