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 Tamil Nadu
- Special Address at Tamilnet'99 Conference, in Real Audio]
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 Technology Industries.
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;
PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, etc.
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
Realising the importance of Information Technology as a key to rapid
industrialisation of the State, Tamil Nadu government has recently introduced an
industry-friendly Information Technology policy.
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,
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
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 Chennai.
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.
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.
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 century.
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.