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PROFILE OF THE STUDY AREA: CHENNAI

GEOGRAPHICAL AND PHYSICAL FEATURES

By understanding the various stages of software development, the skill requirements,


the geographic spread of these activities and the linkages between the many players,
a more dynamic analysis becomes feasible when considering the industry in chennai.

Chennai is a low-lying area and the land surface is almost flat like a pancake. The
even topography of the land throughout the district renders sub-divisions into natural
regions rather difficult. It rises slightly as the distance from the sea-shore increases
but the average elevation of the city is not more than 22' above mean seal-level,
while most of the localities are just at sea-level and drainage in such areas remains a
serious problem. From very early times, Chennai was known for its pleasant scenery
and was said to be a town open to sky and full of garden of mangoes, coconuts,
guavas, oranges, etc.

In earlier days when the city was not so congested, gardens and groves were a
common feature and most of the roads were flanked by frequent groves of palm and
other trees. Even a number of houses too had gardens displaying fine trees canopied
by green bough and creepers, Chennai city today is devoid of any forest areas but
can still be proud of some of the well maintained green belts found in the Peoples
park, the Napier park, the Horticulture-gardens, My Lady's Park, Children’s Park
Guindy, Snake Park, Nehru Park, Nageswara Rao Park, Independence Park, Anna
Square Park, the Raj Bhavan, the Theosophical Society Campus, and a number of
bungalows and newly developed colonies where provisions of public parks, etc. have
been provided.

The indigenous trees found include among others neem, mango, tamarind, rain-tree,
vagai, banyan, coconut, palm and pipal. Stretches of casuarina plantations are
available on the sea-coast beyond the mouth of the Adyar in the South and
Tondiarpet in the North, supplying firewood to the city. House gardening is not very
common these days due to shortage of water and lack of space

LOCATION AND AREA

Tamil Nadu constitutes the south-eastern extremity of the Indian peninsula. Chennai
is the capital city of the State, besides being an important district. The district city is
one of the metropolis of India and serves as the gateway of the culture of South
India. In spite of being the capital of a Tamil speaking State, it has emerged as a
cosmopolitan city playing an important role in the historical, cultural
and intellectual development of India, representing still the distinct components of
the highest form of Dravidian civilisation. In addition, it holds out an interesting fare
of South Indian architecture, music, dance, drama, sculpture and other arts and
crafts.

Chennai is situated on the north-east end of Tamil Nadu on the coast of Bay of
Bengal. It lies between 12* 9' and 13* 9' of the northern latitude and 80* 12' and 80*
19' of the southern longitude on a `sandy shelving breaker swept beach'. It
stretches nearly 25.60 kms. Along the Bay coast from Thiruvanmiyur in the south to
Thiruvottiyur in the north and runs inland in a rugged semi-circular fashion. It is
bounded on the east by the Bay of Bengal and on the remaining three sides by
Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur Districts.

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The city of Chennai came into being due to a strategic necessity and historical
accident. It symbolises the rise of British power in South India by setting up and
consolidation of the East India Company in the seventeenth century with its
headquarters at Fort St. George in Chennai as a trading centre. Within 350 years, a
few scattered villages (important being Mylapore, Triplicane and Chennai Patnam)
have developed into a modern metropolitan city without shedding its traditional
customs, religious outlook and other traditions. It can be proudly remarked that the
greatness of ancient Chennai is mostly religious due to the preservation of the old
famous Saivaite and Vaishnavite shrines signifying the antiquity of the place.

The growth of the city is significant and closely linked with the development of
British Institutions and administration. In short, Chennai city was the chief centre
from which the British rule expanded in the sub-continent and it remains a standing
monument of British contribution to India. Chennai city has acted as an important
centre of culture and education in South India and has been the cradle of many
movements which have played an important role in the history of the sub-
continent.

A large number of institutions which are known in India and abroad are found
located in the city, of which mention may be made of the Theosophical Society, the
Kalakshetra and colleges of Arts and Crafts. The establishment of professional
colleges like Medical, Veterinary, Law and Teaching, the location of the Indian
Institute of Technology and the establishment of Central Leather Research
Institute have added to the development of the city. Chennai is one of the leading
cities in India today from the point of view of trade and commerce, with the fourth
largest port in the country and the first to have developed a full-fledged container
terminal to international standards.

The port is providing trade links with Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Burma,
Bangladesh, Ceylon and other far eastern countries. Chennai is also one of the
most important industrial cities of the sub-continent. As a district of the State it
ranks third after Coimbatore and Salem in so far as the number of factories is
concerned but stands at the top in case of employment and productive capital
and first in revenue. It, however, ranks second in terms of industrial out-put next
to Chengalpattu. Chennai city enjoys an eminent position in the country in film
industry and Kodambakkam, known as the Hollywood of Chennai, has a number of
studios engaged in the production of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, and Hindi
movies which are quite popular. Total area of the district is 178.20 sq. kms.

