TAMILS & THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Kalaingnar M.Karunanithi
on Inaugration of Tidel Park for IT industries in Chennai
[Hear also Kalaingnar M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of
- Special Address at Tamilnet'99 Conference, in Real Audio]
We are in the dawn of the Information age.
Information technology is poised to become the technology of the future. The development
of information Super Highway's based optical fibres, VSAT Networks, cable TV Networks, the
integrated voice, data and video links has made the world a global electronics is expected
to reach about US $1300 billion by the year 2000. With the value addition growing at 6%
annually, the Indian Electronic Industry is expected to reach a production level of US $
20 billion by the year 2000.
In recent years, Tamilnadu has emerged as
a major recipient of investment and become one of the most favoured investment
destinations particularly for Foreign Direct Investment. Several multinationals such as
Ford motors of USA, Hyundai of Korea, Mitsubishi of Japan and Saint Godain of France are
setting up their base in Tamilnadu. This is because of the state Government's
investor-friendly industrial policies which have been able to provide a healthy and
productive environment for foreign investments. Tamilnadu's other advantages such as good
infrastructure facilities, excellent corporate culture, highly skilled affordable manpower
and cordial industrial relations make it an important destination for Information
Out of the 23,000 engineers who
graduate every year from Tamilnadu, 13,000 are from information technology-related
disciplines, coming from institutions of excellence such as Indian Institute. of Technology, Chennai;
Anna University; PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore,
Software exports from Tamilnadu have increased from a mere Rs. 36 crore
in 1994-95 to a phenomenal Rs. 400 crore in 1997-98 and continues to grow at a CAGR of
over 70%. The hardware exports in the year 1997-98 are in excess of Rs. 700 crore. With
over 15,000 professionals presently working in Tamilnadu, we have one of the largest pools
of software professionals in the country.
Realising the importance of Information Technology as a key to rapid industrialisation of
the State, Tamil Nadu government has recently introduced an innovative and industry-friendly Information Technology
Infrastructure Development has always been on top of our agenda in
Tamilnadu and the new Information Technology policy addresses this concern by encouraging
the setting up of state-of-the art hi-tech parks. These parks will be equipped with full
fledged facilities with adequate provision for software developments well as space for
non-polluting hardware units, commercial and residential areas, schools, convention and
business centers as well as the connectivity required for global communications. To this
end, ELCOT and TIDCO have floated a new company called
Tidel Park Limited to develop 1.00 million sq.ft. of space for IT industries in the heart
of Chennai at Taramani at a cost of Rs. 280 crores.
Taking note of the need for skilled manpower for IT, Tamil Nadu government has taken a major initiative in setting up the Tamilnadu Institute of Information
Technology [TANITEC] as an Institute of Excellence for producing high quality
manpower. TANITEC has been set up as a company to facilitate participation of private IT
companies in its management. We are very keen that major IT players participate in this
innovative Institution so that Tamilnadu can be in the forefront in developing the skills
required for this important sector.
VSNL is in an advanced stage of implementing augmentation facilities
from Chennai. For this purpose, they are installing another Standard-A earth station at
Ambattur. Also under installation is a Standard-B antenna which will provide both data and
video uplinking facilities. These facilities costing about Rs. 60 crore are to become
operational by early next year. DoE has also come forward to set up an earth station in
I am sure that these initiatives would go a long way in strengthening
our telecommunication infrastructure so essential for this industry. We are indeed very
happy that the National Task Force of
the Information Technology has selected Chennai as one of the 5 centres for setting up
of a hi-tech habitat in rural hinterlands with modern telecom and communication
infrastructure for a flourishing IT manufacturing base in the country.
Another major initiative taken by
us is the setting up of TamilNadu Venture Capital Fund to provide Venture Capital Support
to fledgling software companies which would give a special impetus to the growth
industries in Tamilnadu. We hope that this Venture Capital fund is utilised by IT players
planning to set up their operations in Tamil Nadu.
Tamilnadu is as of now the third most
industrialised state in India. Not content with this, we have initiated a series of
policy measures aimed at enhancing our competitive edge through requisite interventions.
We are revamping our industrial policy with the sole objective of moving up further and
reaching the top slot as expeditiously as possible.
At the same time, in conscious recognition of the critical role that
the sunrise sectors, viz., biotechnology and information technology are going to play in
the coming decades, we are providing a facilitating environment to orderly and speedy
growth of these two domains which will help us claim our rightful place into the 21st
The growth of these sectors will usher in an era of prosperity for the
whole state of Tamilnadu apart from benefiting the investors in industry in Tamilnadu.