If not Tamil Nadu, where else?
S Krishnan, IAS, Principal Secretary (Planning and Development), Government of Tamil Nadu
I came across the most passionate and zealous advocate of Tamil Nadu in S Krishnan, Principal Secretary, Planning & Development. He is so full of facts on the strengths of the state, articulate and has a yen for details. Krishnan has been quick to study, analyse and present the impact of Central policies on the state. Krishnan explained in detail the need for the Centre to compensate fully the hefty loss that will be suffered by Tamil Nadu in switching to the GST mode. Equally logical was his analysis of the impact of the recommendations of the fourteenth finance commission.
Balance between social welfare and industry-friendly...
Krishnan provided impressive data on the several facets of TN’s economy. “In long term achievement, in the last 25 years, Tamil Nadu has benefitted most from reforms. Per capita income has registered handsome increase: from being below the national average per capita income in 1991 to 150 per cent more than the national average in 2015. We have overtaken Punjab and Gujarat and are only behind Haryana and Maharashtra,” he said.
Tamil Nadu has the most diversified industrial base spread across the state. “Tamil Nadu’s is the most consistent growth story over the last 25 years. The political contest here is how many industries have been opened and this competition is conducive for industry,” said Krishnan.
Tamil Nadu ranks third in terms of cumulative FDI inflows into the country. 16 per cent of India’s industrial workforce is in Tamil Nadu and the state contributes 11 per cent to India’s industrial output. In a recent survey, on several social welfare measures, Chennai ranked the most cost-efficient metro to live with others costing twice over Chennai. “When the World Bank President met the Chief Minister he asked her as to how Tamil Nadu balances being both welfare-oriented and industry-friendly. The CM replied that we are successful in attracting industry simply because we spend on social welfare,” said Krishnan.
TIIC - the pioneer...
Tamil Nadu has been a pioneer in offering development finance. The Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation (TIIC), set up as early as 1949, was the fore-runner for state financial corporations. TIIC liberally participated even in the equity of private enterprises. In quick time the state expanded massively through several development and promotional corporations like TIDCO, SIPCOT, SIDCO, Tamil Nadu Industrial Guidance & Export Promotion Bureau... This was greatly helpful in setting up a large number of production units in textile, sugar, cement, paper, aluminium and even shipping sectors.
Liberal assistance to fund infrastructure...
Krishnan pointed to further expansion of such assistance: TN has set up three sector-specific NBFCs to mobilise public deposits to meet the infrastructure finance needs of projects in power, water supply and urban areas. Tamil Nadu was a pioneer in establishing the TN Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Ltd. As yet another land mark, TN has created the Tamil Nadu Infrastructure Fund Management Company (TNIFMC) which will organise funding infrastructure projects through banks, insurance companies, private equities and HNIs.”
The Tamil Nadu Vision 2023 envisages investments to the tune of Rs 1,500,000 crore in infrastructure projects. The authorised capital for TNIFMC is Rs 100 crore and TN government will offer Rs 60 crore as paid up capital which will later be broken into equity capital and preference share capital. The TNIFMC will establish and manage the new infrastructure finance vehicles including an Infrastructure Debt Fund, Alternative Investment Fund Category 1 and Infrastructure Investment Trust.
The Madurai-Tuticorin industrial corridor- life line of southern TN
Krishnan lays much in store for the Madurai-Tuticorin industrial corridor project included in the list of high priority projects through faster clearances, closer monitoring, project financing assistance,... to achieve fast track implementation. This will cover nine southern districts and is envisioned to attract Rs 190,000 crore of investment over a 10 year period. The districts vary from well-developed to under-developed. The missing link of infrastructure will be addressed by this industrial corridor which will include manufacturing and business investment regions and an agri-business investment region based on the demographics. These will be in line with the National Investment and Manufacturing Zone and the Regional Integrated Manufacturing Zone policies of the Government of India. The Vision 2023 document details this corridor and Rs 39,454 crore has been allotted directly. Apart from this, Rs 144,365 crore has been allocated to various trunk infrastructure projects that have direct or indirect connect to the industrial corridor.
One shouldn’t be surprised over the range and depth of Krishnan’s expertise. After initial stint with the Finance Department in the state, he was Private Secretary to the Finance Minister during 2004-07 when every aspect of finance policy passed through him. He subsequently had a three year stint at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that further expanded his horizons on international finance.
Krishnan was part of the team of officials who presented the case for investing in Tamil Nadu in several countries and within India. Can the state have a better representative?