It may be recalled that TN had 98 MoUs in its kitty that were expected to bring investments to the tune of Rs 2.42 lakh cr. FDI between May 2011 and December 2016 stood at Rs 1.25 lakh crore.
The silver lining, perhaps, is the RBI record of cumulative FDI equity inflows (April 2000 to March 2016), pegging TN’s share at Rs 1,18,547 cr, ahead of Karnataka at Rs 1,08,912 crore and AP at Rs 59,556 crore.
Sankaran P Raghunathan, member, National Executive Committee, Indo American Chamber of Commerce, says, “I returned from the US to Chennai in 2000, at a time when I had other states asking me to invest in locations such as Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Unfortunately, real estate investments made for business have turned bad. In the last 15 years, all other cities seem to have overtaken Chennai.”
He also laments the poor infrastructure facilities in the metro. The 21-km IT corridor is still incomplete whereas two roads have already been built in Electronics City in Bengaluru.
Similarly, four ring roads apart from two elevated corridors have already come up in Andhra Pradesh. Instead of wooing global investors, the state should focus on domestic entrepreneurs.
It is not subsidies or sops that businesses seek. When it was pointed out that neighbouring states had separate policies for startups and research ecosystems of AI and IoT, Sankaran said, “We only urge our government to pay attention to the common infrastructural needs that can help diverse sectors thrive. Our demand is for a better quality of life, business and infrastructure.”
When probed about core sectors in the state losing their sheen, a senior bureaucrat, had a different take to these developments. The official attributed the “gloomy” scenario to be a perception-based phenomenon, and cited de-risking strategies, transportation efficiencies, proximity to customer hubs and prevailing market dynamics as among the key factors prompting companies to expand elsewhere.
Interestingly, the Centre had roped in states and industry bodies to improve the Ease of Business (EoB) scenario. They did so by setting up an eBiz portal, a front-end to act as the single point of entry and, the e-Biz shared services infrastructure such as payment gateways, business vault to store documents, SMS gateway, as enablers for development of application and provisioning of Govt to Biz (G2B) services. For the pilot phase, 50 (26 central and 24 state) services were identified for implementation through eBiz.
The project selected ten pilot states including Delhi, AP, Maharashtra and TN. Five years ago, the eBiz portal with License & Permit Information Wizard was launched on January 28, during a ‘Partnership Summit’ in Agra.
However, the state had slipped in its ranking on the EoB front in recent years. A senior industry association member, on condition of anonymity, said red tape and corruption were the main deterrents to good business in TN.
The vacuum in leadership and the absence of a clear policy to help new enterprises flourish, also contributed to this lull. “Unless, TN gets its act together, it will remain as a state resting on its laurels,” the official warned.
GIM 2015 LOCK-ON
- 98 MoUs signed for investment proposals worth Rs 2.42 lakh crore
- 61 projects with an investment of Rs 62,738 cr under various stages of implementation
- Employment generation for 76,777 people
- TN attracted Rs 1.25 lakh crore of FDI from May 2011- December 2016