Finnish companies face issues in T.N. due to tendering process regulations, says diplomat

Ambassador of Finland to India Kimmo Lähdevirta interacts with senior journalists at The Hindu head office

Updated - June 11, 2024 08:32 pm IST

Published - June 11, 2024 08:22 pm IST - CHENNAI

Kimmo Lähdevirta

Kimmo Lähdevirta | Photo Credit: R. RAGU

Ambassador of Finland to India Kimmo Lähdevirta on Tuesday said Finnish companies “faced issues” in Tamil Nadu due to regulations that prevent them from participating in tendering processes. Interacting with senior journalists of The Hindu at its head office in Chennai, he said certain regulations imposed by the State government were limiting.

Asked about the ease of doing business in Tamil Nadu, he said: “I would say that it is mostly very good, and that’s why they (Finnish companies) have established themselves here. There have been some issues regarding being able to participate in the tendering process. There are some regulations that require companies to be present here for something like seven years before they are able to participate (in bids), and I think that is unfortunate, because it limits the possibilities of Indian customers to find the best solutions. But otherwise, I would say that the overall experience is pretty good here.”

Ambassador Lähdevirta said there were already Finnish companies involved in school education in India, working to introduce ‘phenomenon-based learning’, which had been successfully piloted at schools here.

“The cooperation between universities in all its aspects and research is one area. And certainly, the third area is the attraction of students from India to Finnish universities. Our population is ageing, and, therefore, we are trying to get people who know things from abroad as well. And I think India is certainly one of the key countries. We also have a programme called ‘Talent Boost’, with which we try to attract talents from India to Finland. I would also like to see Finnish students coming to India because having seen the place, for example IIT-Madras, I think there will also be plenty of things for Finnish students and experts to learn here,” he said.

Asked if Nokia, the Finnish global brand whose handsets where hugely popular in India when mobile phones became affordable, can regain its position, Ambassador Lähdevirta said: “Nokia was the big thing in handset manufacturing 20 years ago or so. Unfortunately, it didn’t go so well when the smartphones by Apple and others came into the market. But, what I’m pleased about is that Nokia was able to make a turnaround from handset manufacturing to network building. That it was able to acquire Alcatel-Lucent and Siemens Networks, for example, and it has become very good in building radio, optical, and other networks. And it is still one of the biggest companies, if not the biggest, in Finland.”

The Ambassador added, “Last year, they did a very good deal here i.e., building 5G networks. I am very pleased that Nokia has one of its key factories in Chennai, which not only supplies products for the Indian market, but for the global one as well. In Bengaluru, they have a very big research and development centre, so they are serious about India.”

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