SIDCO, a state-owned corporation engaged in providing infrastructure support for MSMEs, is a zero-debt dividend-paying corporation. The Editor caught up with Ms Apoorva, IAS, Chairperson and Managing Director, SIDCO. Excerpts:
INDUSTRIAL ECONOMIST (IE): What is the role of MSME in the state?
APOORVA: My short spell in the Industries Department during 2010-11 gave me an insight into the MSME sector whose contribution to socio-economic development is immense. MSMEs have a multiplier effect on the economy, from alleviating poverty and providing employment to earning foreign exchange with little capital investment. Therefore the government is keen on creating a suitable ecosystem to develop Tamil Nadu into a national hub for MSMEs.
IE: What exactly is SIDCO’s mandate?
APOORVA: We have created industrial estates in all the districts save one. However, to create more industrial estates or expand the existing ones, the agency needs land. Hence my priority is to procure idle government lands suitable for setting up new industrial parks. With 4500 acres identified, we have crossed the milestone of ‘2000 acres’ set by the government for creating a land bank. These lands are in both growth centres and less developed places; so there will be balanced regional development.
IE: The major initiatives you have taken…
APOORVA: We have taken several initiatives to spur the growth of the MSME sector in areas like capital infusion, infrastructure, technology up-gradation, capacity building and global market access.
First, SIDCO has created more operational clusters than any other state. Forty-four clusters in various sectors have so far been identified. High-cost, state-of-the-art common infrastructure, including smart production system, is factored to maximise the efficiency and productivity of the clusters. Government grants are channelised for subsidising the infrastructure developmental cost.
Next, SIDCO would be supporting the formation of Private Industrial Estates with a stake in capital up to 11 per cent. Similarly, for shifting industries to the outskirts of the city, grant for infrastructure is 75 per cent of the project cost, restricted to Rs 15 crore.
IE: Are there sector-specific initiatives?
APOORVA: We recently launched integrated industrial parks for industrial textiles, garments, seafood and food processing to promote technology-based innovative MSMEs in Kanchipuram, Karur, Ramanathapuram and Dharmapuri districts. For city-centric entrepreneurs who look for plug and play workspace, the projects coming up in Thirumazhisai, Thirumudivakkam and Ambattur would be advantageous.
We have introduced several measures to facilitate MSMEs to take part in global trade fairs, B2B meets, etc. MSMEs have been taken to exhibitions held in Brazil, Egypt, Italy, Germany, Australia and USA. Plans are on to host international exhibitions annually in Chennai. Also, establishing four regional trade facilitation centres at Hosur, Salem, Tiruchi and Madurai under process.
IE: For women empowerment?
APOORVA: SIDCO has been the forerunner among all states in women empowerment through entrepreneurship. Besides allotting industrial estates exclusively for women entrepreneurs, in all the other industrial estates, allotment to women is prioritised.
IE: Your thoughts on GIM 2019?
APOORVA: To the investors, we proposed to offer developed plots of up to 10 acres and built plug & play modules in multiples of 800-1000 sq feet in the growth centres to promote industry or country-specific workspace. On behalf of the government and SIDCO, I welcome investors to the prosperous state of Tamil Nadu best known for its unique culture, heritage, work ethics and lifestyle suitable for citizens of any country. – SV