India may include Nepal in LTC program

India is preparing to allow its government employees to travel to Nepal under leave travel concession (LTC).

According to news reports, the India is mulling a proposal to provided LTC for government employees to four countries – Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka – to boost tourism in the neighborhood. “The LTC will be modeled on the schemes for the north-east and Jammu & Kashmir which helped increase tourism and fueled economic improvement in the two regions,” a news report in Times of India states.

Under LTC, the Indian government provides different facilities to government employees to travel to different parts of the country as part of incentives.

“Introducing LTC for 2 million government employees could encourage greater people to people exchange among the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries. But there will have to be some reciprocal arrangement. We are working on that,” the newspaper quoted an official with India’s tourism ministry as saying.

Speaking at the SAARC Summit held recently in Kathmandu, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had emphasized on better connectivity in the region. “It is still harder to travel within our region than to Bangkok or Singapore; and, more expensive to speak to each other,” he had said.

Arrivals from India account for about one-third of total tourist arrivals in Nepal.

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