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"Tamil Nadu To Become A 1 Trillion-dollar Economy By 2030”

In an exclusive interaction with BW Businessworld, Tamil’s Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin spoke about the scenario post-Covid, putting renewable energy to good use, promoting chip manufacturing in the state, ease of doing business, and much more

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As India talks about economic recovery after Covid-19, what is your vision for Tamil Nadu?

Even during the Covid pandemic, the state registered growth. I have set a target for Tamil Nadu to become a 1 trillion-dollar economy by 2030. Today, we are nearly a 300-billion-dollar economy. We will need to register double-digit growth every year until 2030 through a multi-pronged strategy if we are to grow three-fold. A team of experts is assisting the Government chart a roadmap. Some initiatives include:

  1. World-class industrial and logistics infrastructure: Traditional industrial parks are being upgraded as customised parks where investors will enjoy plug and play facilities and access to essential utilities to set up their operations without any delay. We are also setting up sector-specific parks for electronics, e-mobility, food processing and textiles. We aim to improve the state’s infrastructure, to lower turnaround times and bring down the cost of doing business.

  2. Corridor development and exports: The Chennai Bangalore Industrial Corridor supported by JICA will cater to industrial development between Chennai and Hosur. The Chennai Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor (CKIC) supported by the Asian Development Bank will promote port-based economic development. Additionally, we have set a target to increase the volume of exports to 100 billion dollars by 2030 through an enhanced focus on manufacturing and new markets.

  3. Improving Ease of Doing Business (EODB): Currently 132 online services are available on the Tamil Nadu Single Window Portal, and we expect to add another 100 by the end of this year. We are removing archaic laws and processes to improve EODB in the state. 301 reforms have been implemented under the Business Reforms Action Plan (BRAP). In the last eight months, 124 companies have committed to investing 9 billion dollars and providing employment to nearly 2 million.

  4. Focusing on sunrise sectors: Tamil Nadu is strong in sectors such as automobiles, electronics, textiles, leather, and footwear, IT & ITeS. In addition to maintaining our strength in these sectors, we will focus on 11 sunrise sectors such as PV, Renewable Energy, Green Hydrogen, EVs, and so forth. To support the sunrise sectors, we will provide customised incentive packages. For example, in 2021, we launched the Tamil Nadu FinTech Policy and the Tamil Nadu Export Promotion Strategy. This year, we have launched the Tamil Nadu Life Sciences Promotion Policy and the Tamil Nadu R&D Policy.

  5. Encouraging R&D, startups, and a future-ready workforce: We plan to increase the skilled talent pool through interventions by the Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation & ICT Academy, and “WorkLabs.” The state has consistently ranked first in human capital among major states in the India Innovation Index. Our R&D Policy encourages startups through the Emerging Sector Seed Fund, Startup Seed Grant Fund, State Innovation Fund, and so forth.  

The Global Energy sector is stressed due to the Ukraine war and climate change. What steps are you taking to alleviate the situation in your state?

The Ukraine war has disrupted energy supply and triggered a huge rise in the price of coal, global crude oil and natural gas along with a sharp fall in electricity generation from different fuel sources. As a result, the prices in the Indian electricity market have reached unprecedented levels. Yet, Tamil Nadu has been able to ensure 24*7 power supply throughout the state. TANGEDCO Grid achieved its maximum-ever day consumption of 388.078 MU and managed to cater to its highest ever instantaneous demand of 17,563 MW on 29th April 2022. The present daily average consumption of the state is around 320 MU. It is being met by generation from existing power stations, including hydro stations and thermal power plants, and through Central Generating Stations share and power purchase. The hydro generation is utilised judiciously to maintain adequate reservoir storage levels for the summer months. For the past three months, renewable energy has contributed about 26 per cent of the state’s total power consumption. 

As the chorus for domestic semiconductor production grows in India, what are TN Government's plans to promote chip manufacturing in the State?

The future is digital. Increased usage of electronics across multiple sectors has brought semiconductors to the fore as a strategic sector. Tamil Nadu ranks second in India for computer, electronics, and optical products manufacturing accounting for 18 per cent of national production; it ranks fourth in terms of electronic exports, which were worth 2.2 billion dollars in 2021-22. Tamil Nadu sees semiconductors as a 1 trillion-dollar market opportunity. The semiconductor value chain requires high-quality infrastructure. The state has the necessary resources and is well positioned to exploit this opportunity. We recently signed an MoU of over Rs 25,000 crore with IGSS, a Singaporean company to set up a fab manufacturing unit in the state. 

How is Government of Tamil Nadu contributing to the tech sector growth in the state?

We aim to improve the availability of digital content and e-products, automate government processes and inter-agency connectivity, bridge the gap between industry and academia and enhance the commercialisation of research and development. Additionally, my Government is committed to building a robust, ultra-high-speed, intelligent and trusted ICT infrastructure across the entire state, fostering business process outsourcing (BPO) business activities and encouraging technological and digital innovation across industries. The state boasts of 11 per cent of the total IT investments in the country and ranks third in software exports. The state is home to six Submarine Cables connected to the world. The Government is launching the 25000 sq. ft. i-tamilnadu Technology (iTNT) hub at the Anna University campus.

The Tamil Nadu Telecom Infrastructure Policy grants Right of Way (RoW) for laying OFC and installation of Base Tower Station (BTS) in the state. This provision will help in providing seamless coverage and connectivity to the people in rural and remote areas. Technology is being leveraged to provide quality services to the citizens and businesses. A holistic portal features predictive analysis and uses real-time data to help my office monitor projects and help decision-making across critical areas. Key real-time data include water levels in key reservoirs, water availability, rainfall patterns, employment trends, police reports of major crimes, and prices of food and other essential commodities. 

Do you think Tamil Nadu ranks higher in EODB rankings than states like Karnataka, which are experiencing communal tensions? 

Over the last year, we have been able to provide over 130 online services across departments on the Single Window Portal. Tamil Nadu has leapfrogged from being 15th in the EODB rankings to being ranked third in India. We are renowned for maintaining law and order and industrial harmony. I wish to make Tamil Nadu number one in EOBD in India and be recognised globally. We will benchmark against not only local but also global investment hubs.

How are you fostering innovation in the startup ecosystem of Tamil Nadu?

We have the Innovation Voucher Programme under which we provide grants from Rs 2-5 lakhs. This year, we have earmarked Rs 10 crore for our flagship seed grant fund TANSEED to support 100 early-stage startups. We have launched three regional startup hubs in Madurai, Tirunelveli and Erode to encourage innovation in the smaller towns and villages. We conduct several competitions in academic institutions to promote innovation. We also subsidise inventions by offering up to Rs 3 lakhs for patent registrations. What I have mentioned is by no means an exhaustive list of our initiatives. But we have just begun. In the years ahead, we will be building an entire ecosystem to support our entrepreneurs and innovators.

What is your unfinished agenda as far as the economic growth of Tamil Nadu is concerned?

I have not achieved everything in my first year, but we have done more than what we thought was possible. A lot has been planned towards realising an inclusive Dravidian model of economic growth. I am confident that we are on the trajectory to becoming a 1 trillion-dollar economy by 2030.

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Magazine Issue 5 Nov 2022