Following PM Narendra Modi's visit to Nepal for the Saarc summit, the government is mulling a proposal to provide leave travel concession (LTC) for government employees to four countries — Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka — to boost tourism in the neighbourhood. The LTC will be modeled on the schemes for the north-east and J&K which helped increase tourism and fueled economic improvement in the two regions.
Sources in the tourism ministry said, "Introducing LTC for 20 lakh government employees could encourage greater people to people exchange among the Saarc countries. But there will have to be some reciprocal arrangement. We are working on that." Sources said India was in touch with the countries to consider the proposal's viability.
At the Saarc summit, Modi had highlighted the need for better connectivity in the region. In his speech, he had said, "It is still harder to travel within our region than to Bangkok or Singapore; and, more expensive to speak to each other."