About Economy

There is an inscriptions from the 8th to the 14th centuries (during the reign of the Pandyas, Cholas and later Tenkasi Pandyas) show the development of Tirunelveli as a centre of economic growth which developed around the Nellaiappar temple. The ancillary parts of the province also flourished and very prosperous during the reign of the Vijayanagara kings. From 1550 until the early modern epoch, migration to the city from other parts of the state was general and the urban regions became heart of manufacturing and commerce.

Here, Tirunelveli was a strategic point, connecting the eastern and western parts of the peninsula, as well as a trading centre. The records of sea and overland trade between the year 1700 and 1850 shows close trading connections with Kerala, and Sri Lanka. During the 1840s, cotton produced in the region was in need for British mills. The most important exports during British regime were cotton, jiggery, chilies, tobacco, Palmyra fiber, salt, dried saltwater fish and cattle.

The main activity of the Tirunelveli is including service-sector activities such as administration, agricultural trading, tourism, banking, agro-machinery and educational services. In the year 1991, the Tirunelveli district ranked second in the number of women workers. Here, service sectors such as tourism have developed, due to a growth in religious tourism. It has Beedi and cement factories, tobacco companies, workshops for steel-based products and mills for cotton textiles, spinning and weaving; there are also small-scale industries, such as tanneries and brick kilns. The agricultural areas, hand-woven clothes and household industries contribute to the economic growth of the city.

Food-processing industries have been developed in the late 1990s; at the district level, it is the main industrial segment. Industries engaging rice-making, blue-jelly metal manufacturing and gem power generating are situated on the suburbs of the city. The main agricultural produce in the region is paddy and cotton. Here, Beedi production during the 1990s earned an annual revenue of ₹190 billion and a foreign exchange of ₹8 billion across the three districts of Tirunelveli, Tiruchirappalli and Vellore districts. Tirunelveli is a important area for wind-power generation.

Most wind-power-generation units in Tamil Nadu are situated in Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari Districts. In the year 2005 they contributed 2036.9 MW to the state power-generation capacity. Here, many private, multinational wind companies are situated on the suburbs of the city. In June 2007 the Tata Group signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government to open a titanium dioxide plant, with an estimated value of ₹25 billion, in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi Districts. Nevertheless, the state government put the project on hold after rising protests against the project.