The city of Madras has now been renamed as Chennai. It is stated that the name
Chennai traced its origin to "some other language". The rechristening of the city
is part of the steps announced for the "growth of Tamil in various fields". There are
different versions about the name of this once sleepy coastal village. When the
British landed here in 1639 A.D. it was said to be part of the empire of the Raja of
Chandragiri. The British named it Chennapattinam, after they acquired it from
Chennappa Nayakar. Gradually, it became Chennai. The first instance of the use
of the name Chennai is said to be in the Vestiges of Old Chennai, the sale deed of
August 1639 to Francis Day, an agent for the British. There it has been referred to as
Chennaipatnam.

The British are said to have built Fort Saint George, the present seat of power, in
1640. It was named after the patron saint of England. The Vestiges of Old Chennai
infer that the original village of Madraspatnam lay north of the proximate to
Chennapattinam. In course of time and with rapid growth, the two virtually

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became one. It is also inferred that the English preferred the name
Madraspatnam, while Indians chose Chennapattinam.

DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE. Population

As per 1991 Census, the total population of the district was 38,41,396 which has
increased to 42,16,268 as per the census of India 2001. Chennai district accounts for
6.8 per cent of the total population of 6,21,10,839 of the state. Male population
constitutes 21,61,605 which accounts for 51.3 percent of the total population of the
district and female population constitutes 20,54,663 accounting for 48.7 percent of
the total population of the district. It ranks 2nd among the districts of Tamil Nadu in
population, top ranked being Coimbatore district with a population of 42.24 lakhs.

People and culture

The area's population has changed little over the centuries, largely representing the
ancient Dravidian ancestry indigenous to southern India. Most of the hill tribes exhibit
affinities with certain Southeast Asian people.

Tamil, the official state language, is spoken by most of the people. Telugu is spoken
by almost 10 percent of the population; Kannada, Urdu, and Malayalam are spoken
by much smaller percentages. In the Nilgiri district in the west, Kannada (and its
dialect Baaga) and Malayalam are stronger. English is spoken as a subsidiary
language.

The main religions in the state are Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Jainism. Hindus
constitute an overwhelming majority of the population. The largest concentration of
Christians is in Tirunelveli and Kanniyakumari districts. Jains are confined to North
and South Arcot and Chennai city. The growth of atheism is a recent development,
possibly as a protest against Brahmin ritualism.

Although Tamil Nadu is one of the most urbanised states of India, it is still primarily
rural. Most of the people live in more than 64,000 nucleated villages. In Tamil Nadu,
as in the rest of the country, the caste system is still strong, even though
discrimination has been banned by the constitution of India. The poorest low-caste
villagers live in segregated areas called ceri. The Chennai metropolitan covering
industrial areas, townships and villages surrounding Chennai city, has the largest
population but there are other conurbations, of which those around Madurai,
Coimbatore, and Tiruchchirappalli are the most important.

Languages

Most people speak Tamil, the official state language. Telugu, Kannada, Urdu, and
Malayalam are spoken by much smaller percentages. English is spoken as a
subsidiary language. The main religions in the state are Hinduism, Christianity, Islam
and Jainism. The Chennai metropolitan covering industrial areas, townships and
villages surrounding Chennai city, has the largest population but there are other
conurbations, of which those around Madurai, Coimbatore, and Tiruchchirappalli are
the most important.

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Economy

With agriculture as the prime occupation, agricultural practices have undergone


radical improvement since independence. Tamil farmers conserve scarce rainwater in
small and large irrigation reservoirs or tanks. Government canals, tube wells and
ordinary wells also form part of the irrigation system. Several river valley projects in
the state depend on the erratic northeast monsoon for water. Consequently, subsoil
water sources are being tapped. Multiple cropping, the use of new and better strains
of rice, cotton, sugar, and millet, and the use of chemical fertilizers have been widely
adopted. By 1967, the state was self-sufficient in the production of food grains.

The main food crops are rice, pulses and oil seeds. Important commercial crops that
are grown in Tamil Nadu include sugarcane, cotton, tea, rubber, cashew and coconut.
Major forest products are timber, sandalwood, pulpwood and fuel wood while the
minor products include bamboo, eucalyptus, rubber, tea, cashew, honey and ivory.

Improved port facilities and the effective use of electric power resources have helped
industrial development in Tamil Nadu. Cotton ginning, spinning and weaving continue
to be the major industries, followed by the production of automobiles, motorcycles,
diesel engines, sugar, agricultural implements, fertilizers, cement, iron & steel, paper,
chemicals, transformers and electric motors.

