NEW DELHI: India’s ambitious plans to shape Lakshadweep as a major international tourist destination has run into an imminent health advisory — with doctors refusing to serve in the islands and many posts lying vacant in the union territory’s health sector.
In order to develop Lakshadweep along the lines of Maldives and Mauritius, the Union Home Ministry is now planning to give special perks and better pay to doctors in Lakshadweep, The Sunday Standard has learnt.
The ministry’s plan has been appreciated by a parliamentary standing committee on Home Affairs.
“Linking promotional avenues of doctors to comply with the posting in Lakshadweep can be a viable solution to ensure that the government doctors are posted permanently in Lakshadweep,” the committee has opined in its latest report on administration and development of Lakshadweep.
To encourage doctors to serve in Lakshdweep, the committee has also recommended an amendment in the Central Health Services (CHS) recruitment rules for incorporating a provision for compulsory posting in the Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The committee has asked the Home Ministry to take up the matter with the Health Ministry “at the earliest”.
Besides suggesting improvement in public health and medical facilities in Lakshadweep, the committee has also recommended better network connectivity, night landing facilities for aircrafts and the possibility of operating water drones in Lakshadweep.
The government’s think-tank NITI Aayog is already working out a roadmap for the development of Lakshadweep’s 26 islands so that they can offer the same services as are offered in the tourist-friendly South-East Asian countries. The Home Ministry’s proposal comes a few days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly issued instructions to NITI Aayog to “immediately” ensure that at least two islands get tourism facilities on par with Mauritius and Maldives.
Reportedly, the PM has made it clear that he wants at least one island in Lakshadweep and another in Nicobar to be ready with infrastructure facilities before the 2019 general elections.