India’s New Rule for Map Data Betrays Small Farmers


Geospatial data regulations are part of the bigger picture. They are the latest in a series of reforms—land reform, suggested farm laws, changes to the Forest Act, new drone regulations and land digitization schemes—that are all positioned to be beneficial to individuals, but hasten private corporations to enter these sectors.

Over the past decade or so, successive governments have promised advances through “digital governance” to force more Indians to provide their data — personally and otherwise — for their own benefit. Plans such as Aadhaar, a unique biometric-based ID; AgriStack, a collection of technologies and digital databases about farmers and farming; the Health ID; and others result in large, digital databases. Even if specifically for different things, when these databases are interconnected, they form a powerful digital superstructure – without restraint. scope creep, dili data protection law, and bad regulations to use and access that data. With geospatial data currently for capture, there is no explanation as to how it can be integrated or related to other existing databases.

So while these companies can take land data and use it to make money, the marginalized people who live in these areas and get their livelihood from the land are still being pushed to the peripheries. With the further expansion of the private sector into native land and into the lands of small farmers, the former control of the land and its resources will increase. This is happening, for example, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where the government plans to lease land waterways to private companies. risk to life to local fishermen.

Another example of how it works, explained Srikanth L. of the Cashless Consumer collective in a tweet thread, from the Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas (Svamitva), which aims to chart land parcels in rural, inhabited areas using drones.

Svamitva gave anyone currently living in a particular rural area an official title to their property, which would serve, Singh wrote, as security for the loans. (Land ownership in India may be complex because of the systems created during colonial rule, with legal gaps and poor administrative record keeping.) Srikanth, however, was skeptical. “That’s not to say it won’t happen,” Srikanth said. “It can happen, but not for everyone – maybe for first -time adopters.” This is because rural borrowers are likely save the formal banking system, sometimes even unaware of waivers and credit schemes they may qualify for, and relies on informal credit.

Even while the promised collateral system is unlikely to work, Svamitva could be the umbrella under which the infrastructure for drone monitoring is carried. The Indian government is set to funds a network of continuously operating reference stations (CORS) —a kind of “highway” for drones to fly autonomously and conduct their surveys — to support Svamitva. Srikanth believes the Svamitva scheme uses “low hanging fruit” to survey rural residential land to test drone technology. Surveying residential land is “relatively less political than, say, post-agricultural land,” he said, and whether technologies such as drone-based deliveries, imaging, and photography can be made. ‘g possible, CORS ended up being a significant state -invested infrastructure. sa.

That these geospatial data regulations come with the new corporation and privatization to mine, to make defense, civil aircraft, space exploration, and many more may not be coincidental. Private companies will line up to provide back-end technologies. For geospatial data collection, too, there must be someone to provide the back-end technology-operating drones, mapping data, issuing property cards, and so on.





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