Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state in India, is well-known for its balanced spread of industrialisation and high level of human development. Its recent digital initiatives of governance have accelerated efforts of effective governance, coupled with an increase in the ease-of-doing-business. Chennai, as a city, has recently seen an IT boom much like Bengaluru in the 2000s, with MNCs being attracted to set up within the city limits to explore its tech talent, while cities like Coimbatore too are picking up due to the governance reforms.
The state was recently in the news as North Korean hackers broke into the database and stole Nuclear technology-related data from the Kudankulam Power Plant, public sector undertaking under the Department of Atomic Energy. Additionally, the media reporting about the state has focussed on its political back and forth rather than the work that Tamil Nadu has done to maintain its high Human Development Index (HDI) indicators and at the same time, attract industry and investment for overall development.
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In terms of its overall ranking, Tamil Nadu has a high standing amongst other Indian states, holding fifth in 2019, although it dropped down to 17th in 2018 from its sixth rank in 2017. In terms of Municipal Governance, it ranks fourth, and in terms of District Administration, it ranks sixth.
The state government has been actively seeking foreign investments by hosting the annual Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet (TNGIM). In the 2019 version alone, the state managed to pull in $43 billion in investments through 304 MoUs.
Talking about his vision for the state, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami reiterated the importance of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's Vision 2023 statement:
"My vision is that every household, every village, every industry or commercial establishment in Tamil Nadu should get uninterrupted power with stable quality. Attaining one among the top three positions in Asia would be tantamount to benchmarking Tamil Nadu with countries such as South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia.”
Adding to this, he said: “If you want a winning horse, invest in Tamil Nadu. The state is unique in being both business-friendly and welfare-oriented.”
In order to detect and keep crime under curbs, Chennai City Police has installed over two lakh CCTV cameras across the city. As a result, the crime rate has fallen by more than 40 per cent including a similar or more reduction in crime against women. A sense of safety and security among the public has been seen as a result.
In view of this vision, the projects that are being undertaken by the state government are as follows:
Tamil Nadu achieved the status of 100 per cent ODF (Open Defecation Free) as of 2019. Accordingly, the state has built 53,46,613 toilets since the announcement of the SBM (Swachh Bharat Mission) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2 October 2014. 7,534 toilets have been built during the year 2019-20.
In Thoothukudi (also known as Tuticorin) district, where the total population is 17.50 lakh and literacy rate is 86.16 per cent, 146 out of the 403 Gram Panchayats and the whole Tiruchendur block were declared ODF in 2015. This is the highest number in all the districts of South India. In the subsequent years, 127 Village Panchayats and three blocks were added in 2016-17, and 130 Panchayats were added in 2017-18. The entire district of Thoothukudi was therefore declared ODF on 2 October 2017, two years before the whole state met the same status.
Digital Database & Kaushal Panjee
In order to consolidate the efforts by various departments to identify the right beneficiaries for any scheme being implemented in the state, the ‘Digital Database’ concept has been launched by the Tamil Nadu State Rural Livelihood Mission. As a result, said Hans Raj Verma, Additional Chief Secretary, TNSRLM, the information of the population of the state across its 12,524 Panchayats has been covered. Auto-update feature helps ensure to add or delete beneficiaries of the age group 18-35 for the DDU-GKY training.
Post-Tsunami Sustainable Livelihood
Coastal folk who lost their families in the Tsunami were given fresh hope by the IFAD assisted PTSLP. Loans with easy and affordable payment terms, provided through Panchayat Level Federations, mainly to women, helping women empowerment. The job seekers were thus turned to job providers, said Meenakshi Rajagopal, Additional Chief Secretary, RD & PR, adding that 5,304 SHGs (Self Help Groups) were provided with Rs 369.26 crore 3,658 JLGs (Joint Liability Groups) were provided with Rs 79.15 crore.
The Coimbatore Corporation tied with private company Suez India Pvt Ltd, will be providing clean water through connections to individual houses within its jurisdiction that will be metered and available 24*7. The project is estimated for a 21-year maintenance period, where the cost of manpower involved would be Rs 4,000 crore. However, the corporation will only be paying Rs 2,300 crore to the private sector partner during that period.
The pilot phase of this project is to be executed in R S Puram in 2019 where 58 km of pipelines will have to be laid out to connect the 6,600 households in the area. The region is being categorised into two DMAs (district metered areas) – north and south zones.
Fish vendors play an important role in the value chain of fish from the fishermen to the consumers. The self-employed individuals are often illiterate, semi-literate, very poor, and as a result, are at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. In order to meet the working capital requirements of their work, they undertake loans from village level informal money lenders at high rates of interest (up to 120 per cent) and these credits are usually subject to unfavourable terms of trade. Due to this, the PTSLP has set up JLGs (Joint Liability Groups) who meet the requirements of these working capitals, providing a credit of Rs 15,000 to each member of these JLGs, which are repayable over 24 months at interest rates of 12-15 per cent. This has resulted in vendors being able to buy fish in cash, and as a result, can bargain and bring down prices for fish by about 10 per cent.
In order to detect and keep crime under curbs, the Chennai City Police has installed over two lakh CCTV cameras across the city. The project, Third Eye, implementation will be extended over time and will be supported by crowd-funding and sponsorship. According to Prem Anand Sinha, State Additional Commissioner of Police, the crime rate has fallen by more than 40 per cent in the vast extents of the city, including a 40 per cent or more reduction in crime against women – especially chain-snatching.
The Greater Chennai Traffic Police is now issuing e-challans, wherein the violators can make the spot payment through different digital methods ensuring transparency in traffic enforcement. As part of this project, 300 e-challan machines were introduced in 2011 and 100 e-challan machines, in 2016. This e-challan platform is integrated with Vahan and Sarathi.
MSME – Single Window Portal
The MSME (Micro Small & Medium Enterprises) Department, renamed from the Small Industries Department in 2008, launched the Single Window Portal on 4 May 2018 to create an investor-friendly climate and improve the ease of doing business in the state. The key interventions provided by this portal are to deliver requisite services to investors in a time-bound and transparent manner during all stages of business such as pre-establishment, pre-operation and renewal, said Rajendra Kumar, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, MSME.
Tirunelveli district as a whole has been covered by this project, which seeks to uplift poor people in rural areas by improving their livelihoods. The purpose is to find low-cost alternatives to plastic, as a result products based on locally available resources such as Palm leaf, Terracotta, Banana and Aloe Vera were identified. This project is being implemented with the aid of SHGs under the TNSRLM.
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