Search engine giant Google seems to be intimidated by the new circular issued by Narendra Modi government warning penal action against any organization which disseminates an Indian map, which is contrary to the one officially circulated by the Union. For years, Google Maps used to highlight the territories of Jammu & Kashmir, along with Arunachal Pradesh in dotted lines, in order to signify that the region is disputed.
However, Google has now altered its maps. No longer is the region of Kashmir and Arunachal shown as a territory of conflict. The new maps do not highlight the area with dotted lines. Instead, both the states are shown intact within the official territory of India. The change comes barely a couple of days after the government decided to impose a fine of USD 15 million, or Rs 100 crore on any individual, organization or media platform disseminating the Indian map, which is not in line with the official version released by Government of India (GoI). Apart from the fine, the violator would also be sentenced up to seven years in jail.
The draft of ‘The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016′ is about to be tabled in the Parliament. As per the legislation, it would be compulsory to take the approval of the government to publish and disseminate any geospatial information. “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,” the draft bill states.
Geospatial information refers to the data which has been captured through aerial instruments such as satellites, airships and unmanned aerial drones. It is used to prepare topographical maps. Source
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