In an interview given to Kolahalas TV, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president K Annamalai had come down heavily on the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government.
He had touched upon multiple issues like institutionalization of corruption, the Rafale watch, the Dravidian model and the political alliances in the state.
While in a previous article regarding the interview, the focus was on what Annamalai said regarding corruption by the DMK, this article would focus on his critique of the Dravidian economic model.
Other States Are Getting Close To Tamil Nadu’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) Figures
Regarding the GSDP of Tamil Nadu, Annamalai said that while the DMK government may be taking pride in the fact that Tamil Nadu is second in the country, what they are not seeing is that other states like Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh are catching up very fast.
He then laid out some data to back his arguments:
Karnataka received five times more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) than Tamil Nadu in 2021.
The number of startups registered in Uttar Pradesh in 2021, was more than that of Tamil Nadu.
Today, Uttar Pradesh has more than 10 airports, of which five are international airports (including the upcoming Jewar airport), whereas Tamil Nadu has five-six airports of which Salem still doesn’t have flights operating and Coimbatore has still not taken off as an effective alternative international airport.
No Big Ticket Investments in the State After DMK Came To Power
Regarding big ticket investments in the state, Annamalai said “I want to know from the DMK which big industry has come to the state after the party came to power. While Gujarat was bringing in a trillion rupees in investment through the semiconductor industry, Tamil Nadu has nothing to show.
“Can DMK show any billion-dollar company that it has brought to the state. Sridhar Vembu of Zoho came to Tenkasi due to the love for his land and his vision of taking high paying jobs to rural areas, not because of any encouragement provided by the DMK.
“Similarly, if Apple iPhones are being manufactured in the state, it is due to the Modi government’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme and not due to the state government.”
Stalin’s Dubai Visit
Commenting on the Chief Minister’s much publicized visit to Dubai in 2021, he said “While there was a lot of brouhaha about attracting investments, nothing seems to have materialized on the ground. The biggest investor was Lulu group which is going to open a couple of malls in the state. How many jobs would be created by Lulu malls? A very small number, that too mostly low paying.
“Most of the educated youth are going to Bangalore and Hyderabad for IT jobs. Why not Chennai?
Corruption Hindering Entrepreneurship
“People are not willing to set up companies in the state because of the huge commissions that need to be paid at every stage to multiple intermediaries.
“Government wants to acquire agricultural land for an industrial park at Annur but doesn’t want to admit to the fact that no industry has come at the Nanguneri industrial park for which land was already acquired long ago.
Regional Imbalance In Development
“While Kongu Nadu (a region in the western part of the state) is firing, i.e., progressing quite well, there is a huge lack of jobs in other parts of Tamil Nadu like the south and the east. Even Kongu Nadu needs government support to go to the next level.
“The highest number of people in the Gulf are from Kerala and the deprived parts of Tamil Nadu. Why is there no manufacturing industry in Sivaganga or Ariyalur or Pudukkottai? It is because of the failure of the DMK, that a person from Sivaganga has to go to Kuwait and work at an oil rig in 50-degree Celsius temperature.”
This argument by Annamalai is supported by data from a report on regional growth pattern in Tamil Nadu prepared by the State Planning Commission.
Following is a picture of the districts of the state, classified by their Gross District Domestic Product (GDDP). The picture has been taken from the report.
Following is a table showing the the GDDP by district sorted in descending order as per the figures of the period 2017-2018 to 2019-2020-
Then there is the following statement from the report given by the authors themselves-
“The last column in Table 1 gives the change in percentage points in the relative share of each district between 1993-97 and 2017-20. We find only seven out 29 districts have more than one percentage point difference in the relative share of their GDDPs over the 27 years. That is, over 27 years, the relative shares of most of the districts have almost remained same or the change has been less than one percentage point. Thus it appears, the regional structure of Tamil Nadu economy in terms of relative size of district economies has not changed a little for nearly three decades.”
Bringing People Out of Poverty
Dismissing the DMK’s claims that their development model had brought people out of poverty, he said, “While the DMK might claim that it was their Dravidian model that brought out people of the state from poverty by providing them education, teaching them how to use a toothbrush etc. it is important for them to know that Tamil Nadu was prosperous in the ancient past. Look at the times of Raja Raja Chola. Look at the wealth of the temples of Tamil Nadu.
“Also if their model was so successful, why do we have two districts- Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram lagging behind in development indicators, that the NITI Aayog had to classify them as aspirational districts?”
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