1. Zooming in on the Potential of India’s Geospatial Sector
Last year Department of Science and Technology (DST) announced liberalised guidelines for geospatial data and mapping in India to lead India to one lakh crore rupees geo-spatial economy.
Current Performance of this sector:
- India has a robust ecosystem in geospatial, with the Survey of India (SoI), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), remote sensing application centres (RSAC)s, and the National Informatics Centre (NIC) using geospatial technology.
- Launching of a city mapping programme by Genesys International in India shows growth.
- The over subscription of the initial public offering (IPO) of MapmyIndia was an example too.
- Reports predict growth of 13% CAGR by 2029.
|About Geospatial Technology:
Geospatial Technology is an emerging field of study that includes
Geospatial data is data about objects, events, or phenomena that have a location on the surface of the earth. The location may be:
- There is no demand for geospatial services and products on a scale linked to India’s potential and size due to the lack of awareness among potential users in government and private.
- The unavailability of foundation data, especially at high-resolution.
- The lack of clarity on data sharing and collaboration prevents co-creation and asset maximisation.
- No ready-to-use solutions especially built to solve the problems of India.
- Lack of skilled manpower across the entire pyramid.
- Indigenous technology: Local technology and solutions should be promoted, and competition should be encouraged for quality output.
- The entire policy document needs to be published and the government and private users should be made aware of things.
- Open data sharing protocol: The data available with government departments should be unlocked, and data sharing should be encouraged.
- Local cloud: As the new guidelines prevent high-accuracy data being stored in overseas clouds, there is a need to develop a geospatial data cloud locally and facilitate a solution as service.
- Academic programme: India should start a bachelor’s programme in geospatial also in the Indian Institutes of Technology and the National Institutes of Technology.
- Establish geo-portal: There is a need to establish a geo-portal to make all public-funded data accessible through data as a service model, with no or nominal charge.
- Generate foundation data across India: It should also include the Indian national digital elevation model (InDEM), data layers for cities, and data of natural resources.
2. Incorrect Diagnosis, Wrong Remedy
The Union Government proposal to amend Rule 6 (Deputation of cadre officers) of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules 1954 has attracted the opposition of many states.
What are the causes of the shortage of IAS officers in the centre?
- There was a drastic reduction in the annual recruitment of IAS officers after 1991 (from 140-160 to just 50-80) due to a misguided notion, that the government will have a reduced role because of the economic liberalisation. Presently, the shortage of IAS officers at the all-India level was 23%.
- There is a need for proper cadre review in all the States to release many IAS officers from non-strategic posts and reduce the shortage.
- Direct recruitment of officers to the Central Secretariat Service Group B has been discontinued since 2000. Also, there are undue delays in the regular promotions of officers due to protracted litigation since 2011.
- Centre is not utilizing the services of officers who are appointed to the IAS by promotion or selection from the State Civil Services.
- Centre has imposed numerous administrative barriers to Central deputation in the form of highly restrictive conditions, annual lapsing of offer lists, long debarment periods, compulsory cooling-off periods, etc.
- There is a need to make mandatory provisions for the state officers to work for at least two years on Central deputation as Deputy Secretaries/Directors immediately after their appointment to the IAS and their training. Their next promotion in their State cadre should be accordingly to the completion of this mandatory period of Central deputation.
- It should be made mandatory for directly recruited IAS officers to serve at least three years on Central deputation between nine and 25 years of service. Their promotion to Principal Secretary grade in their State cadre (usually after 25 years) should be subject to their completing this mandatory period of Central deputation.
The centre can solve the problem by holding constructive dialogue with the respective states in the Inter-State Council constituted under Article 263.
(Read along with January article 3.18)
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