India is predominantly an agricultural country and the same applies to Tamil Nadu as well. Agriculture is the primary occupation of about seventy percent of the rural population of Tamil Nadu. Around 34% of the state's population resides in urban areas while the remaining population resides in the rural areas. With change in science and technology, agricultural practices have undergone radical improvement since independence. The change is visible not only in agricultural practices but also in the type of crop grown. In the recent few years secondary and tertiary sectors have also grown in great proportion, thanks to the New Economic Policy of the Indian government.
The main food crops that are grown in Tamilnadu are Rice, pulses and
oil seeds while the important commercial crops of the state include
sugarcane, tea, rubber, cotton, cashew and coconut. Multiple cropping,
use of new and better varieties of rice, sugar, cotton, and millet
coupled with the use of chemical fertilizers have tremendously increased
the agricultural output of the state. Tamil Nadu has a 1000 km long
coastline with equatorial climate, permitting year round fishery and
farming. Fishing is also an important economic activity in Tamil Nadu.
Opportunities in shrimp farming and processing, Crab culture, Seaweed
culture, etc. are on the upswing in the state.
At present, Tamil Nadu is one of the most industrialized states in
India. Many factors have combined together to make Tamil Nadu a leading
industrial state. The state has a well-developed network of roads, rail,
air and major ports at Chennai and Tuticorin. Cotton ginning, spinning
and weaving are the traditional industries of Tamil Nadu. Other
important and heavy industries of the state are automobiles, diesel
engines, motorcycles, sugar, fertilizers, cement, agricultural
implements, iron and steel, chemicals, transformers and paper.
Everything from railway coaches, automobiles, tractors, battle-tanks,
motorbikes and heavy vehicles are manufactured in Tamil Nadu. The rail
coach factory at Perambur is one of the largest in Asia while the heavy
vehicles factory, which produces tanks, is located at Avadi. The Chennai
seaport is one of the most important ports in India. Tamil Nadu is rich
in metals and minerals like limestone, gypsum, bauxite, salt, Mica,
quartz, magnetite, lignite and iron ore.
Many heavy engineering and manufacturing-based industries are located
in and around Chennai, which is nicknamed as the "The Detroit of
Asia". Global auto giants like Hyundai, Ford, BMW, Caterpillar and
Mitsubishi as well as domestic heavyweights like MRF, Ashok Leyland, TI
cycles of India, Mahindra & Mahindra, Royal Enfield, TVS and TAFE
Tractors have their manufacturing units around Chennai.
The traditional handicrafts industry also flourishes in Tamil Nadu.
Notable among them are handloom silk, leatherwork, metal icons,
kalamkari (hand-painted fabric, using natural dyes), brass, copper
wares, bronze, palm leaf, carved wood and cane articles. Tamil Nadu is
an important exporter of coffee, spices, yarn, tea, tobacco,
handicrafts, engineering goods and granite.