Geography of Tamil Nadu and its impact on economic growth Tnpsc

Physical determinants of agriculture

The geographical determinants of Agriculture are Landform, climate, soil, and Irrigation.

The landform of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has a diverse landscape with hills, plateaus, and plains. The plains are mostly suitable for agriculture. The alluvial soil enhances agricultural productivity.

Example – Plains of Cauvery. Agriculture on Plateau is moderate and very poor on the Hills.


Tamil Nadu is situated near the equator and it is a tropical zone. As a result, the state experiences a tropical climate. Hence the Tamil Nadu climate is hot throughout the year. As a result, only tropical crops are cultivated.

The Northeast Monsoon is the Major source of water for irrigation and other purposes in Tamil Nadu. The major cropping season starts during this season. This seasonal rainfall affects agriculture to a large extent.


It is the most important element of agriculture. Most agriculture productive regions in-state are covered with alluvial soil.

Regions of Agriculture

Tamil Nadu practices subsistence intensive farming all over, there are only a few exceptions. In the hilly regions of Eastern and the Western Ghats, Plantation Agriculture is practiced. Mixed farming is practiced on the Banks of Cauvery and Thenpennai.


Monsoon Rainfall in Tamil Nadu is highly irregular and is seasonal. Therefore irrigation becomes necessary for agriculture. Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute (TRRI), working under the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU), does Rice Research for the State.

It is situated at Aduthurai in Thanjavur district, suggesting rice variety for cultivation based on the Agriculture pattern.

Crop calendar of Tamil Nadu

The farmers select crops based on seasons for cultivation. Cultivation is based on Rainfall and the availability of moisture in the soil. Accordingly, Tamil Nadu has the following cropping seasons.

Major crops of Tamil Nadu

Paddy, Millets, Pulses, Oil Seeds, Sugarcane, Cotton, Plantation crops

Livestock and Animal husbandry in Tamilnadu

Livestock remained the lifeline of rural people. The cattle numbers of Tamil Nadu are 88,92,473. There are 47,86,680 sheep, 81,43,341 goats and 11,73,48,894 poultry animals.


Goat is called ‘Poor Mans Cow’. It is important in dryland farming. Goat is the best alternative for undulating lands which unsuitable for the rearing of cows, buffalo etc. The rearing of goats is highly profitable for small and marginal farmers.


Sheep are used for multiple purposes, such as wool, meat, milk, skin, and manure. It is an important part of the rural economy where the land area is particularly arid, semi-arid, and mountainous. It is a dependable source of income through the sale of wool and meat.


Poultry rearing of Hen, Quil, etc for eggs, meat, manure, etc. The poultry hub of Tamil Nadu is Namakkal, Salem, Erode, and Coimbatore districts.

Deep-sea fishing in Tamilnadu

Fishing is one of the major occupations in Tamil Nadu as lies along the Bay of Bengal, the Indian ocean, and also the Arabian sea. Also, Tamil Nadu has a lot of reservoirs and rivers that support inland fishing.

There are about 2500 species of fish in Tamil Nadu.

Marine Fishing

Tamil Nadu’s coastline is 1076 km which is 13% of India’s coastline. It covers an area of 0.19 million sq. km. Tamil Nadu has a continental shelf of an area of 41,412 sq. km which gives an advantage of the fishing. Marine fishing is also called Inshore fish or neritic fishing which is carried in Deep seas/Oceans.

Large mechanized boats are used for fishing in Oceans. There are two types of Marine fishing. They are

  • Inshore fishing
  • Offshore fishing

Inshore Fishing – Fishing a few kilometers from the shoreline.

Offshore Fishing– Fishing away from the shoreline such as 20-30 miles and thousands of feet deep is called Offshore Fishing.

Common varieties caught are Sharks, flying fish, conch fish, catfish, silver, bellies, crabs, etc. 40% of fish are produced from the districts of Chennai, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, and Ramanathapuram districts.

Tamil Nadu has three major fishing harbors, three medium fishing harbors, and 363 fish landing centers. The export of Marine products is 72644 metric tons in the year 2007-2008.

Inland Fishing

It is a type of fishing that is carried out in lakes, rivers, ponds, estuaries, backwaters, and swamps. Oysters and prawns are cultured in Nurseries. Floating nets, boats, Catamaran are used for fishing. Tamil Nadu fisheries Department has introduced several programmes for fishing betterment.

It also established the Fish Farmer Development Agency. It develops programmes such as aquaculture in farm ponds, irrigation tanks, fish seed banks, fish seed rearing, ornamental fish culture, etc. Inland fish production is topped by the Vellore district with 10% of the state produce.

Cuddalore, Sivagangai, and Virudhunagar districts stand second with 9% production in the state each. Fishing contributes 1.25% of the States economy.

Second Green Revolution (Eco-Farming or Organic Farming)

Inorganic farming, Chemicals such as Synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and livestock feed additives are not used. Organic farming relies on crop rotation, crop residues, animal manure, off-farm organic wastes, and biological pest control to maintain the productivity of the soil.

Farmer involved in organic farming in the state is very less.

