Port Blair, Feb 19: The Union Home Minister, Mr. Rajnath Singh, chaired the fifth meeting of the Island Development Agency (IDA) held here today. The Island Development Agency reviewed the progress made towards the program “Holistic development of islands”. Bids for private sector participation in three tourism-based projects have already been invited by the Andaman & Nicobar Administration. They include eco-tourism projects in Smith Island & Long island and tent city project in Aves island. Bids will be invited shortly for one more project in Neil island of Andaman & Nicobar.
Three projects in Lakshadweep have been identified for issue of bids. They include tourism projects in the islands of Kadmat, Minicoy and Suheli Cheriyakara. Environmental Clearance (EC), Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Clearance and all other clearances required for these projects are being obtained upfront, on priority, to attract more number of reputed bidders.
The Ministry of Commerce has issued a notification extending tax incentives for investments made in manufacturing and service sector in islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep. The tax incentives are Central Capital Investment Incentive for access to credit (CCIIAC), Central Interest Incentive (CII), Central Comprehensive Insurance Incentive (CCII), Goods and Services Tax (GST) Reimbursement, Income Tax (IT) Reimbursement, Transport Incentive (TI); and Employment incentive (EI)
Expeditious implementation of the above mentioned projects will provide high economic return to the private sector, satisfactory jobs and additional income to the islanders and enhanced revenue to the Government – a win-win situation for all. Above all, stability of the island eco-system will be maintained with effective execution of well-planned environmental safeguards.
A detailed presentation was made by CEO, NITI Aayog highlighting the current status of planned projects being implemented for islanders’ benefits. The status of implementation of decisions taken in the last meeting was also highlighted in the presentation.
The Union Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction at the progress made since its last meeting held on June 30, 2018 when directions were given to focus on creation of recreational facilities along-with tourism infrastructure; implementation of renewable energy projects; incentives for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs); development of a film city in an island etc.
Key infrastructure projects such as operationalization of Diglipur airport for civilian aircraft and construction of a new airport in Minicoy Island have been accorded high priority by the Government. Four islands (Swaraj Dweep, Shaheed Dweep, Hutbay and Long) in Andaman & Nicobar and three islands (Kavaratti, Agatti and Minicoy) in Lakshadweep have been identified for seaplane operation. CRZ clearance has been accorded for ‘Middle Strait Bridge’ on Andaman Trunk Road. All these measures will improve inter-island connectivity significantly.
Digital connectivity will improve substantially in the islands with augmentation of satellite bandwidth and laying of optical fibre cable. Better communication services will facilitate setting up of Information Technology based and other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the islands.
In order to sustainably utilize the potential of Tuna Fish, ten deep-sea modern fishing vessels are being procured by Lakshadweep administration from Cochin Shipyard Limited. Export of sea food and coconut products is being encouraged to generate more employment opportunities in the islands.
Mr. Rajnath Singh called upon all concerned to expedite implementation of ongoing projects which have been planned to create additional jobs for the islanders and improve inter-island connectivity. He directed that adequate care should also be taken for maintaining a clean, green and healthy environment in the islands. Home Minister appreciated collective efforts being made by all the Ministries for holistic and sustainable development of islands.
The meeting was attended by Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Admiral D. K. Joshi (retd); Administrator of Lakshadweep Mr. Farooq Khan; Cabinet Secretary Mr. P. K. Sinha; CEO, NITI Aayog Mr. Amitabh Kant, Secretaries and senior officials from ministries of Home, Commerce, Tribal Affairs, Environment and Forest, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Telecommunications, Shipping, Water Resources, Earth Sciences, New and Renewable Energy were also present.