During the presentation of the interim Union Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced plans for projects aimed at enhancing port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities on islands, including Lakshadweep. The focus on island development is driven by the growing enthusiasm for domestic tourism in the country.
Sitharaman highlighted the economic strength that has made India an attractive destination for business and conference tourism. The mention of Lakshadweep is notable, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the island on January 4, emphasizing its appeal for adventure enthusiasts.
The finance minister acknowledged the aspirations of the Indian middle class for travel and exploration, emphasizing the significant opportunities for local entrepreneurship in the tourism sector. She emphasized that states would be encouraged to undertake comprehensive development of iconic tourist centers, with branding and marketing on a global scale. A framework for rating these centers based on the quality of facilities and services will be established.
To facilitate this development, long-term interest-free loans will be provided to states on a matching basis. Sitharaman underlined that this initiative would generate employment and address the growing interest in domestic tourism. She also highlighted the success of hosting G-20 Summit meetings at 60 locations, showcasing the diversity of India to a global audience.
(With Agency Inputs)