Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi's visit to these islands in 1985 has given a new direction to development. The conventional pattern of Plan schemes that was followed hitherto was changed to suit the geographical, demographical and environmental conditions obtaining in the islands. An Island Development Authority under his Chairmanship with top experts on various subject was constituted.
In the meanwhile, the various study groups of experts constituted by the Island Development Authority(IDA) have already made indepth studies of various needs of the territory. A Masterplan for the transport system in Lakshadweep at a cost of Rs. 297.5 crores upto 2010, introduction of M.V. Tippusultan, Helicopter and Vayudoot services are only the first steps towards this goal. In the second stage, the three 300 tonne capacity cargo barges are also in operation. The fourth cargo barge is likely to be in operation soon. Two smaller ships of about 100-150 passenger capacity are also projected to be constructed. In addition, a Rs.42 crore fisheries masterplan has also been approved. The Energy plan is already under implementation, together with the Water Supply scheme based on hydrogeological studies commissioned by IDA.
To solve the unemployment problems of the territory , development of fisheries, Tourism, etc. have been programmed on large scale. Cheriyam, an uninhabited island attached to Kalpeni, is planned to be developed as an International Tourist Resort similar to the Banagaram resort and as a first step an Air Port is being built in Andrott, the neighbouring island of Kalpeni. Development of Small Scale Industrial units is being encouraged as means of Self-Employment by providing adequate subsidy through various schemes. Pre-recruitment programmes on a massive scale is another measure taken up for the better future of the islands. By the turn of the century, the islands are expected to develop a self sustaining Agriculture and Tourism.
Planning Commission approved an amount of Rs.120 crores for the Eighth Five Year Plan. The salient features of the Eighth Five Year (1992-97) is as under.