New Delhi: Showing Jammu and Kashmir as a part Pakistan or Arunachal Pradesh as a part of China could earn you a seven-year jail term or a Rs100 crore fine.

According to the draft ‘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 on 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," according to the draft bill. “Whoever acquired any geospatial information of India in contravention of the law shall be punished with a fine ranging from 1 crore to 100 crore and/ or imprisonment for a period upto seven years."

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 proposes 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.

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.

The draft bill will ensure that online platforms like Google will have to apply for a licence to run Google Maps or Google Earth in India. According to the draft bill, the Security Vetting Authority, on receipt of an application and after examining the application in terms of the guidelines, shall either grant the licence or reject the application as the case may be.

If a licence is granted and the licensee fails to comply with the terms and conditions of this Act, rule, regulation or guidelines or order made thereunder, the Enforcement Authority may, after making such inquiry as may be thought fit, revoke the licence granted to such licensee.

The licensee shall be supplied with the security vetted Geospatial Information, by the Security Vetting Authority, within a period mutually agreed upon, based on the quantum and nature of the subject matter to be vetted, on best effort basis.

“Licensee shall display the insignia of the clearance of the Security Vetting Authority on the security vetted geospatial information by appropriate means such as water- marking or licence as relevant, while disseminating or distributing of such geospatial information," the draft bill says.

The licensee will indemnify the Security Vetting Authority for any consequential loss or damages whatsoever that might be caused to any person or agency in India or abroad, due to the use or supply of security vetted geospatial information.

The Act will extend to the whole of India and also applies to citizens of India outside India, persons in the service of the government, persons on ships and aircrafts, registered in India, any person who commits an offence beyond India.

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