Key highlights of the plan include the development of port facilities at Androth, Kalpeni, and Kadamat islands, along with the construction of beachfront and peripheral roads at strategic locations such as Kadamat Island (East), Agatti Island (East), and Kavaratti Island. These initiatives are part of a larger effort to enhance connectivity and tourism infrastructure across the 36 islands of Lakshadweep, covering 32 square kilometres in total and situated 220-440 km off the Kerala coast in the Arabian Sea.
Tourism funding and Budget 2024
Funding for these projects will be sourced from the Sagarmala scheme, which focuses on port-led development initiatives. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the Interim Union Budget 2024, highlighted the importance of investing in port connectivity and tourism infrastructure, particularly on islands like Lakshadweep, to cater to the growing demand for domestic tourism in the country.
In her Interim Budget speech, the finance minister spoke of the growing aspirations of the Indian middle class for travel and exploration. She emphasised the need to encourage local entrepreneurship in tourism, including spiritual tourism, and announced plans to develop iconic tourist centres with global branding and marketing.
To support the development of tourism infrastructure, the government plans to offer long-term interest-free loans to states on a matching basis. This initiative aims to generate employment opportunities and foster economic growth while catering to the rising demand for domestic tourism.
READ: Lakshadweep Trip: Top 8 places to visit in Lakshadweep for your vacation
PM Modi’s Lakshadweep visit
The mention of Lakshadweep in the budget speech holds significance, especially following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the island on January 4. During his visit, Prime Minister Modi emphasised the tourism potential of Lakshadweep and its appeal to adventure enthusiasts, showcasing his own experience with activities like snorkelling.
However, the island’s prominence also stirred controversy when derogatory remarks were made against Prime Minister Modi by a minister and other leaders in the Maldives after he shared a video of his visit to a pristine beach in Lakshadweep. Subsequently, several Indians and tour operators cancelled their plans to visit the Maldives, leading to a shift in tourism preferences.
Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra in Lakshadweep
Furthermore, the government launched the ‘Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra’ in November 2023 to implement tribal welfare measures on the island. This initiative, aimed at achieving saturation of welfare schemes, included the deployment of an Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) van to enhance outreach efforts. The programme concluded on January 25, 2024, marking a significant step towards development in Lakshadweep.
First Published: Feb 08 2024 | 11:33 AM IST