This article provides an overview of Tamil Nadu for those keen on exploring the possibility of living and working there. The information presented is gathered from open sources and is not exhaustive or meant to supplement or substitute legal and professional advice.
- State capital: Chennai
- Land area: 130,058 sq km
- Population (2011 census): 72,147,030
- Head of government: Edappadi K. Palaniswami (Chief Minister)
- State languages: Tamil & English
- GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product): US$ 207.79 billion (2016–17)
- Major cities: Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Salem & Tirunelveli. (According to population)
Tamil Nadu, or land of the Tamils, is the fourth largest state of India and is located in the extreme south of the Indian subcontinent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the east and south, and by the states of Kerala to the west, Karnataka to the northwest, and Andhra Pradesh to the north. Along the north-central coast of Tamil Nadu are enclaves of Puducherry and Karaikal, both of which form part of the Puducherry union territory. Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is the capital city, located on the northeastern coast of the state. Tamil Nadu represents the Tamil-speaking area of what was formerly the Madras Presidency of British India.
According to Indian census data (2011), Tamil Nadu has a population of 72,147,030, an increase of 15.61 percent from 62,405,679 that was reported in the 2001 census. Tamil Nadu constituted 5.96 percent of India’s population in 2011. The average literacy rate of Tamil Nadu is 80.09 percent.
The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Tamil Nadu grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.87 percent between 2011–12 and 2016–17, reaching US$207.79 billion in 2016–17. In line with the plan for infrastructure development, Vision 2023, Tamil Nadu aims to increase investment in infrastructure to 11.5 percent of the GSDP by 2019. According to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, cumulative foreign direct investment in Tamil Nadu during April 2000 to December 2017 was US$26.52 billion.
Some key facets and goals of Tamil Nadu’s Vision 2023 include enhanced economic dynamism; best in class human development indicators; a well-developed infrastructure that provides universal access to basic services; an investment climate that compares with the best in Asia; and its evolution into India’s foremost knowledge and innovation hub.
Tamil Nadu has a diversified manufacturing sector and leads in several industries such as automobiles and auto components, engineering, pharmaceuticals, garments, textile products, leather products, chemicals and plastics. Due to its achievements as an auto production hub, Chennai has been dubbed as the “Detroit of India”, referencing Detroit in Michigan, U.S., known as the centre of the U.S. automobile industry. Tamil Nadu has a 21.2 percent share in overall automobile exports from India. It also accounted for a 15.8 percent share in domestic production and a 14.9 percent share in domestic sales of the automobile sector in the country.
Major textile centres in Tamil Nadu are located in Tirupur and Coimbatore, known respectively as the “Knitting City” and the “Manchester of South India”. Tamil Nadu accounted for a share of about 34.4 percent of India’s overall spun yarn production in 2015-16.
In March 2018, the government of Tamil Nadu announced plans to invest US$607 million to develop the heavy engineering sector of the state over the next two years. As of December 2017, Tamil Nadu had 37 operational special economic zones for IT and IT enabled services (IteS). Tamil Nadu has about 350,000 people directly employed in IT and ITeS companies, and 750,000 through indirect employment.
Tamil Nadu, with its strong industrial base, is presently ranked third in the list of Indian states attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). Tamil Nadu has implemented several financial incentives, including capital subsidies, power tariff concessions and sales tax waiver schemes, making it very attractive for FDI. The top five countries investing in Tamil Nadu are Mauritius, Singapore, Japan, USA and Netherlands.
Tamil Nadu is a state with diverse tourist attractions and a thriving tourism industry. Visitors are attracted to its mountains and vegetation, beaches, wildlife, monuments and temples, as well as rustic rural life. Popular hill resorts include Ooty, Kodaikanal, Yercaud, Elagiri, Javvadhu Hills, Kolli Hills, Sirumalai Hills, Valparai, Topslip, Parvathamalai Hills and Pachamalai Hills. Famous waterfalls include the cascades in Courtallam, Hogenakkal, Thiruparappu, Monkey Falls, Thirumurthi Hills, Agaya Gangai and Papanasam Falls.
Tamil Nadu has excellent national parks such as the Guindy National Park and Anamalai National Park, and wildlife sanctuaries in Mudumalai, Kodiakarai, Kalakkad Mundanthurai, and Berijam. The vast coastline of Tamil Nadu has many silvery beaches like the Marina, Elliots, Thiruvanmiyur, Tiruchendur, Rameswaram and Kanyakumari beaches.
Famous temples at Madurai, Thanjavur, Rameswaram, Kumbakonam, Chidambaram and Tiruchirappalli showcase Tamil Nadu’s rich culture, artistic excellence and architectural splendour. The “Great Living Chola Temples” in Thanjavur, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Darasuram as well as the group of monuments in Mamallapuram are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Singapore and Tamil Nadu
In November 2017, Singapore’s Consul General in Chennai, Roy Kho announced that Singapore was keen to start new ventures in Tamil Nadu and strengthen its ties with India. He said that Singapore accounted for 3.4 percent of India’s foreign trade and was keen on starting new ventures in Tamil Nadu for improving trade and business. He noted that India was investment-friendly, especially Tamil Nadu which is known for its “investment-friendly policies, amazing architecture and rich culture.” Noting that Singapore was the second largest foreign investor in India, the Consul General said that India and Singapore had marked 50 years of diplomatic relations.