news Friday, December 12, 2014 - 05:30
By Prasanna Karthik R December 4, 2014| 4.58 pm IST In 2006, when Nokia’s manufacturing plant was inaugurated in Chennai, the global CEO of Nokia, Olli Pekka Kallasvuo and the then Prime Minister of Finland Matti Vanhenan had flown down to Chennai to inaugurate the facility. Since the moral code of conduct due to the impending state elections had just kicked in, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Chief Guest for the event had to cancel his program at the last moment. Since I was a part of the team that recruited the initial set of senior engineers for the newly built and technologically advanced plant, I was one of the several hundred people invited for the event. Housing Nokia’s largest plant outside Finland was moment of great pride for Tamil Nadu. It was said that the CEO of Nokia was in a meeting when Finish Prime Minister reached the venue, and when the CEO was informed about the PM’s arrival, his response was, “don’t tell me the PM has come, tell the PM I am already here. He will rush here to meet me.” The plant also heralded the emergence of Chennai as a favored destination for setting up electronic manufacturing shops of world class standards; Dell, Samsung, Motorola, Flextronics, Foxconn were some of the few names with their large plants set up within the 5 KMs radius from the Nokia plant. It was also said that the region was a suitable hub for such high precision work because of the availability of workers who came from families that weaved the finely woven Kanchipuram sarees – apparently, they were naturally gifted to perform fine quality work using minute parts and precision instruments. The economic development that the entry of these companies promised, was something that the rest on India envied. But now, due to state policies and governance issues, the plant is shut and 13000 people have lost their jobs; so have most plants in the vicinity including the Foxconn plant that was set up to make I-Phones that was eventually moved to Brazil. Intel, which was keen on setting up its USD 1 billion chip-manufacturing plant in Chennai, decided to set it up in Vietnam instead. Tamil Nadu has one of the best work force that organizations can aspire for – well educated, intelligent, disciplined, analytical, no-nonsense, courteous, loyal and humble. However, from a growth rate of 13.96% in 2005-06, today Tamil Nadu is tottering at 4.14%. The World Economic Forum says that Chennai is not an easy city to do business in. Credit rating agency CRISIL has forecast a decline in job additions in the IT industry. Auto major Peugeot and Ford are moving their operations from Tamil Nadu to Gujarat. But none of it is surprising given how the politics in the state functions. While the state will reel under unmanageable power cuts, the state Government will give free TVs. This will be followed by free mixer, grinder, table fan etc. Then we will have Amma-canteen, Amma-pharmacy, Amma-cement, Amma-this, Amma-that and Amma-what-not. To protect the 'rights' of its people, Tamil Nadu assembly passed a ruling that mandates tickets for first few rows in all theaters to be priced at Rs 10 only; while drinking water costs more and is often unavailable in the state. Most politicians in the state hail from the film industry and all politicians will own TV channels; I only wish at-least some of them hailed from good colleges and that a few of them had a vision for the state. To top it all, almost every actor thinks he is a Chief Minister in the making. Politicians have divided the length, breadth, height and depth of the state on the basis of caste. Tamil Nadu’s politicians define themselves more by hating Hindi than loving their own people. They are more interested in fighting Sri Lanka than do anything for India. Only in Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa a convicted former Chief Minister seems like a better option because her nearest rival Karunanidhi is not just the father of the most corrupt politicians in India, but is also the father of corruption itself. Thanks to his genetics and greed, India got the 1.76 lakh crore 2G scam – wish 1% of that amount came into the state in the form of investments that could create jobs. To add to the state's woes, the Government here has complete monopoly over the sale of liquor; this is at a time when other states are banning liquor consumption in their states. TASMAC, the Government owned retail liquor distribution company posted a revenue of Rs. 23,401 crores, growing at an annual rate of a whopping 21.1% since 2003. So the Government makes people consume liquor, makes profit out of their addictions and then provides freebies with the money people burnt consuming alcohol in Government run liquor shops. Is this how a Government should generate revenue for indulging in populism that keeps it in power? It is high time, the people of Tamil Nadu wake up; we need to ask and work for what we deserve. We need leadership that doesn’t exploit our difference but leverages our diversity for greater national unity and progress. We do not need more castes, we need more jobs. We do not need actors as leaders, we need thinkers and doers as our leaders. We do not need freebies from our leaders, we need freedom from their vote bank politics. We do not need entitlement, we need empowerment.  Unless and until we change the complete course of the state, Tamil Nadu will slip further and become a state similar to BiMaRu state. While the BiMaRu states are moving up, Tamil Nadu’s fall is going to be painful and cruel. Given the direction that Tamil Nadu is heading towards, the state needs a miracle – the miracle of right political choices that puts the state, its people and development at the center of its governance story. Anything less will be a tragic story of self-induced pain inflicted out of utter disregard for the very thing that makes the people of Tamil Nadu human. Hope the state wakes up soon. Long live my state… Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this articles are the personal opinions of the author. The News Minute is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information in this article. The information, facts or opinions appearing in this article do not reflect the views of The News Minute and The News Minute does not assume any liability on the same.

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