Brief description of how “The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016” will affect urban planning.
The recently released The Geo-Spatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016 is creating controversy because of the regulations proposed and the restrictions it will impose on all people/organisations/institutions/companies dealing with any form of maps. As the name suggests the bill will regulate who can capture geo spatial data, store or use it and disseminate or distribute it. Very hefty fines and penalties of upto Rs.100 crores and upto 7 years of imprisonment have been proposed which are much more than prevailing punishments for very serious crimes taking place in country.
What this bill means for Urban Planning Colleges in India
Any research institution or university dealing with map in any manner will be required to take permission in form of license by the concerned departments. This will hinder the very debated topic of environment which includes analysis of heat maps, studying green coverage, changes in built up area etc.
For urban planning colleges which solely uses map for almost all analysis in their panning studios will not be able to use maps which will put students of this emerging course at disadvantage. Maps which forms the core of urban planning will no longer be used because of the number of restrictions proposed in the draft bill. Further obtaining spatial information from the concerned agencies like town and country planning departments, development authorities, urban local bodies, van panchayats, panchayats will also be limited as the information available to them cannot be provided to students because of the newly imposed regulations.
Problems for students
Students undertaking various courses in and related to human settlements or urban /rural planning will find it difficult and almost impossible to obtain the data and carry-out their studies and research. This problem will become even more evident while doing thesis as the data collection becomes the responsibility of student with very minimal help from the institution. Academic exercises will be limited as obtaining the permission for different and new areas will not be possible.
This will also restrict the use of available sources of mapping like Google Maps, Google Earth, Bing Maps, ESRI GIS maps, Bhuvan Maps and all related services. This will make impossible to prepare any map or any general use of maps.
For Development Authorities and Town & Country Planning Departments
Development authorities and TCP Departments which are already struggling to obtain and prepare maps for their administrative areas will face a additional mammoth problem outside their control. The bill mentions about the exclusion of government departments but still does not give any clear direction of which all departments will be exempted. Moreover,