The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jaya woos industry

Chennai, July 1: Jayalalithaa today appeared a reformist chief minister in a hurry as she told a clutch of industry captains that Tamil Nadu was the best state to invest in.

“I am in a hurry. Tamil Nadu already leads in attracting investment in the manufacturing sector and my goal is to ensure these are firmly installed on the ground and made operational in quick time,” she declared at a national meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry this afternoon.

“It is to create this favourable environment that we have launched our second generation reforms, which are progressing well. It will not be unreasonable for me to expect you to respond with your specific investment plans,” she raced on, impressing the fairly large audience with her faultless diction and clear articulation.

Jayalalithaa also announced the setting up of a chief minister’s industrial council in response to an earlier request by Ficci president A.C. Muthiah. This will be a top-level advisory body under her chairmanship to facilitate continuous dialogue between industry and the government.

She said Tamil Nadu’s new industrial policy would be finalised shortly and announced later this month. All members and top industrialists gave her a standing ovation for her regime’s liberal measures and “bold foray” into second generation reforms.

Jayalalithaa stressed that had it not been for her “far-reaching and radical set of reforms”, Tamil Nadu would not have got a “meaningful tenth plan outlay” of Rs 40,000 crore and an annual plan outlay of Rs 7,000 crore this year from the Planning Commission.

“You will all welcome the focus in the current year’s plan on infrastructure to facilitate new investment in the state,” she said. She also reiterated her commitment to revive the agriculture sector.

Moving on to the manufacturing sector, she said: “It is not for nothing that I say the feel-good factor has returned.” She then quoted figures provided by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, saying committed investments in the manufacturing sector had shot up from Rs 37,306 crore in April 2001 to Rs 54,599 crore in April 2003.

“In absolute terms also, this is the highest for any Indian state,” she declared.

She also announced a string of initiatives, including an IT park, upgradation of road infrastructure, an IT expressway connecting IT majors and parks in the vicinity of Chennai, and a fast track committee to identify space for an “IT Bay Area” comparable to the one in California. A Rs 18,000-crore comprehensive 10-year infrastructure development plan for Chennai was put in place.

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