The railway-coach factory at Perambur is one of the largest in Asia; the heavy
vehicles factory producing tanks, is at Avadi, near Chennai. There is an oil refinery at
Chennai and a larger thermal power project at Neyveli, both public-sector ventures.
The state ranks second only to Kerala in the production of fish. Tamil Nadu is rich in
limestone, bauxite, gypsum, salt, lignite, magnetite, mica, quartz and iron ore. The
Tamil film industry based at Chennai now rivals Bollywood for output and provides
considerable employment.

Tamil Nadu is rich in handicrafts; notable among them are handloom silk, metal icons,
leather work, kalamkari (hand-painted fabric, using natural dyes), brass, bronze,
copper wares, carved wood, palm leaf and cane articles. The state is an important
exporter of tanned skin, hides, leather goods, cotton goods and yarn, tea, coffee,
spices, engineering goods, tobacco, handicrafts and black granite.

Climate

Tamil Nadu has a tropical climate with little difference in temperatures in summer and
winter. April and May are the hottest months with the mercury often soaring above
the 40ºC mark. Coastal regions get uncomfortably warm and humid during these
months but the nights are usually cool, thanks to the sea breeze that sets in during
the afternoon. Summer temperatures are quite equable in the foothills of the Ghats.

Hill stations are pleasant and the maximum temperature rarely rises above the mid
twenties. A mild winter falls between November and February when the climate is
pleasantly cool.

Minimum temperatures in the plains rarely dip below 20º C, while in the hills the
mercury may drop to 5º C or below. The north-east monsoon brings rain in spurts
between October and December. The average annual rainfall, ranges between 25 and
75 inches (635 and 1,905 mm) a year. Highest precipitation occurs in the Nilgiris and
other hill areas with the least in the Ramanathapuram and Tirunelveli districts.

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Status of IT Industry

Tamil Nadu is well poised to emerge as the top IT State in India as well as a gateway
to SE Asia. More than 860 Companies. More than 40,000 professionals employed.

The “Watts Humphrey Software Quality Institute” established at Chennai – the only
one of its kind in India.

Media Lab Asia - a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Communications and


Information Technology, Government of India and Massachusetts Institute of
Technology - has set up a Regional Research Laboratory at Chennai.

The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Tamil Nadu and the Government of Tamil
Nadu organized a successful International Conference & Exhibition on IT,
Communication Technologies and Bioinformatics at Chennai during 13-16 September
2001 called “Connect 2001”. The venue was the Chennai Trade Centre of the Tamil
Nadu Trade Promotion Organization at Nandambakkam.

Based on the success of Connect-2001, “Connect 2002” is being held at the same
venue in partnership with CII Tamil Nadu during the period 19-22 September 2002.
Government of Tamil Nadu co-sponsored a very successful Third National Conference
on IT Enabled Services at Chennai during 30-31 May 2001, organized by NASSCOM.

The Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) of the


Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India had organized ICNC–2001, an
International Conference on Nanocomputing Technology Trends at Shanmuga College
of Engineering, Thanjavur during December 16–18, 2001.

IT in Education

Computer Science syllabus for Classes 11 and 12 of the State Higher Secondary
Board has been completely revised and updated.

As a first step to make all our students “digitally literate”, an innovative public -
private partnership program has been launched to make Computer Science available
as an option in all Government Higher Secondary Schools in the State. More than
1197 schools in the State producing 40,000 students per year have been covered.
Further, 5 teachers per school per year in each of these schools including the
Principal, are also imparted computer literacy skills. This program is fully operational.

Based on the success of the school program, a one-year computer literacy program
for students in all 60 Government Arts and Science Colleges, all 11 Medical Colleges,
the only Dental College and in all 5 Law Colleges in the State has been launched.
This will cover about 30,000 students every year. This program will also include
Internet skills. The program is fully operational.

IT in Government

All State level Government tenders in English and Tamil are included in this web site.

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The web site has a wealth of documentary and statistical information about the
State. In addition, it has more than 200 application forms in English and Tamil for use
by citizens. In addition, these forms are also being made available at.

A comprehensive database of all land records throughout the State has already been
created. A set of application software for use at Taluk (Sub-District) and District level
has been created, tested, finalized and has already been installed in all 206 Taluk
offices.

2 Pilot projects in four Taluks of the State for digitization of the cadastral maps have
been completed. The different technologies used have been evaluated and
specifications finalized. Depending on availability of funds, a statewide project can be
taken up for creating a database of digitized land maps.

Comprehensive guidelines for development of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)


in Government and the public sector have been issued by the Planning &
Development Department.

