TN should focus on medi parks, bio-tech for economic revival: Rangarajan panel

Committee formed by TN government recommends infusion of ₹1,000 crore into Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation (TIIC) to enhance lending to industries

Photo for representational purpose only: iStock

Setting up of a medi-park for medical diagnostic devices, a bulk drug pharma park, and two biotech parks are among Dr C Rangarajan’s prescriptions for revival of Tamil Nadu’s economy that is reeling under the impact of COVID-19. The high-level committee set up by the Tamil Nadu government has identified these as emerging sectors that could drive growth and generate employment in the medium and long term.

The committee, headed by former RBI governor and former head of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Rangarajan, has also recommended infusion of ₹1,000 crore into Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation (TIIC). This could be done over a period of three years to enhance lending to industries, the committee has informed the Tamil Nadu government.

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The Rangarajan Committee has also called for developing integrated townships with social infrastructure facilities close to economic growth centres of the state. The committee believes this will be a major advantage for Tamil Nadu in attracting investments. The Rangarajan Committee has also recommended drawing up of a comprehensive plan to provide industrial housing facilities at all industrial clusters through Tamil Nadu Shelter Fund.

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For the manufacture of medical devices that has been identified as an emerging sector, the Rangarajan Committee has recommended the establishment of a medi-park near Chengalpet. Stating that this cluster should focus on diagnostic imaging and IV diagnostics, the committee has recommended an angel fund to boost start-ups in this sector. Tamil Nadu Biotech Fund can be utilised for this purpose, it has been pointed out.

The Rangarajan committee has also called for setting up of a 200-acre bio-tech park with high-end analytical facilities. This cluster should focus on key areas like bio-similar and diagnostics, the Committee has emphasised. Setting up of a smaller bio-tech park near Coimbatore and upgradation of Stanley Medical College Stem Cell Research Centre as an Institute of Regenerative Medicine are among other recommendations for this segment. Tamil Nadu government should promote contract analytical services and seek support of the central government for establishment of an anchor central institution in the state, the panel has suggested.

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The Rangarajan Committee was set up by the Tamil Nadu government to study the impact of COVID-19 and suggest measures to stimulate the state’s economy. Tamil Nadu’s Finance Secretary S Krishnan was co-ordinator of the panel. Dr Rangarajan submitted the committee’s report to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in September and the state government has accepted the report.

The committee has identified pharmaceuticals as another key emerging sector for Tamil Nadu. In collaboration with the Centre, a bulk drug pharma park should be established by Tamil Nadu in the coastal belt near Chennai, the panel has recommended. A pharma policy should also be rolled out, just like the specific policy for electric vehicles, the committee has said in its report. The committee has estimated that Tamil Nadu’s agriculture production would remain at pre-COVID levels during the current financial year and efforts should be made to diversify to less water-consuming crops to sustain growth.

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