Webinar: UK Cooperation with Tamil Nadu and thoughts on post-COVID recovery

By Kealan Finnegan

On 15th July, the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) hosted a webinar focused on the State of Tamil Nadu including: UK engagement in the State, an overview of its economic environment, and incentives from the Government of Tamil Nadu to attract investment.

UKIBC’s Kevin McCole was joined by Dr Neeraj Mittal, Managing Director and CEO of Guidance Tamil Nadu and Oliver Ballhatchet, Deputy High Commissioner, British Deputy High Commission Chennai. 

Kevin, in his opening remarks, said that businesses consistently tell the UKIBC that the three things which matter most when making investment decisions are: 1) size of the market; 2) investor friendly governmentand 3) the strength of the sectoral ecosystem – supply chains, R+D institutions, presence of future skills, and top quality professional and legal services. 

Dr Neeraj Mittal provided a fantastic overview of the State and the policies and incentives that businesses investing there can benefit from. 

Tamil Nadu is India’s second largest state economy (USD 250 billion) and received more than one quarter of UK investment (over USD 2.2 billion) into India. 

Tamil Nadu is ranked number one for good governance in India, for urbanisation, and has the most manufacturing factories. It also ranks highly for GDP and length of coastline with 5 major ports and 22 minor ports. In addition, it has 39 industrial clusters and specialised universities and R&D centres – with approximately 1 million college/university graduates each year, all fostering a conducive environment in the State. 

And this is all growing; between April, May and June, Tamil Nadu topped the number of MoUs signed in India (around 18,000 crores). 

UK companies employ 50,000 people in the state in areas such as healthcare, tech, textiles, and increasingly renewable energy. As one of the many UK success stories in the State, Deputy High Commissioner Oliver Ballhatchet shared the example of Equiniti which set up in Tamil Nadu in 2014 with 100 employees, and now has more than 1200 employees. 

The State has strengths in a number of key sectors: 

  • Automobile and auto-component: Tamil Nadu has 35% of India’s auto component production and 45% of India’s motor vehicles exports. Multiple R&D centres and strong backward linkages with metal industries, warehousing, logistics, capital equipment and service parts. 
  • Electronics and Hardware: The State ranks 2nd in India in computer, electronics and optical products manufacturing, and 3rd in terms of electronic exports. 
  • General manufacturing: It has the largest number of factories in India (over 37,000), employing around 250,000 people. 
  • Chemicals and petrochemicals: Ranks 3rd in India. State Government taking steps to also add further capacity in pharma. 
  • Textiles and Garmenting: Largest hub in India, contributing to 20% of India’s exports of readymade garments. Around 50% of textile mills in India and garmenting units. Employs around 35% of the workforce in the State. 
  • Renewable energy and electric vehicles manufacturing: Tamil Nadu is among 9 global renewable energy destinations, poised to be the hub for the renewable energy manufacturing sector in India. Over 14GW renewable energy installed, provided by wind and solar, and the State exports more than 1000 wind blades to the US. 

Guidance, Tamil Nadu also offers policy and regulatory support for businesses setting up in the State. Support for businesses includes: a gain from capital subsidies, stamp duty and electricity tax exemptions; land allotment concessions; and further incentives such as payroll and training subsidies.  

The State Government is proactive – the first in India to come up with government initiatives in response to COVID-19 to support business. To combat the economic slowdown that COVID-19 has brought, the state has enacted multiple schemes, committees, and simplified procedures to help businesses, including a COVID Relief and Upliftment Scheme (CORUS) Scheme for MSME by TIIC; High-level committee to examine COVID – 19 fiscal challenges; and subsidies. 

Guidance serves as a single point of contact for investors and Dr Neeraj welcomes any companies interested in entering the state to get in touch. In addition, BDHC Chennai is on hand to support UK businesses interested in the state. The UKIBC is happy to facilitate such interactions. 

If you were unable to join our webinar on the day, or would like to through the webcast again, please see the recording below. 

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