Around 1947, Coimbatore was the most industrialised city in south India with more factories in place, more labour employed and a strong educational infrastructure.
The availability of cotton in the early 20th century gave birth to the textile industry. From cotton trading and ginning, the city evolved into the largest spinning complex in India. Today, Tamil Nadu accounts for nearly half of the 2.1 crore spindles installed and around a third of looms, much of which are concentrated in and around Coimbatore.
From textile mills, a vibrant engineering sector grew. It started with motors and components, textiles and later into highly sophisticated state-of-the-art textile machinery.
Strong social infrastructure
The town also has a formidable reputation for quality education. The reputed Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) is a premier institution offering higher education in agricultural science, engineering and technology to thousands. Dozens of arts, science and commerce colleges are affiliated to the Bharathiar University. The Sugarcane Research Institute is another premier institution reputed for its rich contribution to productivity improvements. Apart from a strong cluster of engineering colleges including the Government College of Technology, PSG Institute and Coimbatore Institute of Technology, the city has several reputed medical colleges.
Alongside flourishes a booming services sector with rich concentration of transport and banking. Coimbatore has been enjoying full employment of its skilled and unskilled workforce. In fact, there is a serious dearth of local labour. The region witnesses an interesting development; workforce in large numbers throng the region. An estimated 25,000 working in this region are drawn from outside the state with a third of them being the north and the east women. One could see such women from the Hindi heartland of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh settled in villages!
The region has evolved as a strong centre for healthcare. Multi-specialty hospitals offer high quality medical care with excellent facilities for tertiary care. The region attracts patients from far and wide. With better air connectivity there is rich potential for further expanding its reputation for medical tourism.
In recent years the city has been attracting large investments in the engineering sector. L&T has expanded here in a big way.
There was the absence of a strong IT industry. The government made a beginning by establishing a Tidel Park. The KG group began by settting up a strong cluster offering rich infrastructure services. B Ashok, educated in the US, focused on that area from 1998. KG Information Systems Pvt Ltd offers well- developed infrastructure for IT and IT enabled services. Its well-marketed campaign helped attract three reputed multinational companies – Cognizant, Dell and Robert Bosch. Today over 100,000 work in these IT complexes.
The city is well-connected by quality highways, railways and an international airport.
Several religious heads have set up sprawling ashrams and there are well-serving old age homes.
The strong work culture and entrepreneurial spirit aided by the benign climate and copious availability of skilled workforce show the promise of Coimbatore re-gaining its reputation as among the most industrialised centres with a wide range of economic activity.