I wanted to know why Indian citizens need a permit to visit Lakshadweep, and an answer on Quora says:
"To protect the interests of the general public of Lakshadweep, about 95% of whom are Scheduled Tribes, the Administrator has, with previous approval of Central Govt. and in exercise of powers vested under Laccadive, Minicoy & Amindivi Islands (laws) Regulation, 1965, made the Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands (Restriction on Entry and Residence) Rules, 1967. As per these rules, every person, who is not a native of these islands, shall have to obtain a permit in the Prescribed Form from the Competent authority, for entering into and residing in these islands". Lakshadweep also has a full-fledged naval base. So, permit adds an additional security layer.
Cited from: Wayback Machine, 2015 archive of the department of revenue and the naval base establishment.
Since the requirement of a permit exists since 2004, and the naval base came up in 2012, it left me wondering if things could have changed as of 2019, that such strict restrictions and permits would not be necessary for a simple vacation to relax, snorkel, kayak and scuba dive?
Some websites say that a police clearance is required from near the residence of the visitor and then another clearance is required from a government department in Kochi. Some people write on their blogs that it's not that much of a hassle to visit. Some recommend the government tour packages, some recommend the private packages, but there's a lack of a clear, step-by-step explanation on how to get the permit and book a vacation to the islands. Could anyone help with providing these steps?
- Where are the offices located, from where I can obtain the permits? What precautions should I take and what insider information do I need to know to avoid hassles, scams and delays? Both for people who know the local language and for those who don't.
- Is a police verification from a police station close to my house required (if Indian citizen)? What are the procedures followed for this? Hassles, scams, delays, precautions, necessary documents?
- If a resort or agent can arrange for the permits, how to I know which ones can be trusted and where are they located? Precautions, scams, delays, reliability and extra charges?
- If I book one of the government's vacation packages like "Samudram", do they arrange for the permits and police verification or am I expected to do it?
- Any other info that would be helpful for someone who would prefer to follow their own itinerary instead of following what some pre-planned package offers?
A wish I hope could be conveyed to organizers of Lakshadweep tours: To have a simple, reliable online procedure to get the permits and tickets booked, without having to visit any offices and without having to go through any agents. To be able to decide the duration of the stay and activities without having to follow an itinerary decided by someone else.
Update: A person I know, went to Lakshadweep for official work. He asked around a lot, but even he couldn't get a clear step-by-step procedure of how to go there on vacation. Somebody there told him that tourism is restricted so that they can preserve the local population's simple, humble culture and also preserve the pristine natural beauty of the place (which is a sensible thing to do). Also, apparently since the islands are small, they cannot support the load and resources required for a large number of tourists. Perhaps the Lakshadweep admin office or the ticket counter at Kochi could provide more info about procedures, if someone visits and asks for details.