The tiniest Union Territoy of India, Lakshadweep is an archipelago consisting of 12 atolls, three reefs and five submerged banks. It is a uni-district Union Territory with an area of 32 Sq.Kms and is comprised of ten inhabited islands, 17 uninhabited islands attached islets, four newly formed islets and 5 submerged reefs. The inhabited islands are Kavaratti, Agatti, Amini, Kadmat, Kiltan, Chetlat, Bitra, Andrott, Kalpeni and Minicoy. Bitra is the smallest of all having only a population of 271 persons (Census 2011). The uninhabited island Bangaram has been enumerated during 2011 census operation and has a population of 61 persons.
It is located between 8º – 12º 13″ North latitude and 71º – 74º East longitude, 220 to 440 Kms. away from the coastal city of Kochi in Kerala, in the emerald Arabian sea. Considering its lagoon area of about 4,200 Sq.kms, 20,000 Sq.kms of territorial waters and about 4 lakhs Sq.kms. of economic zone, Lakshadweep is a large territory.
According to the 2011 Census, Lakshadweep has a population of 64429 persons.More than 93% of the population who are indigenous, are Muslims and majority of them belong to the Shafi School of the Sunni Sect. Malayalam is spoken in all the islands except Minicoy where people speak Mahl which is written in Divehi script and is spoken in Maldives also. The entire indigenous population has been classified as Scheduled Tribes because of their economic and social backwardness. According to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes list (modification orders), 1956, the inhabitants of Lakshadweep who and both of whose parents were born in these islands are treated as Scheduled Tribes. There are no Scheduled Castes in this Union Territory.
The main occupation of the people is fishing, coconut cultivation and coir twisting. Tourism is an emerging industry.