Water Resource

Tamil Nadu constitutes 4% of India’s land but it habitats 6% of India’s population. But it has only 2.5% of India’s freshwater resources. More than 95% of the surface water and 80% of groundwater is already put to use.

The state heavily depends on monsoon rains. The annual average rainfall is about 930mm. Tamil Nadu gets 47% of rainfall during the Northwest monsoon, 35% during the southwest monsoon, 14% in summer, and 4% in winter.

Major dams in Tamilnadu

Multipurpose river valley projects are basically developed for irrigation for agriculture and Hydropower generation.

  • Mettur Dam

  • Bhavani Sagar Dam

  • Amaravathi Dam

  • Krishnagiri Dam

  • Sathanur Dam

  • Mullaiperiyar Dam

  • Vaigai Dam

  • Manimuthar Dam

  • The Papanasam Dam

  • Parampikulam Aliyar Project

Surface Water Resources of Tamil Nadu

The total surface water potential of Tamil Nadu is about 24,864 mcm (million cubic metres). There are 17 major river basins in the state with 81 reservoirs and about 41,262 tanks.

Most surface water is tapped, mainly for irrigation. Irrigation uses maximum water. An area of 24 lakh hectares of the land is irrigated by surface water by major, medium, and minor schemes.

Ground Water Resources

In Tamil Nadu, the utilizable groundwater resource of the state is 22,423 mcm. The current utilization level is 13558 mcm which is 60% of available recharge, while about 8875 mcm (40%) is the balance available for use.

Tamil Nadu Water Resource Management

Water resource management is planning, developing, distributing, and managing the water resources such as dams, lakes, rivers, etc. The water demand increases due to an increase in population and economic activities.

The per capita availability of water resources is just 900 cubic metres when compared to the national average of 2,200 cubic metres. The largest of water usage in the State is agriculture, it consumes over 75% of the water resources. The other domestic industries have also grown significantly.

Tamil Nadu is heavily dependent upon the monsoon rains and depends on rain to recharge its water resources. This is the reason, that leads to acute water scarcity and severe droughts due to monsoon failures.

Mineral Resources

Tamil Nadu is the leading producer of vermiculite, magnetite, dunite, rutile, garnet, molybdenum, and ilmenite. 55.3% of lignite, 75% of vermiculite, 69% of dunite, 59% of garnet, 52% of molybdenum, and 30% of titanium of the country is produced in Tamil Nadu.

Important minerals found in the country are:

  • Lignite is largely available in Neyveli.

  • Coal is available in Ramanathapuram.

  • Cauvery basin has rich deposits of Oil and Gas.

  • Kanjamalai in Salem district and Kalrayan Malai region of Tiruvannamalai district has rich deposits of Iron.

  • Salem has Magnesite ores.

  • Bauxite is found in Servarayan Hills, Kotagiri, Udagamandalam, Palani and Kollimalai area.

  • Gypsum is found in Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Virudhunagar districts.

  • Ilmenite and rutile are found in the sands of Kanyakumari beach.

  • Limestone is found in Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Dindigul, Kancheepuram, Karur, Madurai, Nagapattinam, Namakkal, Perambalur, Ramanathapuram, Salem and Tiruvallur districts.

  • Magnesite is found in Coimbatore, Dharmapuri, Karur, Namakkal, Nilgiris, Salem, Tiruchirapalli, Tirunelveli and Vellore districts.

  • The other mineral found in the state is Feldspar, quartz, copper and lead.


Industries use raw materials and convert them into usable products or goods. Textiles, sugar, paper, leather, cement, electrical equipment, automobiles, information technology, and tourism are the major industries of Tamil Nadu.

Textile Industry

The textile industry is one of the traditionally well-developed industries in Tamil Nadu. The textile mills are concentrated in Coimbatore, Tirupur, Salem, Palladam, Karur, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Madurai, and Erode.

Tamil Nadu has about 3,50,000 power looms manufacturing cotton fabrics and accounts for 30% of India’s exports of textiles products. Erode in Tamil Nadu is well known for marketing handloom, power loom, and readymade garments.

Coimbatore is also known as the ‘Manchester of Tamil Nadu’. Coimbatore, Tirupur, and Erode contribute a major share to the state’s economy through textiles.

So, this region is referred to as the ‘Textile Valley of Tamil Nadu’. Karur is known as ‘The Textile capital of Tamil Nadu’.

Silk Textiles

Tamil Nadu occupies the fourth position in the country in silk production. Kancheepuram silk is unique in its quality and is known for its traditional value all over the world.

The annual silk production in Tamil Nadu is around 1200 metric tons. Kancheepuram, Arani, Kumbakonam, Salem, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Tirunelveli are the important silk-weaving centres in Tamil Nadu.

Ramanathapuram has some specialized areas for the manufacturing of synthetic silk clothes.

Leather Industry

Tamil Nadu accounts for 60% of leather tanning processes of India and 38% of all leather footwear, garments, and components. Hundreds of leather, tanneries are located around Vellore and nearby towns, such as Ranipet, Ambur, and Vaniyambadi.

