Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure and amenities will be taken up “on our islands, including Lakshadweep” to address the “emerging fervour” for domestic tourism in the country.

While presenting the interim Union Budget, she also said “our economic strength has made the country an attractive destination for business and conference tourism”.

The mention of Lakshadweep by the finance minister is significant because Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the island on January 4. He had tried snorkelling and said Lakshadweep has to be on the list of visit for those who wish to embrace the adventurer in them.

A row erupted on social media when a minister and some other leaders in the Maldives used derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Modi after he posted a video of him on a pristine beach in Lakshadweep.

Following this, several Indians and tour operators cancelled their plans to visit the Maldives, which has tilted towards China and away from India under its new President Mohamed Muizzu.

Sitharaman, in her budget speech, said the Indian middle class also now “aspires to travel and explore”. Tourism, including spiritual tourism, has tremendous opportunities for local entrepreneurship, she added.

Video: ANI

Text: PTI