TAMIL NADU

Government to nominate SIDCO as procurement agency

CHENNAI, MARCH 24. The State Government plans to nominate the Tamil Nadu Small Industries Development Corporation (SIDCO) as an Optional Procurement Agency for select small-scale industries.

Replying to the debate on demands for grants for Small Industries and Handlooms, the Minister for Rural Industries, B. Valarmathi, told the Assembly today that the move "is under the Government's consideration as SIDCO, being not a manufacturer, is unable to participate in the Government and Quasi Government tenders owing to the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tenders Act."

On strengthening the infrastructure of the existing industrial estates, Ms. Valarmathi said the Government had so far released Rs. 1 crore for the strengthening and upgradation of infrastructure in Thiru-Vi-Ka industrial estate at Guindy under the Integrated Infrastructure Development (IID) scheme. The IID scheme taken up at the Hosur industrial estate would be completed by June, and that the Government had released Rs. 23.94 lakhs of the total project cost of Rs. 62 lakhs. The industrial estates at Ambattur, Tirumudivakkam and Tirumazhisai would be upgraded at a cost of Rs. 47.20 crores. The Government had released Rs. 80 lakhs as its contribution.

The SIDCO had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Small Industries Corporation for implementing a composite term loan scheme for tiny units up to Rs. 25 lakhs.

"The Government is extending back-ended interest subsidy up to 3 per cent per annum so as to reduce the interest rate considerably for the loanees," she said.

Cluster approach

A proposal for Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme for a tea cluster in Nilgiris district is under examination. The common facilities created under this cluster will help the member units to improve the quality of their product and minimise the cost of production. To create more employment avenues for rural youth in the non-farm sector, proposals for five clusters — bell metal cluster in Thanjavur district, grass weaving cluster in Tirunelveli district, fire proof and long lasting thatches manufacturing cluster in Tiruvarur district, soap industries and ready made garments clusters at Madurai — had been forwarded to the Centre for approval under the National Programme on Rural Industrialisation.

In the sericulture sector, the Government plans to take up activities such as cultivating high-yielding mulberry varieties in 1,730 acres, rearing 65 lakh layings, producing 4,000 tonnes of cotton and 600 tonnes of raw silk and generating additional jobs for 8650 persons during 2005-2006, Ms. Valarmathi said.

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