Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister will focus on attracting major investment to the state.
Eight months since taking office as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, DMK Chairman MK Stalin has set his priorities for attracting major investment while simultaneously battling the global novel coronavirus pandemic. He pleads for a “Dravidian model” where economic development is inclusive.
“Our goal is equitable economic development that will be in line with social justice. It has taken root since the days of the Justice Party government [in pre-Independent India]. I explained this as a Dravidian model,” Mr. Stalin said. The Hindu in an interview on the occasion of the launch of “Tamil Nadu in focus”, a special weekly section featuring the southern state’s history, culture, heritage and progress in key sectors.
Read also | We will not go back on our promises, says Stalin
10 year vision
The Prime Minister, who has gained a wealth of experience as an administrator in his past roles as Mayor, Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, is planning for the long term based on a 10-year vision he has unveiled in Tiruchi ahead of the last Assembly election.
“I had asked the people to give the next 10 years to the DMK to save the state, which was lagging behind during the rule of the AIADMK. They gave us the first five years. In line with the seven promises made in Tiruchi, we are focusing on the economy, agriculture, water resources, education and health, urban development, rural infrastructure and social justice,” he said. said, showing optimism that people would come forward to give him another five-year term in 2026.
Mr Stalin said major Indian industrialists and global investors now believe that Tamil Nadu has a favorable investment climate. Such industry faith had helped the government take revenue-generating measures without affecting the economic infrastructure amid the pandemic.
News analysis | Can Stalin succeed where AIADMK failed?
While setting himself the mission of making Tamil Nadu a trillion dollar economy, the Chief Minister did not believe in organizing a ostentatious global investor conference “for propaganda like the AIADMK government does. “. Instead, his government believed in providing infrastructure that inspires confidence in investors, along with transparent governance and rapid approval of projects. So far, in two events in Chennai and Coimbatore, 108 MoUs have been signed for cumulative investments worth ₹63,716 crore to generate 1,60,277 jobs.
Excerpts from the interview:
“Our industrial policy opens doors for investors without them having to knock”
What is your vision of development in the next five years? Do you plan to reform governance to ensure effective delivery of services and benefits to people?
Not just for five years. I announced the 10-year vision at Siruganur in Tiruchi before the assembly election. I asked people to give the next 10 years to the DMK to save the state that was lagging behind during the reign of the AIADMK. They gave us the first five years. In accordance with the seven promises made in Tiruchi, we focus on the economy, agriculture, water resources, education and health, urban development, rural infrastructure and social justice. The government works with the goal of inclusion on the basis of integrated and sustainable development. We have tweaked the administration so that the government can reach out to people. I have gained experience as a Member of Parliament, Mayor, Minister for Local Government and Industry and Deputy Chief Minister and I know people’s expectations and aspirations. The government has ensured fast and transparent services to people’s liking. The speed will continue steadily and cautiously for five years such that people will show up and give us another five years.
For the first time, an economic advisory council to the chief minister has been set up. How has this helped you shape economic policies?
Our goal is equitable economic development in line with social justice, which took root under the Justice Party government. This is what I call the Dravidian model. We have set up an Economic Advisory Council made up of internationally renowned economists, because it is necessary to bring about an economic development adapted to the current situation. We receive their advice for the sustainable development of Tamil Nadu. I seek their input through webinars whenever possible. We have divided our task into short-term and long-term, and travel with the aim of improving the economy by implementing them on time.
With the onset of the third wave of COVID-19, how do you plan to ensure the economy stays afloat and people’s livelihoods are not affected?
When we took office, the impact of the second wave was very severe. The steps to control it were launched immediately and even before the formation of the government. Oxygen production and medical facilities have increased. We have accelerated the integrated operation of the various departments. Vaccination was organized as a movement, which produced the expected results. The arrangements already in place come in handy to deal with the spread of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus now. Since the government is very particular that people’s livelihoods are not affected, we distributed ₹4,000 in the second wave despite the severe economic crisis. Now we are giving away the Pongal gift basket. On the day of the vaccine booster launch, I also opened the Indian Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Parks and Business Incubators Association conference. We have divided investments into small and large and are creating infrastructure accordingly.
Leading industrialists and global investors talk to us. They believe that Tamil Nadu has a favorable investment climate. This helps us take revenue-generating actions without affecting the economic infrastructure at the time of the pandemic. We will also continue to lobby the Union Government for Tamil Nadu’s share of the Goods and Services Tax.
Under current conditions, what will be the reasonable timeframe for the State to organize the next Global Investors Meet?
There is no need to hold an ostentatious investor conference for propaganda like the AIADMK government is doing. Investors expect infrastructure that inspires trust, transparent governance and rapid authorization, and we are delivering it now. When we announced the target of a trillion dollar savings for Tamil Nadu at the launch of the investors conference at Guindy, MoUs were signed for 49 projects worth 28,508 crore ₹ to create 83,482 jobs. At CODISSIA in Coimbatore, 59 MoUs were signed last month for projects worth ₹35,208 to generate 76,795 jobs. The foundations were laid for 13 projects on the same day. We have completed projects with investments amounting to ₹13,413 crore to generate 11,681 jobs. The 2021 FinTech Policy for industrial development has been published. We have made leaps and bounds with projects such as the establishment of a financial city in Chennai, Neo-TIDEL parks in second and third tier cities, and a fully digitized one-stop portal 2.0 to help investors.
There are complaints of anti-social elements causing trouble to industrial units in Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu districts…
The government is committed to maintaining public order without compromise and to ensuring the protection of individuals, organizations and industrial peace. Immediate action is taken on anti-social complaints in districts with more industry. Senior officials and police commissioners have already issued orders to keep industries safe by taking immediate action on complaints against anti-social elements. The government is committed not only to the protection of industries, but also to the relationship with workers and their protection. When Foxconn unit workers protested recently, the Collector, Superintendent of Police, Minister of Industries and Minister of Rural Industries came to the scene and allayed their fear. We also set up far-sighted programs for workers.
Some believe that protests against industries and projects – barrenness and hydrocarbon exploration, for example – can affect the industrial climate. Your comments…
It is government policy to promote industrial development without affecting the environment and with the full support of the people. People oppose industries causing damage to the environment since these industries also pose a danger to their health. As far as our government is concerned, we will not allow any project that mortgages people’s lives. At the same time, we will grant approval to industries that will contribute to the economic development of Tamil Nadu and generate employment. We will encourage investment and the well-being and protection of people without one affecting the other.
What is your message to investors?
The government’s industrial policy is such that doors will open to investors without knocking. This is my introductory message to investors.
Tamil Nadu has won laurels in medical and engineering education but lacks centers of excellence for humanities, arts and sciences. Is there a proposal to create such institutions?
Uniform education is the fundamental policy of the DMK. New courses will be launched in schools and higher education institutions to respond to the changing times. Computer education was introduced during KalaignarRule. Visual communication courses have been launched in colleges. Now there is an awareness of social sciences, arts and literature. Special attention is given to them as these courses are linked to the unique cultural identity of Tamil Nadu. Anna [former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai] said that Indian Union history should be written from Tamil Nadu and that is also the policy of DMK government. New discoveries from the excavations of Keezhadi and Adichanallur have awakened young people’s interest in art and literature. An education policy will be developed to encourage studies in epigraphy, archaeology, literature and anthropology. Decisions will be made in due course to launch universities and educational institutions for this purpose.