Application software has successfully been developed, tested and commissioned for
the Sub-Registrars offices and District Registrars offices. This system has been made
operational in 300 such offices. Another 300 offices will shortly be covered.
Application software has been developed and tested for the Regional Transport
Offices (RTOs), Zonal RTOs and the Transport Commissioner’s office. This has been
commissioned in 17 offices so far, and the balance 65 offices throughout the State
will be covered in a phased manner. Application software for Assessment Circles in
the Sales Tax department has been implemented in 140 assessment offices in
Chennai and Coimbatore circles.

A pilot project for Tele-medicine between a State level tertiary hospital – Govt.
General Hospital, Chennai - and a rural hospital – Walajah Taluk Hospital – has
become operational.

A “Video-Conferencing" facility has been set up between the State headquarters and
all District headquarters where ISDN is available.

IT Infrastructure in chennai

Six agencies have already been permitted on a non-exclusive basis to create high
bandwidth optic fiber cable networks that will cover every single district in the State.
These are M/s BPL Broadband, DishnetDSL, Bharti Telesonic, Macronet Private Ltd.
(subsequently renamed as Reliance Infocomm Ltd.), Estel Communications Pvt. Ltd.
and Bharti Telenet Ltd. This will make Internet access possible in every corner of the
State. Reliance Infocomm, DishnetDSL and Bharti Telesonic are in the process of
physical implementation of their projects.

Tamil Nadu has the highest rural telephone connectivity in the country with nearly
86% of all its villages in Tamil Nadu covered.

Software Technology Parks of India, Chennai has been given financial assistance in
the form of interest free loans and grants to set up international data links at
Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli and at NSIC/Guindy/Chennai. This is in addition to
the STPI and VSNL facilities already available in Coimbatore. The facility at
NSIC/Chennai has become operational. The facilities at Madurai, Tiruchirappalli and

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Tirunelveli have also become operational. This will facilitate the spread of the IT
industry, including software and IT enabled services and will create employment
opportunities in all parts of the State.

A pilot project called “Sustainable Access in Rural India (SARI)” - is being


implemented in Madurai District for providing both telephone and Internet access in
every village through “Wireless in Local Loop (WLL)” technology developed by the
Telecom and Network Group at IIT Madras. This project is sponsored by the MIT Media
Lab, Center for International Development, Harvard University and IIT Madras and is
supported by the Government of Tamil Nadu .

A similar project has been launched by IIT Madras in association with EID Parry group
of companies in 271 villages in Nellikuppam in Cuddalore District.

“TIDEL Park”, a one million square feet IT park, has been inaugurated. All 100% of
the available space in TIDEL already stands marketed.

A 1000 acre IT park has been developed by the State Industries Promotion
Corporation of Tamil Nadu in Siruseri village, 20 km south of Chennai, for allotment of
land to IT Companies, who wish to build their own campuses. Several IT companies
have already booked land in this facility.

The 1700 acre Mahindra Industrial Park, a joint venture of TIDCO, IL&FS and
Mahindras, 25 km south on the Chennai Airport on the National Highway, is also
being developed to meet the need of both IT and logistics industries.

The “Tamil Nadu Infotech Fund”, a Tamil Nadu specific venture capital fund jointly
promoted by the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation, IL& FS Venture
Corporation and SIDBI, has funded several innovative projects.

2 companies, DishnetDSL and Bharti Aquanet Limited (a Bharti Telesonic–SingTel joint


venture), have initiated steps to lay submarine optic fibre cables from Singapore to
Chennai with a total capacity in excess of 11 terabits per second to ensure the
availability of international bandwidth on demand. The Bharti i2i submarine cable is
expected to begin its commercial operation shortly.

Canals

The Buckingham canal which runs through the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra
Pradesh is a navigation canal. This canal runs almost parallel to the Coromandal
coast within the limits of 5 kms. from the coast. It joins up a series of natural
backwaters and connects all the coastal districts from Guntur to South Arcot.
Entering the city at Tondiarpet in the north and running along the western outskirts of
George Town, it joins the new canal, south-west of General Hospital. The other canal
worth mentioning in the city is the Otteri Nullah which commences from the village
Mullam, runs eastwards upto Purasawalkam and then passes through Buckingham
and Carnatic Mills and finally joins the Buckingham Canal, north of Basin Bridge
Railway Station. Chennai has 25.60 kms. of sea coast which is flat and sandy for
about a km. from the shore. The bed of the sea is about 42' deep and slopes further
in gradual stages for a distance of about 5 kms. from the coast attaining a depth of
about 63'. The two principal currents, first from the north and second from the south
flow parallel to the coast. The former sets in about the middle of October and
continue till February while the latter starts by about August and continues till the

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burst of the north-east monsoon in the middle of October. These two principal
currents must be caused by the winds.