About the Draft National Geospatial Policy
In April, 2021, it released the Draft National Geospatial Policy (the ‘Draft Policy’) to devise a comprehensive policy framework for the development of an open and competitive geospatial sector. The new Draft Policy marks a departure from the trend of imposing strict prohibitions on the collection, digitisation and sharing of geospatial data, barring some protectionist features contained in it.  The Draft Policy, upon the release of its final version, will have to be followed up with supporting legislations and/or executive orders for it to be enforceable.
What the Draft Policy says about geospatial education
At present, different courses on geospatial education are provided in around 200 universities/institutions.  These range from certificate courses, to diplomas and postgraduate courses. The Draft Policy emphasises the need for the development of a standardised curriculum for geospatial education at the university level. On the basis of a National Task Force on Geospatial Education report from 2013, the policy envisages a three-tier classification of geospatial professionals who will work in the sector on the basis of the level of their educational qualification-
- GIS mapping and surveying professionals- For the training of these professionals, the Draft Policy emphasises the role of skill development institutions such as the Industrial Training Institutes and the National Skill Training Institutes
- Graduates having specialised knowledge and training of 9 to 12 months in specific topics within the geospatial sector- These professionals must be skilled in geospatial data acquisition, processing, dissemination and analysis. The Draft Policy enlists institutions like the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing [IIRS] and National Institute for Geo-Informatics Science & Technology (NIGST) to train these professionals
- Geospatial experts having graduate or postgraduate degrees in Geospatial Science- These professionals must be capable of participating in policy-making and handling independent projects in the sector
 The Draft Policy prohibits foreign companies and foreign-owned/controlled Indian companies from digitising, storing and sharing maps which have a resolution finer than 1:100, unless they do so by obtaining a license from an Indian company. Additionally, these foreign entities may use such data only to service Indian clients within the territory of India.
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