By Loraine Kennedy et al. 


Chance2Sustain City Report - Chennai

May 2014

Chennai is the largest metropolitan city in South India (8.7 million in 2011) and the provincial capital of the large state of Tamil Nadu (population 72 million in 2011). Before that, under British rule, the city was the capital of the Madras Presidency, and was known as Madras until 1996, when the name was officially changed to Chennai. Located on the east coast of India, on the Bay of Bengal, sea trade has been an important aspect of the regional economy since at least the colonial period. Still today, the city combines political functions with economic command functions for both manufacturing and services, reflecting the region’s diversified economy.


The Chennai metropolitan area has witnessed strong growth over the last 20 years in automobile manufacturing, software services, hardware manufacturing, healthcare and financial services (CDP 2009). However, it should be noted that only 30% of total employment in the city takes place in the formal sector i.e., is covered by contracts and labour laws, the remaining 70% falls in the informal sector. This underscores the importance of small and micro enterprises and self-employment for providing goods, services and livelihoods in the local economy.


Read the Chennai city report

Chance2Sustain City Report Series - ISSN 2309-8198