Nowadays #SaveLakshadweep is trending on social media platforms. I started reading about it, I got to know about some reforms being implemented in the union territory. Lakshadweep is a beautiful union territory which consists of 35 islands and over 64K citizens. Most of the citizens are dependent on fishing, animal husbandry and tourism. The average literacy rate of the citizens is 91%.
Panchayat, MP and an Administrator (selected by the President) run Lakshadweep
Earlier, the administrator used to be an IAS/IPS officer. For the first time, a political leader was selected as Administrator of Lakshadweep. Praful Patel is the administrator of Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, and Lakshadweep.
Understanding Issues of Lakshadweep
Administrator Patel has implemented new reforms which didn’t go down well with the locals.
- Praful brought a reform through which the government took over the powers of the elected Zilla Panchayat regarding education, animal husbandry, fisheries, agriculture, and healthcare.
- Anti-social act (Gunda act), the draft of this act allows police to arrest people without public disclosure for a year. The crime rate of the UT is lowest in the country. There is no need for such a bill. Locals say that Praful will use this law to detain those people who raises their voice against injustice or criticise the government.
- People having more than 2 children can’t participate in panchayat polls. BJP will lose 96 MPs if this controversial bill will be imposed in the country. Locals allege that BJP has brought this reform to stop some prominent leaders from contesting Panchayat elections.
- Rising COVID-19 cases. In the 1st wave, there was no case in the UT. There was a mandatory 14-days quarantine period and mandatory COVID-19 test for the visitors. Praful changed the guidelines. Now, visitors only require a negative RT-PCR test. It led to the increase in COVID-19 cases. The UT recorded the 1st case of COVID-19 on January 18. Today, the coronavirus tally has crossed over 6.8K cases.
- Lakshadweep Development Authority (LDA) regulation. LDA will simplify the process of buying and selling the land for big corporations. Locals say that it will affect the biodiversity and ecosystem of Lakshadweep. It will commercialise the resources which will be a threat to the natural biodiversity.
- Govt had banned alcohol in the UT. Only one shop on an Island used to sell alcohol. Now, the govt has allowed all the islands to open alcohol stores.
- Praful K. Patel allegedly ordered the demolition of the houses of a lot of fishermen.
- Praful has imposed Beef ban in Lakshadweep. The territory consists of mostly Malyali people and eating beef is a part of their culture.
Do locals really need these reforms? Hope you know the answer!