16 MoUs signed during Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s U.S. visit: State government

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‘₹2,780 cr. in investments will generate thousands of jobs’

The Tamil Nadu government is, as per the officials, anticipating changes in industry (such as the auto industry, with the Centre pushing for electric vehicles by 2030) and wants to position itself well with regard to these.

Mr. Palaniswami was accompanied by a delegation that included the Ministers of Industries M.C. Sampath, Milk and Dairy Development Rajenthra Bhalaji, Revenue, Disaster Management and IT R.B. Udhayakumar, Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam, various government secretaries including CM’s secretary S. Vijayakumar and Industries secretary N. Muruganandam. India’s Consul General in New York Sandeep Chakravorty was also present and among those who addressed Thursday’s gathering.

During the afternoon’s investors meet, Mr. Palamiswami spoke about former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s vision for developing Tamil Nadu as the numero uno State in India and his government’s progress in achieving that vision.

There were a few recurring themes through the event: Tamil Nadu was India’s second largest State economy, performing higher than the national average on various economic and developmental fronts, with a highly educated population and skilled labour force. “The best testimony for the State’s vibrant investment climate is the resounding success of the Global Investors Meet (GIM) 2019,” he said, adding that Tamil Nadu had attracted nearly $43 billion in investments through 304 MoUs.

Mr. Palamiswami had faced some criticism from the DMK on the outcomes of GIM events in the past and the benefit to the State from his current foreign trip.

“In the defence industry corridor coming up in Tamil Nadu, my government is taking various initiatives to promote aerospace and defence manufacturing industries,” Mr. Palamiswami said, adding that more than 8,000 acres of land were readily available at various industrial parks throughout the State.

“My dear friends I assure you my State will always stand by you and provide you the best possible investment experience,” he said. Officials at the top level, including the Chief Minister, were present to demonstrate the commitment of the Tamil Nadu government to attract investment to the State, Mr. Shanmugam said.

“If you want to bet on a winning horse, invest in Tamil Nadu,” he said, adding, “Tamil Nadu is unique in being both business-friendly and welfare-oriented.” This had made the State both a manufacturing hub and a high consumption economy.

Profiting from tension

Approximately 200 U.S companies, with some $21 billion in investment plans, were looking at India as an investment destination due to the tariff wars between China and the U.S., Mukesh Aghi, President and CEO of USISPF told the gathering.

The responsibility of capitalising on this opportunity was split between the Tamil Nadu and Central governments, as per Frank Wisner, a former U.S. Ambassador to India. “It strikes me that the Centre carries a major set of responsibilities to produce laws that make for easy employment of labor, the acquisition of land, the reliability of tax systems and responsible fiscally minded government operations as well as establishing a firm financial sector able to fuel investment,” Mr. Wisner said.

The State, according to Mr. Wisner, will need to step in next with a heavy responsibility – helping to find land, facilitating clearances, “running interference with Delhi”, providing educational and health structure for managerial talent and for work forces.

The Chief Minister and his team will fly to San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and then Dubai. He will meet with potential investors and the Tamil diaspora in these cities and visit the Tesla electric vehicle factory in Fremont, California, as per his schedule.

On Tuesday night, the delegation met with the Tamil diaspora in New York City, part of the Yaadum Oorae [everywhere is home] theme of the trip. Mr. Palaniswami launched a website for attracting more investment to the State from the Tamil population abroad. “Through the portal, investors can offer their investment suggestions, which will reach the State government directly. You can make use of the single window system,” he said.

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