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Geospatial Transformation: Shaping India’s Tech Landscape

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In a significant move towards inclusive development, the Indian government has taken decisive steps to implement the National Geospatial Policy 2022 (NGP), significantly expanding access to spatial data and revolutionising citizen services across the nation. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, this policy marks a pivotal moment in India’s technological evolution, aiming to position the country as a global leader in the geospatial sector.

Geospatial information, encompassing the physical locations of geographic features and their interrelationships, holds immense potential for driving innovation and progress in various sectors. Recognising this, the NGP is designed as a citizen-centric initiative, with a primary focus on liberalising and democratising the geospatial sector. It sets forth a comprehensive vision, strategic goals, and action plans for fostering holistic development in this field.

Key objectives of the NGP include the enhancement of geospatial infrastructure, the fortification of data management frameworks, and the empowerment of stakeholders through unrestricted access to geospatial data and services. To achieve these goals, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) is leading efforts to facilitate the utilisation of geospatial data through open platforms at both national and sub-national levels.

One of the cornerstones of the NGP is its emphasis on fostering a robust geospatial ecosystem conducive to innovation, capacity building, and entrepreneurship. By promoting spatial thinking and knowledge enhancement, the policy aims to catalyse the effective utilisation of geospatial resources across various domains. Moreover, it seeks to empower local enterprises by encouraging the generation and utilisation of their own geospatial data, thereby enhancing their global competitiveness.

In line with the principles of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India), the NGP emphasises the promotion of open standards, data, and platforms. By dismantling barriers such as prior approvals, security clearances, and licensing requirements, the policy streamlines access to geospatial data, fostering a more conducive environment for innovation and enterprise development.

Looking towards the future, the NGP envisions the establishment of high-resolution topographical surveys and mapping initiatives by 2030, along with the development of a highly accurate Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the nation. These ambitious endeavours aim to support the growth of startups and reduce dependence on foreign entities in the geospatial domain.

Speaking on the transformative impact of the NGP, DST Secretary Professor Abhay Karandikar emphasised its role in driving inclusion and progress, as highlighted by the Prime Minister at the UN World Geospatial International Congress. Through the liberalisation of geospatial data access, the policy has revolutionised the utilisation of spatial data, ultimately benefiting the populace.

In addition to streamlining governance frameworks and improving data infrastructure, the NGP has introduced initiatives such as the pan-India Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) Network and the SVAMITVA Scheme. These initiatives aim to enhance the availability and accessibility of location data, further fueling innovation and development across sectors.

Furthermore, the NGP is poised to catalyse the growth of a vibrant geospatial industry in India, with active participation from both public and private enterprises. By fostering an ecosystem conducive to innovation and technology adoption, the policy aims to establish the country as a global leader in the geospatial domain.

In conclusion, the National Geospatial Policy 2022 stands as a beacon of technological advancement and inclusive development in India. With its focus on fostering innovation and increasing access to spatial data, the policy serves as a vital tool in realising the Prime Minister’s vision of a prosperous and technologically advanced India.

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