Tamil Nadu will realise Jayalalithaa's Vision 2023, says CM O Panneerselvam

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said his government will follow the path laid down by former chief minister, the late J Jayalalithaa, and will realise the vision set by her for 2023. The state has promised that it will constantly update the government's policy framework and redouble its efforts.

Speaking at an India Today conclave here, the chief minister said that Vision 2023, released by former AIADMK Supremo Jayalalithaa, is not a bunch of idle promises or mere ideas. Implementation of more than 100 of the 217 projects and programmes identified under Vision Tamil Nadu 2023 has already commenced.

This was Paneerselvam's first public speech after becoming chief minister of Tamil Nadu following Jayalalithaa's demise early last month.

Launched by Jayalalithaa in 2012, Vision Tamil Nadu 2023 remains the state's blue print for action. The goal is to ensure that the state's per capita income reaches that of upper-middle-income countries by 2023.

The chief minister said Tamil Nadu's per capita income, which was below the national average in 1991, is currently almost 75 per cent above that benchmark.

"The people of this state must have access to infrastructure and services comparable to the best available anywhere in the world. (We will) make Tamil Nadu a knowledge hub for innovation and the most attractive investment destination in India and one of the three most attractive in Asia," Paneerselvam said.

The document envisages a total investment of Rs 15 lakh crore in infrastructure.

"We will continue our march towards realising the vision of Puratchi Thalaivi Amma," Panneerselvam said. "Our effort will be to not only retain Tamil Nadu's lead in the sectors that it is strong in, but also to make a breakthrough in emerging and sunrise sectors."

Sectors that will receive a thrust include biotechnology, information and communication technology, and the most modern techniques of manufacturing.

State governments must be provided the necessary legislative, administrative and fiscal space to function effectively to fulfil the aspirations of the people of the state. Strong, performing states are essential for a strong Union, he added.

Panneerselvam said Tamil Nadu's economy has registered the strongest and most consistent economic growth among all states. It has become the second largest state economy in India due to far-sighted policy making and effective implementation record.

But economic growth is not the only thing in Tamil Nadu that has been significant. Tamil Nadu is also the one state that has sustained its level of social sector expenditure, he added.

In her first term in office, Jayalalithaa formulated a "Social Safety Net" for which allocations were made in the Budget year after year in the areas of health, education, nutrition, welfare of women and children, welfare of the differently abled, welfare of the scheduled castes and tribes, and social security. This has paid rich dividends in terms of human development achievements in the state, Panneerselvam claimed.

Alongside achievements in human development, Jayalalithaa, also known as Puratchi Thalaivi Amma, ensured consistent investments in infrastructure.

Investments in the electricity sector ensured that the state, which had a huge power deficit in 2011, became a power surplus state by 2015. Major investments have also been made in the road, urban development, transport and related sectors. High quality human resources and infrastructure have made Tamil Nadu a very attractive investment destination, Paneerselvam said.

Tamil Nadu attracts the third highest foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country. The FDI actually coming into Tamil Nadu would be even more because a significant portion of the foreign investment made in Tamil Nadu is counted against other states where the Indian head offices of some foreign companies are located.