Delhi: Rajnath chairs fifth meeting of Island Development Agency

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday chaired the fifth meeting of the Island Development Agency (IDA). The meeting was called to review the progress made towards the “Holistic development of islands” program.

Bids for private sector participation in three tourism-based projects have already been invited by the Andaman and Nicobar Administration. They include eco-tourism projects in Smith Island and Long Island and tent city project in Aves Island. Bids will be invited shortly for one more project in Neil island of Andaman and Nicobar, read a statement.

In Lakshadweep, three projects have been identified for the issue of bids. These 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 statement added.

Moreover, the Ministry of Commerce has issued a notification extending tax incentives for investments made in manufacturing and service sector in islands of Andaman and 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)
The expeditious implementation of these 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,” the statement read.

At the meeting, a detailed presentation was made by CEO, NITI Aayog highlighting the current status of planned projects being implemented for islanders’ benefits. The status of the implementation of decisions taken in the last meeting was also highlighted in the presentation.

During the meeting, Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction at the progress made since its last meeting held on June 30 last year 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 among others.

“Key infrastructure projects such as operationalisation 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 and Nicobar and three islands (Kavaratti, Agatti and Minicoy) in Lakshadweep have been identified for seaplane operation,” the statement read.

“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,” the statement added.

For sustainably utilising the potential of Tuna Fish, 10 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.

At the meet, 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. The Home Minister appreciated collective efforts being made by all the Ministries for holistic and sustainable development of islands.

Besides him, the meeting was also attended by Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Admiral D. K. Joshi (retd); Administrator of Lakshadweep Farooq Khan; Cabinet Secretary P. K. Sinha; and CEO, NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant.