Tamil Nadu

Can TN turn it around?

In the first week of January, the government will formally announce in a press conference its plan for the Global Investors Meet. In February, road shows will be on across the country to lure investors from other States.

Surprisingly, the temporary website for the meet has Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s picture prominently. He is doing his part. Whenever a foreign delegation visits, be it from Japan or the United States, the Chief Minister makes it a point to invite them for the GIM.

But, the branding is certainly missing. With AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa not at the helm, industrialists here think getting approvals could be a tedious process. In fact, since the present government took over in May 2011, investments have not been up to the mark.

In 2012, the State government signed MoUs with 12 companies envisaging investments to the tune of Rs.20,925 crore, which will generate direct employment for 36,855 persons and indirect employment for about 1 lakh persons. “But many of these MoUs were already been spoken about for several years and they were not new,” said a senior government official.

Power crisis

The State’s investment climate suffered considerably owing to the power crisis. “The power scenario was a major dampener for industries. From textiles to manufacturing, everyone was under pressure,” says one of the leaders of chambers of commerce. 

Ten days ago, about a dozen business and industry organisations held a meeting with top bureaucrats in a closed-door meeting. “The government is quite positive about addressing the challenges faced by us,” an industrialist said.

For the first time, the government admitted to the chambers that power and infrastructure was of concern. “We have given sector-wise data and what the State needs to do to improve,” says a secretary of one of the chambers. “The officials sounded genuine when they promised to rectify the bottlenecks,” he adds.

 Setting a target of Rs. 1 lakh crore investments, the government is counting on the turnaround it thinks it has achieved in the power sector. “We are still a long way from being power surplus. But we have turned around things for the better. You can see it for yourself,” says an official of Tangedco, the State’s power utility. Of course, the State is witnessing fewer power cuts with the commissioning of new thermal plants.

The road is still arduous.  

“There is a negative sentiment everywhere after Nokia and Foxconn suspended their operations here. This has left a deep scar. This meet is necessary,” says a senior official in the manufacturing sector. “A healthy investment climate is the need of the hour,” he emphasises.

 Vision 2023 has set a target of 14 per cent growth in the manufacturing sector each year and to attract an overall investment of Rs 15 trillion across all sectors by 2023.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 12:08:59 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/can-tn-turn-it-around/article6733339.ece