The Southern India Chamber of Commerce (SICCI) welcomes the Tamil Nadu State Budget which is balanced and industry focused. The Chamber welcomes the Budget proposals that pave the way for infrastructure growth, scaling up of investments, green energy generation, holistic technology development and the skilling of our youth. It is also appreciable that the state’s fiscal deficit has been marginally reduced from 3.45% to 3.44% in spite of the natural disasters and other challenges encountered by the state.

The construction of 14 Bypasses and High-Level Flyovers with a project budget of Rs. 665 crores, acquiring of 3000 additional buses, alongside an expansion of the existing minibus scheme, commitment to constructing 100,000 concrete houses in the fiscal year 2024-2025 are all good initiatives that would serve to accelerate the infrastructure sector in the state. However the proposal to introduce 2,000 electric buses announced last year still has not been implemented. Therefore the SICCI recommends that atleast 50% of the new purchases be electric and actively consider retro fitting current buses. This will result in more awareness among the public in adapting to the new EV ecosystem.

The significant upgrade of the Milk Producers Unions with an investment of 160 crores in state-of-the-art technologies and automated machinery is a welcome measure that is much needed and will strategically position Aavin in the midst of competition from other states.

The fund of Rs 500 crore for the Textile Technology Development Programme and the allocation of 120 crore for the establishment of small textile parks in the districts of Karur, Erode, and Virudhunagar will catalyze the textile industry. However technical textiles needs to be the focus in the above measures to make sure that the industry moves in sync with the global demands.

SICCI welcomes the move of the Government to introduce wage subsidy for start-ups hiring over 500 women, differently-abled individuals, and members of the third gender. The Chamber calls for this subsidy to also be extended to the employment of the refugees which will result in the Tamils from Sri Lanka to find meaningful pathways to careers. The move to develop an Aerospace and Propulsion Park spanning 2,000 acres in Tuticorin will be a game changer and will pave the way for holistic economic development in the region. However this needs to be effectively marketed to invite industry from across the world to ensure the success of the park. The earmarking of Rs. 333 crore for the enhancement of medical infrastructure across various healthcare facilities, the commitments to education through the flagship schemes like ‘IHam Thedi Kalvi,’ ‘Naan Mudhalvan, loan waivers and the development of 15,000 state of the art classrooms are all much needed measures focusing on the health and education of the common man.

The development of the TN AI Mission under the CM is an ambitious initiative which needs a multi sectoral approach and people centric thinking. Tamil Nadu which was the first state in India to announce the AI Policy, has not been able to leverage on the head start. The move to set up a cutting-edge film city in Poonamallee with an investment of Rs. 500 crore is a timely announcement. The proposed film city needs to be a one-stop-shop for all film requirements. The Government also needs to address this in the AVGC policy that is being drafted. The Chamber welcomes the announcement of the new Tidel Parks in Madurai & Trichy along with the SIPCOT parks in Tanjore, Dindigul, Sivagangai & Tiruvarur and Neo Tidel Parks in Tanjore, Salem, Tiruppur, Vellore & Tuticorin. While such parks are crucial in creating jobs and for economic prosperity, the social infrastructure also needs to be considered and provided. This focus would ensure that Tamil Nadu remains industrially competitive and ranks high in all development parameters.

On the whole, this budget is growth oriented and inclusive, offering relief for both the industry and the common man.