Salem District is one of the 38 districts of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. The district is now divided into Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Namakkal as individual districts. Salem is the district headquarters and other major towns in the district include Mettur, Thammampatti, Attur, Omalur, Sankagiri and Edappadi. That Salem dates to at least two thousand years ago is evident from the discovery of silver coins from the Roman Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (37-68 CE) found by Koneripatti of Salem in 1987. It was ruled by Mazhavar King Kolli Mazhavan and kings Adhiyaman and Valvil Ori of Sangam age. It is part of Kongu Nadu & Mazhanadu, a vast region that dates to the 2nd century BCE. Salem was the largest district of Tamil Nadu. It was bifurcated into Salem and Dharmapuri districts in 1965 and Namakkal district in 1997. Now Salem has been developed a lot by building many bridges and is considered to be the smart city. Salem is famous for cultivating mangoes.
According to 2011 census, Salem district had a population of 3,482,056 with a sex-ratio of 954 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929. A total of 344,960 were under the age of six, constituting 180,002 males and 164,958 females. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 16.67% and 3.43% of the population respectively. The average literacy of the district was 72.86%, compared to the national average of 72.99%. The district had a total of 915,967 households. There were a total of 1,694,160 workers, comprising 247,011 cultivators, 396,158 main agricultural labourers, 132,700 in household industries, 785,161 other workers, 133,130 marginal workers, 9,993 marginal cultivators, 58,052 marginal agricultural labourers, 8,803 marginal workers in household industries and 56,282 other marginal workers.
Salem district has many educational institutions including Government schools,Sona College of Technology(Autonomous),Thiagarajar Polytechnic College (Autonomous),Indian Institute of Hand loom Technology, Government Polytechnic college, Central law college,Sarada institutions, Mohan kumaramangalam college(Medical), private schools like St.paul's higher secondary school(Maravaneri),Malco Vidyalaya, Holy Angels', St.Johns, Cluny, Holy cross, Little Flower, St.Joseph Schools. Hundred years traditional institution Government arts college (autonomous), Government arts college for women and the Government College of Engineering (autonomous)and Periyar University and Vinayaka Mission University.
The Salem handloom industry is one of the most ancient cottage industries and producing quality sari, dothi and angavasthram out of silk yarn and cotton yarn. In the recent past, home furnishing items are also woven, mainly for export purposes. More than 75,000 handlooms are working and the total value of cloth produced per annum is estimated at Rs.50000 crores. With more than 125 spinning mills, with modern weaving units and garment units Salem established itself as one of the major textile center in Tamil Nadu .The history of handloom and spinning mills dates back to pre-independence period in Salem. But till 1960s there were fewer than 5 spinning mills. Private handloom weaving started thriving in the region along with the large scale cooperative sector handloom weaving and marketing units. Small scale hand dying units were started around the region to the industry. Around 1980s the textile industry grew significantly. Many major spinning mills and waste spinning units came up into existence. Many Handloom societies and dying houses were established. New and increased number of Power Loom units were mushroomed in the places like Gugai, Ammapet, Attayampatti, Mallasamudram, Vennanthur, Magudanchavadi, Rasipuram, Komarapalayam, Pallipalayam, Jalakandapuram and Elampillai.
The Salem region also houses the Tamil Nadu largest number of Sago industries which are engaged in the production Sago Foods and Starch. In Salem District alone, 34000 hectares of land is under tapioca cultivation which is the raw material for the sago industries and there are 650 units engaged in tapioca processing. In and around Salem the yield of tapioca is about 25-30 T/ha, highest in the World. National average is 19 T/ha and World average production stands at 10 T/ha. Hence it is called land of sago. In 1981, Salem Starch and Sago Manufacturers Service Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd(popularly called as SAGOSERVE) was established to promote the growth of sago industries. Nearly 80% of the national demand for Sago and Starch is being met by the Sagoserv.
Salem Steel Plant, a special steel unit of Steel Authority of India Ltd have their plant located in Salem which produces Cold rolled stainless steel and Hot rolled stainless steel/carbon steel. The plant can produce Austenitic, ferritic, Martensite and low-nickel stainless steel in the form of coils and sheets with an installed capacity of 70,000 tonnes/year in Cold Rolling Mill and 1,86,000 tonnes/year in Hot Rolling Mill. In addition, the plant has country's first top-of-the-line stainless steel blanking facility with a capacity of 3,600 tonnes/year of coin blanks and utility blanks/circles. Expansion and modernisation of Salem Steel Plant is ongoing. The plan envisages installation of Steel Melting and Continuous Casting facilities to produce 1,80,000 tonnes of slabs along with expansion of Cold Rolling Mill complex, enhancing the capacity of Cold Rolled Stainless Steel Products from 65,000 TPA to 1,46,000 TPA and an additional Roll Grinding Machine for Hot Rolling Mill for increasing production to 3,64,000 TPA. The total project area is 1130 acres and cost of the project is 1780 crores.
Southern Iron & Steel Company Ltd (joint venture with JSW Steel) the first integrated steel plant of India at a cost of 2,235 Crores, located near Salem for the production of TMT corrosion resistant bars/alloy steels. The Salem plant is the largest special steel plant in India aims to develop the Kanjamalai, Kavuthimalai and Vediappanmalai iron ore mines in Tamil Nadu on receipt of requisite approvals to improve raw material security. This will facilitate expansion of production capacity to 2 MTPA. It will also allow the unit to diversify into the production of value-added products such as annealed, drawn and peeled steel. The plant is continuously working to develop special grades for critical automotive applications
The Madras Aluminium Company Ltd (MALCO) is part of Vedanta Resources Plc, a London Stock Exchange listed FTSE 100 diversified metals and mining major. MALCO has a state-of-the-art, coal-based Captive Power Plant at the same location which was commissioned in the year 1999. In the year 2004 MALCO augmented its smelter capacity from earlier 25,000TPA to 40,000TPA. It generates 100 MW power from 4 units of 25MW each through power plant located at Mettur, Tamil Nadu. Around 90% of the entire power generated is exported; the rest is used internally. Efficient plant operations enabled MALCO to achieve a higher plant load factor since existence.
The region around Salem is rich in mineral ores. Salem has one of the largest Magnesite, Bauxite and also Iron ore deposits in India. It has many magnesite factories operated by private and public sectors such as Burn Standard & Co, Dalmia Magnesites and Tata Refractories, SAIL refractories The Leigh Bazaar market in Salem is the biggest regional market for agro products. Narasus coffee one of the famous coffee in Tamil Nadu, Nandhi Dall Mills the oldest flour mill company, BSP refineries (Usha Refined Sunflower Oil) are other few companies have their presence in Salem.
Being one of the fastest growing tier II cities, the Tamil Nadu government and ELCOT are planning to establish an IT park in Salem covering about 160 acres (0.65 km2). SAIL is planning a Steel SEZ inside the Salem Steel plant covering about 250 acres (1.0 km2) There is an exclusive Electrical and Electronics Industrial Estate in the Suramangalam area of Salem city. Coimbatore-Erode-Salem stretch was well known for Industries and Textile processings and it is announced as Coimbatore-Salem Industrial Corridor and further development works are carried by SIPCOT Linking .