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Tuesday, 07 August, 2018, 16 : 00 PM [IST]

Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands to open for global investors soon

As per the livemint report, India is set to invite global investors for a wide-ranging social and infrastructure development programme in the strategically important islands of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep. The government will hold a pre-bid meeting with potential investors on August 10 before seeking formal bids so as to make the terms more accommodative, a person familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

One of the key projects planned is a trans-shipment terminal at Campbell Bay at Great Nicobar, the largest of the Nicobar Islands. Campbell Bay is 90 km away from Malacca Strait, the principal sea route between the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The trans-shipment terminal is among 10 projects identified by the government as part of its island development plan prepared by federal policy think tank NITI Aayog. The projects are in the areas of road, sea and air connectivity, clean energy, development of resorts, digital connectivity, healthcare and education, for which expressions of interest will be invited.

The plan also proposes to extend benefits available to businesses in the north-eastern region under a scheme notified in April this year. These include subsidy on capital investment and interest on working capital loans, reimbursement of insurance premium for plant and machinery, and reimbursement of the central government’s share of the goods and services tax. The fiscal benefits plan, however, needs to be approved by the government.

NITI Aayog is also working on a revenue model to build sea connectivity projects in the public-private partnership mode, especially for ships carrying automobiles.

Proposals for resorts at the islands of Minicoy, Suheli and Kadmat of Lakshadweep are also part of the plan. Development of water de-salination plants and waste management are also part of the development scheme.

Island development is a key priority for the government as building infrastructure will improve connectivity and spur economic activity, including tourism. Plans are already afoot to boost air connectivity in the islands and promote helicopter tourism. The Island Development Agency, set up last June to develop the maritime economy, is working with NITI Aayog on this plan.

 
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