The Vellore district is the top exporter of finished leather goods in the country. Vellore leather accounts for more than 37% of the country’s export of leather and leather-related products (such as finished leathers, shoes, garments, and gloves).

Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), a CSIR research laboratory, is located in Chennai.

Paper Industry

Many paper industries are located in the state. Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited (TNPL) is a government of Tamil Nadu enterprise producing newsprint and printing and writing paper at its mill located at Kagithapuram in Karur district.

It was started in 1979 with an installed capacity of 2.45 lakh MT of production per annum. TNPL is one of the most accomplished mills in the world, producing different varieties of paper of acceptable quality primarily from bagasse and pulpwood.

Other paper mills of the state are found in Pukkathurai of Kancheepuram district, Bhavanisagar, Pallipalayam, Paramathi Vellore, Coimbatore, Udamalaipet, Thoppampatti, Nilakkotai, and Cheranmahadevi.

Cement Industry

Cement production and consumption continue to grow despite the general recession in the economy. India is one of the largest cement producers and ranked second in the world with an annual production capacity of 181 million tons.

Tamil Nadu Cements Corporation Limited (TANCEM) is one of the major cement producers in Tamil Nadu operating two cement units: one at Ariyalur and another at Alangulam.

Asbestos cement sheet plant at Alangulam and stoneware pipe unit at Virudhachalam are the other units of TANCEM. Sankar Cement, Zuari Cement, Ultratech Cement, Madras Cement, and Dalmia Cement are the major private cement brands produced in Tamil Nadu.

Information Technology

According to the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), the southern states continue to account for more than half of the country’s total export of software. Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh together account for 59.6% of India’s total software exports.

Tamil Nadu is the second-largest software exporter in the country next to Karnataka. A special economic zone (SEZ) is an area in which the business and trade laws are different from the rest of the country.

SEZs are located within a country’s national borders, and their aims include increased trade balance, employment, increased investment, job creation, and effective administration.

Special Economic Zones

Special economic zones (SEZs) provide an internationally competitive and hassle-free environment for exports. Units in SEZ manufacture goods and provide a range of services.

SEZs are located in Nanguneri, Ennore, Hosur and Perambalur. IT & ITES SEZ named TIDEL-II and TIDEL-III and Bio-Pharmaceuticals SEZ are located in Chennai and Coimbatore SEZ called the TIDEL Park–IV is located in the city.

The list of IT parks in Tamil Nadu

  • Tidel Park
  • Ascendas
  • Mahindra world city
  • SEZ TIDEL-III, Coimbatore SEZ – Tidel Park.

Manufacturing & Engineering Industry

The manufacturing industry is one of the vibrant sectors of the state economy and contributes significantly to the industrial output.

The manufacturing industry broadly covers the manufacture of machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, basic metal and alloy industries, metal products, and repair of capital goods.

Tamil Nadu’s share of the industrial output is around 11–12% of the country’s output and 15% of the country’s exports excluding software. Tamil Nadu accounts for about 17% of India’s software exports.

Automobile Industries

The share of Tamil Nadu in the all-India production of automobiles and heavy vehicles is rather significant. The automobile industry plays a crucial role in the state’s economy and has been one of the key driving factors. contributing 8 percent to state GDP and giving direct employment to 2,20,000 people.

Tamil Nadu accounts for about 21% of passenger cars, 33% of commercial vehicles, and 35% of automobile components produced in India. Major automobile manufacturers like Ford, Hyundai, HM-Mitsubishi, Ashok Leyland, and TAFE have manufacturing bases in Tamil Nadu.

Chemical & Plastic Industry

The chemical industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of industry and the economy. The sector contributes 13% to the state’s GDP and constitutes 8% of the total exports of the country.

Handlooms and Powerlooms

The handloom sector in the state is the single largest cottage industry providing livelihood to a large number of rural people and promoting export earnings.

The handloom sector and its related economic activities generate gainful employment for more than 4.29 lakh weaver households and 11.64 lakh weavers in the state.

These societies mainly produce the cloth required for the scheme of ‘Free Supply of Uniforms to School Children and Free Distribution of Sarees and Dhotis Scheme’.

Sugar Industry

The sugar industry in Tamil Nadu is an important agro-based industry. It plays a vital role in the economic development of the state, particularly in rural areas.

The sugar industry provides large-scale direct employment to several thousand and indirect employment to several lakhs of farmers and agricultural laborers in the rural areas who are involved in the cultivation of sugarcane, harvesting, transporting, and other services.

There are 34 sugar mills in Tamil Nadu, of which 16 are in the cooperative sector and 18 in the private sector.

Tourism Industry

Tourism is considered an industry because of its enormous potential in creating employment for a large number of people. In recent years, the state has emerged as one of the leading tourist destinations for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Tourism in Tamil Nadu is promoted by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC). The state currently ranks the highest among Indian states with about 25 crore arrivals (in 2013).

The annual growth rate of this industry stood at 16%. Approximately 28 lakh foreign and 11 crore domestic tourists visit our state annually.

The presence of ancient monuments, pilgrim centres, hill stations, a variety of natural landscapes, long coastline, along with rich culture and heritage make Tamil Nadu the best destination for tourists.

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* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.
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