Tamil Nadu

A forgettable year for industries

The Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi on November 28, 2018.

The Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi on November 28, 2018.   | Photo Credit: N. Rajesh

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Industries in Tamil Nadu had a wobbly start in 2018, but ended on a good note.

After the police firing that killed 13 protesters in May, Vedanta Limited’s Sterlite Copper smelter in Thoothukudi had to down its shutters based on a State government order. A handful of downstream industries said that their business was impacted due to the closure. The people of Thoothukudi had been complaining that the plant was a major polluter for several years.

In September, there was a labour unrest in Chennai, the Detroit of South, with employees of Yamaha and Royal Enfield going on protest demanding better wages and recognition for their unions. After several rounds of negotiations with the management and the Labour department, the workers went back to work. Chennai which has installed capacity to produce one motorcycle every six seconds breathed easy.

A forgettable year for industries
 

Meanwhile, the fireworks industries in Sivakasi downed their shutters demanding lifting of ban on use of certain chemicals by the Supreme Court.

In a policy note tabled by the MSME Department in the Assembly, it was revealed that close to 50,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have been wound up in the State. The struggle continues for both.

At the textile hub, Tirupur, there were several concerns — the government had reduced the duty drawback given to garment exporters. The incentive given at 4% under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) would not continue in 2019, as the US, the EU and Russia lodged a complaint with the WTO stating India no longer qualified to give subsidy to its exports, as it had already reached the per capita income of US $ 1000 per annum consecutively for three years since 2015. Exports from Tirupur though will clock ₹24,315 crore in 2018, compared to ₹25, 013 crore recorded in 2017.

On the positive side, the State was ranked second in the State Investment Potential Index 2018 data released by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER). In 2017, it was ranked sixth.

In July, CEAT inked a pact with the State government for setting up a tyre manufacturing facility entailing investments to the tune of ₹4,000 crore. Another big news for the State this year was Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn deciding to make top-end iPhone models at its facility near Sriperumbudur. The IT sector, which employs over 4 lakh people, fared well with a few investments during the year and Chennai being acknowledged as the SaaS (Software As A Service) capital.

Unkept promises

During the year, Ministers at several forums organised by the chambers of commerce and industry bodies promised that many policies would be rolled out to boost the industries across the State but only one saw the light of the day.

After a decade, the State rolled out a revised Information Communication Technology Policy 2018. But the start-up policy has not made progress. The ₹-200 crore Amma Venture Capital Fund, which was discussed at several start-up and IT forums, has also not seen any progress.

With the State getting ready for its second edition of the Global Investors Meet in January 2019, industrialists are hopeful that the business environment would be more robust and positive.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 1:11:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/a-forgettable-year-for-industries/article25867867.ece

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