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 Business Ties with Proximity to Lakshadweep

Context:

As Lakshadweep, with its proximity to international shipping routes, emerges as a potential logistics hub, Mangaluru, its neighboring city, is strategically planning to enhance historic business connections. The move aims to capitalize on the geographical advantage and foster strengthened economic ties between the two regions.

Relevance:

GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Tourism and Logistics Potential of Lakshadweep: A Comprehensive Overview
  2. About Lakshadweep
  3. Concerns Related to Development in Lakshadweep: A Comprehensive Overview

Tourism and Logistics Potential of Lakshadweep: A Comprehensive Overview

Tourism:
  • The unspoiled beauty of Lakshadweep, featuring pristine beaches, coral reefs, and crystal-clear waters, positions it as an extraordinary tourist destination.
  • By implementing sustainable tourism practices and developing essential infrastructure, Lakshadweep has the potential to evolve into a leading tourist hotspot.
Trade and Logistics:
  • Located near major international shipping routes, Lakshadweep is strategically positioned to become a key logistics hub.
  • Its proximity to Mangaluru, a significant port in coastal Karnataka, opens avenues for trade partnerships and efficient cargo handling.
  • With proposed enhancements in port connectivity and infrastructure, Lakshadweep could streamline trade operations, fostering local businesses and contributing to the regional economy.
Regional Growth:
  • Development initiatives outlined in the Interim Budget 2024-25 for Lakshadweep not only benefit the islands but also spur regional growth, particularly in areas like Mangaluru.
  • The Budget emphasizes projects focusing on port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities to promote domestic tourism.
Enhanced Connectivity and Ecological Significance:
  • Improved connectivity and the establishment of cruise routes have the potential to boost tourism and economic activities in Lakshadweep and its neighboring regions.
  • Lakshadweep’s designation as a restricted area underscores its ecological significance, and proposals for eco-friendly practices, such as anchoring cruise vessels at sea, reflect a commitment to sustainability.

About Lakshadweep

Introduction

  • India’s smallest Union Territory, Lakshadweep, is an archipelago consisting of 36 islands covering an area of 32 sq km.
  • It is a uni-district UT comprising 12 atolls, three reefs, five submerged banks, and ten inhabited islands.
  • The capital is Kavaratti, also serving as the principal town of the UT.

Geographical Location

  • Positioned between 8º – 12º 13″ North latitude and 71º – 74º East longitude, Lakshadweep lies 220 to 440 Kms away from the coastal city of Kochi.
    • The maritime boundary between the Maldives and Minicoy (India) runs through the Eight Degree Channel.
    • The Nine Degree Channel separates Minicoy from the main Lakshadweep archipelago.

Coral Atolls

  • The islands are predominantly coral atolls, characterized by coral reefs surrounding a lagoon.

Demography

  • As of the 2011 Census, Lakshadweep has a population of 64,429.
  • Over 93% of the indigenous population are Muslims, primarily adhering to the Shafi School of the Sunni Sect.
  • Malayalam is the predominant language, except on Minicoy where Mahl is spoken, written in Divehi script (also spoken in the Maldives).
  • The entire indigenous population is classified as Scheduled Tribes, with no Scheduled Castes in the Union Territory.

Climate

  • Lakshadweep experiences a tropical climate, characterized by warmth and humidity throughout the year.

Significance of Lakshadweep for India

Strategic Location

  • Lakshadweep’s proximity to major international shipping routes enhances India’s strategic maritime influence.
    • The Nine Degree Channel serves as a crucial passage for shipping between the Middle East, Europe, and Western Asia with Southeast Asia.

Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

  • The islands contribute to India’s EEZ, providing rights over the exploration and use of marine resources in the surrounding waters.
    • Due to Lakshadweep’s proximity, India gains access to 20,000 square kilometers of sea, including fisheries, oil and gas exploration, and other economic activities.

Maritime Security

  • The Indian Navy and Coast Guard utilize the islands as a base for enhancing maritime security.

Economic Significance

  • The scenic beauty of Lakshadweep positions it as a notable tourist destination.
  • The islands contribute significantly to India’s fishery resources.

Biodiversity and Marine Life

  • The coral atolls and surrounding waters of Lakshadweep host diverse marine life, including coral reefs and various fish species.

Concerns Related to Development in Lakshadweep: A Comprehensive Overview

Environmental Risks:
  • The fragile ecosystem of Lakshadweep, encompassing coral reefs and marine life, faces potential threats from construction, pollution, and heightened human activity.
  • Adopting sustainable development practices and enforcing stringent environmental regulations becomes imperative to safeguard the islands’ natural resources.
Cultural Heritage and Indigenous Communities:
  • Rapid development and increased tourism may pose a risk to the traditional way of life and cultural heritage of the indigenous communities in Lakshadweep.
  • Striking a balance between development goals and cultural preservation necessitates thoughtful strategies.
Infrastructure Challenges:
  • Inadequate infrastructure, encompassing transportation, accommodation, and healthcare facilities, poses a significant hurdle to the growth of tourism and trade in Lakshadweep.
  • Ensuring modern infrastructure development while preserving the islands’ unique character demands meticulous planning and substantial investment.
Security Concerns:
  • Lakshadweep’s proximity to international shipping routes and its status as a restricted area raise security apprehensions.
  • A harmonious approach, considering both security needs and the promotion of tourism and trade, requires collaborative efforts among government agencies and stakeholders.
Community Engagement:
  • Inclusive participation of local communities in the planning and execution of development projects is pivotal for their success and sustainability.
  • Equitable distribution of development benefits among residents, coupled with addressing their concerns, is crucial for fostering social cohesion and garnering support for growth initiatives.

-Source: Indian Express


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