An eye in the sky will help the Centre to have a real-time look at development projects, such as road construction or drinking water facilities across India. A specialised institution, Indian National GIS (Geographical Information System) Organisation, will be set up, probably within a year, to provide an independent view on progress of existing projects and need for new projects.
The idea of having a central GIS body consisting of nation-wide GIS assets and application services to provide inputs for better decision making was floated by the Plan panel.
The body will help ministries such as environment, water resources, urban & rural development to integrate satellite- based technology with the infrastructure creation process.
“The GIS inputs will be valuable for long-term planning and will provide real time insight to the Centre before taking a decision,” a Plan panel official said.
The panel has set up a committee of experts headed by secretary of earth sciences ministry, Shailesh Nayak, to prepare the framework of National GIS body to be set up in a public-private partnership mode and given them three months to submit report.
The lead in this regard is taken by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) this time---accused of being slow in highway development.
“With satellite images, it would be now possible for us to verify route alignment for all new projects — correct provisioning and location of costly road stretches, information about land acquisition, identification of forest area, encroachments, etc,” said NHAI’s chief general manager Atul Kumar.
NHAI is in the process of starting a pilot project of 1,200 km covering far flung areas of north-east, north, west and Naxal-affected areas. “We had discussions on purchase of satellite imagery with National Remote Sensing Centre,” said transport minister CP Joshi.