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April 8, 2002 | 0000 IST
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Tamil Nadu scripts 4-pronged growth strategy

Shobha Warrier in Chennai

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has declared her intentions of taking her state to the forefront in the race for economic prosperity.

She said Tamil Nadu would adopt a four-pronged strategy to become the number one state in the country in terms of all socio-economic indices, and to attract the highest amount of foreign direct investment in the country.

She said that Tamil Nadu will adopt an export-led growth strategy by reviving flagging agricultural and industrial sectors of the economy and also ensure that rural and urban infrastructure are improved.

The state is now in the third position after Maharashtra and Gujarat. She said that Tamil Nadu's share in the export revenues from the IT sector was twice that of Andhra Pradesh.

She was speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry conference on 'India and Globalisation' at the Taj Coromandel in Chennai.

She outlined the various measures the state government is planning to take, including giving a peek at the 'New Industrial Policy' being readied at Fort St George.

The results of the economic reforms undertaken since the early nineties have not been fruitful enough, she said.

She has set her eyes on making Tamil Nadu the No 1 state in India in terms of human development indicators: longevity, knowledge, and a decent standard of living, comparable to the best in the world.

Her four-pronged strategy aims at:

  1. Export-led growth;
  2. Comprehensive infrastructure development in the rural and urban areas;
  3. Re-prioritisation of resource allocation of the government stressing on health, education and other infrastructural areas;
  4. Eliminating corruption in administration.
"The challenge for the government is to create the necessary enabling environment by breaking the bottlenecks that have stymied productivity in the past and help our industries emerge as leaders in their respective fields," she said.

The new industrial policy will radically improve and expand the physical infrastructure in the state including transport and communication networks, ports and basic amenities in rural and urban areas.

It will seek to significantly upgrade the quality of human capital by expanding research and development and strengthen the linkages between academic experts and business.

The policy will also streamline administrative regulations and processes so that they do not constrain the growth and development of business and industry in the state.

"An infrastructure cess fund is also being created to finance the infrastructural development activities of the government which in turn will spur the process of industrialization," she said.

She said that when the AIADMK government was swept into power last year, they had inherited a negative cash balance and also unpaid expenditure liabilities of over Rs 25 billion from the previous DMK regime.

The government had only two options - either to remain a mute witness to the fiscal paralysis that had taken over the government or resolve to take tough decisions to find a way out of the problems. "Naturally, I chose the second option," she said.

She stressed the importance of becoming competitive in terms of quality and cost, especially as the small sector was the industrial backbone of the state.

The chief minister said that the new industrial policy of the state government which will be released soon would aim to:

  • Strengthen sectors like engineering, textiles and leather where the state had an established competitive advantage;
  • Concentrate on the emerging biotechnology and information technology sectors;
  • Improve physical infrastructure of transport and communications networks and basic amenities in rural areas;
  • Improve R&D and industry-academy linkages; and
  • Streamline the administrative regulations and processes "so that they do not constrain the growth and development of business and industry in the state."

A solid Internet backbone is also being developed in the state. Tamil Nadu also plans to become the IT corridor to South-East Asia.

She announced that the private sector would be invited to participate in wasteland reclamation and watershed development. The rural economy is to be strengthened through horticulture development, rural-based industries and activities allied to agriculture such as poultry.

She called upon the captains of industry present at the event to work for the overall development of society.

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