The start of IT Parks in Tier-II cities was a manifestation of the consistent progress Tamil Nadu has been registering in software exports, the Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said on Thursday.

Laying the foundation stone for the IT Park at Navalpattu Special Economic Zone here, Mr. Stalin said software exports from Tamil Nadu during 2008-09 clocked a 29 per cent rise to reach Rs. 36,680 crores, involving a workforce of 2.8 lakh. Tamil Nadu, he said, was obliterated from the economic stagnation elsewhere owing to the Government’s keenness to generate employment through industrial progress.

Mr. Stalin emphasised that in the DMK regimes since 1989, the women SHG movement and other empowerment initiatives, including accordance of inheritance rights, provision of marriage assistance, and priority for women in appointment of teachers in elementary schools, were being accorded a fillip in keeping with the resolution for women’s emancipation adopted at the self-respect conference of Chengalpattu under Periyar’s leadership.

Out of Rs. 11,132 crores forwarded as loans to SHGs across the country, a sum of Rs. 2,124 accounting for 20 per cent was given to the groups in Tamil Nadu. Mr. Stalin cited instances of the lending for SHGs by Indian Bank and the Indian Overseas Bank to the groups in Tamil Nadu to the extent of 65 per cent and 45 per cent respectively. “This signifies the high credibility enjoyed by the SHGs of Tamil Nadu owing to their prompt repayment.” Applauding the SHGs for making the State proud, he urged them to take up entrepreneurship in right earnest.

Referring to the Tiruverumbur Taluk he inaugurated on the occasion, Mr. Stalin said the long-persisting demand that was ignored by the previous regime despite forceful pleas by the Tiruverumbur MLA K.N. Sekaran was discussed purposefully in the last assembly session and a GO was passed on Wednesday.

The Deputy Chief Minister laid the foundation for 1,838 works worth Rs. 68.73 crores, commissioned 940 projects to the tune of 29.8 crores and distributed welfare assistance under various schemes to the extent of Rs. 28.73 crores.

Mr. Stalin spent about one hour and ten minutes after the function to handover in person the cheques for revolving fund and working capital to 3,004 SHGs, allotment letters to nine IT companies, and patta documents to 100 residents of the Malligaipatti Samathuvapuram.

The best performing banks to receive honours for SHG financing were in the order of Indian Overseas Bank, Tiruchi District Central Cooperative Bank, and Indian Bank. Among the branches the Lalgudi branch of IOB stood first. Mr. Stalin also honoured the Lead District Manager Ramdas in recognition of his meritorious services to SHGs.

Presiding over, the State Transport Minister K.N. Nehru attributed the sanction of various projects to Tiruchi to the efforts of Mr. Stalin. The Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment D. Napolean, State Ministers N. Selvaraj and Poongothai Aladi Aruna, the District Collector T. Soundiah, IT Department Secretary P.W.C. Davidar, ELCOT Managing Director Santhosh Babu, and MLAs spoke on the occasion.