How Jayalalithaa turned Tamil Nadu into one of the country’s largest economies | india-news | Hindustan Times
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How Jayalalithaa turned Tamil Nadu into one of the country’s largest economies

Even in keeping her focus firmly on what she called welfare of the people, the filmstar-turned-politician’s business sense was arguably unmatched.

Jaya unwell Updated: Dec 06, 2016 17:31 IST
J Jayalalithaa took political freebies to extreme levels, doling out sops to people.
J Jayalalithaa took political freebies to extreme levels, doling out sops to people.(PTI file photo)

J Jayalalithaa took political freebies to extreme levels, doling out sops to people. But even in keeping her focus firmly on what she called welfare of the people, the filmstar-turned-politician’s business sense was arguably unmatched.

Despite 37% of the state’s budget going to subsidies, Tamil Nadu is still among the country’s five largest economies, with Jayalalithaa turning the state into an attractive destination for foreign investment.

Successive budgets gave industry-friendly policies and this ensured that the state was always in the forefront of huge investments in the manufacturing sector – from mobile handsets to automobile factories, a testimony to her efforts to make Tami Nadu the Detroit of India, said South India Chamber of Commerce and Industry president-elect Ganapathi Ramachandran.

Read: Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa dies at 68, to be buried at MGR’s memorial site

“She was a responsive chief minister, proactive thinker on industrialisation, and basically understood what kind of industries would generate jobs in Tamil Nadu,” said P Ravichandran, vice-chairman of industry body CII’s state unit.

In the early 90s, she was championing windmill energy and now it is solar energy – the world’s largest solar power plant is located in Tamil Nadu which she inaugurated a few months ago.

Jayalalithaa made the best use of the liberalisation policy of PV Narasimha Rao by luring auto majors including global giants like Daimler, Ford, Hyundai, BMW, Renault, Nissan According to industry sources, Chennai has a capacity to produce 13,80,000 cars and 3,61,000 commercial vehicles per year.

Official data show FDI inflow of $ 7.3 billion during April 2000 to March 2011, the last five years under a DMK government. And from April 2011 to December 2015, FDI shot up to $ 13.94 billion. Last year, in nine months, from April to December, FDI touched $ 4.3 billion.

“She promoted industry and commerce in order to generate employment and for economic progress and prosperity of the state,” said Venu Srinivasan, chairman of TVS Motor Company.

IT body NASSCOM’s regional director, K Purushothaman said Jayalalithaa contributed immensely to growth of business. In this sector alone, Tamil Nadu is home to some 600 companies which collectively employ close to 4 lakh people.

“She was a keen listener, with clarity and empathy…Over the years, Tamil Nadu remains one of the states where industry has flourished,” said KM Mammen, chairman and managing director, MRF Limited.