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

Laying the foundation stone for the IT Park in the Navalpattu Special Economic Zone here, Mr. Stalin said software exports from Tamil Nadu during 2008-09 rose 29 per cent to touch Rs.36,680 crore, involving a workforce of 2.8 lakh. Tamil Nadu was obliterated from the economic stagnation elsewhere owing to the government's keenness to generate employment through industrial progress.

Mr. Stalin emphasised that under the DMK regimes since 1989, women's 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 given a fillip in keeping with the resolution for women's emancipation adopted at the self-respect conference in Chengalpattu under Periyar's leadership.

Out of Rs.11,132 crore given as loans to SHGs across the country, Rs.2,124, accounting for 20 per cent, was given to the groups in Tamil Nadu. Mr. Stalin cited instances of lending by Indian Bank and Indian Overseas Bank to SHGs in Tamil Nadu to the extent of 65 per cent and 45 per cent. "This signifies the high credibility enjoyed by the SHGs of Tamil Nadu owing to their prompt repayment."

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 Tiruverumbur MLA K.N. Sekaran, was discussed purposefully during the last Assembly session and a G.O. passed on Wednesday.

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

Mr. Stalin spent an hour and ten minutes after the function to hand over 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 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 service to SHGs.

Presiding over the function, Transport Minister K.N. Nehru attributed the sanction of various projects to Tiruchi to the efforts of Mr. Stalin.

Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment D. Napolean, State Ministers N. Selvaraj and Poongothai Aladi Aruna, District Collector T. Soundiah, IT Department Secretary P.W.C. Davidar, ELCOT Managing Director Santhosh Babu, and MLAs spoke.