Leveraging natural resources can strengthen post-Covid India, says Tamil Nadu FM

The country can benefit from the present global downturn by leveraging its abundant natural resources in the post-pandemic era, the Tamil Nadu Finance Minister said.

The past three decades of liberalisation have witnessed the worsening of the Indian economic disparity, but the country can benefit from the present global downturn by leveraging its abundant natural resources in the post-pandemic era. The thought was aired by Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan. 

Stating that East Asian nations, particularly South Korea and Japan, are looking forward to investing elsewhere when the world is recovering from Covid-19, the Tamil Nadu Finance Minister said that India can boost its engagements with international finance and reap the benefits. Speaking at the Mathrubhumi Festival of Letters in the Kerala capital, he said, all this, provided the current economic slump across continents isn’t massive.

Tamil Nadu has immense scope to generate wind energy

India, as a tropical country, can look forward to exploring opportunities in the renewable energy sector, the minister pointed out. “Tamil Nadu, for instance, has immense scope to generate wind energy. Up north, summers are long and the sun is out for long. Solar energy has great potential,” he said at an hour-long session on ‘The Future of Indian Economy’.

Noting that India is capital-short and hence looking for investments from abroad, he said, what our government can focus today is on ways to attract funds from countries that are anyway looking for places to initiate economic cooperation. Such measures can generate jobs at a time when certain data put India’s unemployment as dismal as 30 per cent.

Stressing on the need for qualitative growth, he said improved figures need not necessarily imply economic development. Free trade has accelerated India’s economic growth, but inequality too has been on the rise. For instance, the two best-performing states (Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu) had their per capita income just twice more than the state at the bottom. Today, the gap has doubled. Some studies put it as high as five times more than the poorest performer, he stated.

India’s per capita income, on the eve of liberalisation in the early 1990s, was a shade better than China, but the East Asian giant today has since gone way ahead with the figure 3 to 5 per cent more than ours.

Calls for skilling the workforce and improving ease of doing business.

From 2014, since the NDA came to power at the Centre, social welfare has been earning lesser administrative priority, according to Thiagarajan. The focus, instead, has been on improving infrastructure, under the belief that this would attract investors and automatically generate employment, he said adding that a bad result of this is crony capitalism.

Reminding that the country should not go for radical shifts in its economic policies, he said people look for continuity. It will be good if we see more harmony, and not strife, in society, added the minister, calling for skilling the workforce and improving ease of doing business.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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