Non-leather footwear sector has the potential to bring in more investments into the State: says Pooja Kulkarni

Ms. Kulkarni also noted that Tamil Nadu has always welcomed migrant workforce and the State’s economy has gown because of them

Updated - March 12, 2023 06:42 pm IST

Published - March 11, 2023 10:55 pm IST - CHENNAI

The real increase in the GDP lies in the services industry.

The real increase in the GDP lies in the services industry.

The non-leather footwear sector has the highest growth rate and has the potential to bring in more investments into the State, says Pooja Kulkarni, special secretary of Industries, Investment Promotion and Commerce Department.

Addressing businessmen at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Tamil Nadu State Annual Meeting 2022-2023 on the theme ‘Advancing Tamil Nadu’s Rise’ she said that the State has identified firms in this space and reached out to them. She also highlighted women’s role in industries in Tamil Nadu and mentioned that Tata Power’s project at Gangaikondan in Tirunelveli will have more women employees.

Always welcomed migrant workforce

Ms. Kulkarni also noted that Tamil Nadu has always welcomed migrant workforce, and the State’s economy has grown because of them. “Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them stayed back here and said they were better off here than going home,” she said. “The State of Tamil Nadu has worked out the sectors that need to be targeted to make it a $1 trillion economy by 2030. We also have to evaluate what are the inherent strengths that Tamil Nadu has and can be leveraged,” she added.

Lakshmi Venu, managing director of Sundaram-Clayton Ltd., spoke on the ‘Indian Companies becoming MNCs’ local to global. She narrated her company’s growth story and said SCL started its foundry for captive consumption in the 1960s but truly grew as a stand-alone company primarily with non-group customers from the late 1990s onward when it built associations with companies like Hyundai, Cummins, Volvo, and others.

“It is the partnership and mentorship from companies like Hyundai and Daimler that helped us leverage our Indian talent and grow our engineering competence. From the 2000s, we began exporting directly to Europe and North America, and today, this is a major part of our business. While we expanded our footprint in India through the 2000s, we set up a plant in the U.S. in 2019 and a design centre in Europe late last year,” she explained. She also said that Tamil Nadu continues to be the strongest manufacturing state in the country. “It is the most industrialised and the second wealthiest State by GDP,” she said.

Mano Thangaraj, Minister for Information Technology and Digital Services, mentioned that Tamil Nadu’s software exports touched ₹1.76 lakh crore this year. He also welcomed the business fraternity to participate in the upcoming ‘Umagine’ Chennai event.

Overcome aspects to become a $1 trillion economy by 2030

“Tamil Nadu has to overcome three aspects for it to become a $1 trillion economy by 2030. The State needs to work doubly hard to attract nearly $200 billion of investments. These investments have to come from the private and government sectors and from FDI. We need to attract more FDI, which is currently at $4 billion,” said B. Santhanam, past chairman of the CII-SR, CEO of Asia Pacific and India Region, and chairman of Saint Gobain, India.

He further said, “The second aspect is the looming labour shortage of nearly 50 lakhs that the manufacturing and construction industries alone will face in the coming years. The third aspect is reducing the emissions and making carbon neutrality by 2040 instead of 2070.”

Davinder PS Sandhu, co-founder and chairman, Primus Partner, and senior advisor (infrastructure) of the World Bank, said that the real increase in the GDP lies in the services industry. “If the State ensures a transition from agriculture to services takes place, the target set by the government by 2030 is comfortably achievable,” he said.

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