State poised to overtake Maharashtra, says CM

CHENNAI, MAY 8. Tamil Nadu is poised once again to overtake Maharashtra in attracting fresh industrial investments and top the investment charts in the country, the Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi told the Assembly today.

The latest report of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) had placed Tamil Nadu in the second slot with an investment of Rs. 1,41,893 crore next only to Maharashtra which had attracted Rs. 1,55,362 crore. But the report had failed to take into account the Rs. 15,000 crore investments in lignite mining and power generation projects in Tamil Nadu. With the CMIE now agreeing to include these investments as well in its May 15 report, Tamil Nadu will lead the other States in the industrial investments, the Chief Minister said.

With the inclusion of the Rs. 13,000 crore Neyveli Lignite Corporation's expansion projects and Rs. 2000 crore Jayamkondan lignite mining and power generation projects, the overall investments in Tamil Nadu would total up to Rs. 1,56.893 crore, surpassing Maharashtra's record. And Tamil Nadu accounts for 22.31 per cent of the total industrial investment in the country which is about 2,29,721 crore since May 1996, the Chief Minister said, refuting Opposition criticism that Tamil Nadu under the DMK regime was facing an industrial slide.

Particularly, Tamil Nadu was at the crest of the cyber wave sweeping the nation, the Chief Minister said, quoting a Harvard study, which had described the State as an intellectual power house of India. The software exports from Tamil Nadu had gone up from Rs. 37 crore in 1995-96 to Rs. 1,800 crore in 1999-2000. In Coimbatore alone, software exports were about Rs. 21.17 crore, the Chief Minister said.

Amidst loud thumping of desks by the Treasury Benches, he said that the State could boast of over 22,000 software professionals and annually the State was turning out over 13,000 software engineers. The State which had only 34 software units in 1996, now had about 562 software companies.

Asserting that Tamil Nadu was the IT-leader in the country, the Chief Minister said that the State was the first to come out with an IT policy and a task force. About 13,000 community internet centres through WorldTel which would provide jobs for 1.50 lakh people were coming up.