New initiatives in tourism and IT are expected to boost the economy of Lakshadweep islands.

The Union Territory of Lakshadweep is making commendable strides in tourism and information technology.

New initiatives in these sectors are expected to boost the economy of the islands and improve the lifestyle.

The opening of a few more islands to tourists has been welcomed by tour operators. Out of the 36 islands forming the Union Territory, only 11 are inhabited. The uninhabited islands of Suheli Valiyakara, Cheriyam and Tinnakara were opened for tourists recently. The Lakshadweep administration hopes that the move will offer a unique opportunity for the tourists to feel the pulse of a land of unparalleled splendour.

The Union Territory recently won the Manthan award, instituted by a consortium of public and private entities in the national and international arena, for initiatives in information technology. The project that won the award was the digitisation of employment exchange.

Lakshadweep has a high level of unemployment. About 20 per cent of the population is registered in the employment exchange.

Employment opportunities in the private sector are low. Because of the geographical isolation, educated youth do not get enough options. Lack of adequate transport facilities and deficiencies in communication network pose a major problem for the masses.

It used to take around eight days during normal season and 15 days during monsoon to reach the employment exchange at Kavaratti. Digitisation has opened a new era for employment seekers, says B.V. Selvaraj, administrator of the Union Territory.

The Union Territory is also opening a call centre in Kochi to help the candidates. This will enable the islanders to choose their path for a better living.

R. Ramabhadran Pillai