The Small Industries Department was carved out of the Industries department with effect from 14.07.93. Consequent to the enactment of the Micro Small & Medium Enterprises Development Act 2006 on 02.10.2006, the department was renamed as Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Department (MSME Department) in consonance with the Government of India Policy from 22.02.2008.

The MSME Department deals with policy matters relating to the MSME sector and formulates schemes for the development of the sector. The Commissionerate of Industries & Commerce, the Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI) and the two State Public Sector undertakings viz., Tamilnadu Small Industries Corporation Limited (TANSI) and Tamilnadu Small Industries Development Corporation (TANSIDCO) also function under the administrative control of the MSME Department.

The Commissionerate has been in existence for over 100 years and is one among the oldest in the state. The Commissionerate of Industries and Commerce implements these schemes through the General Manager District Industries Centres in the 31 districts. In respect of Chennai, the Regional Joint Director implements the schemes. These Centres provide a variety of services to the entrepreneurs, like, identification of activities, the preparation of project profiles, obtaining financial assistance from various financial institutions, statutory clearances from Government Departments, sanction and disbursement of eligible subsidies and facilitation in obtaining delayed payments.

The Commissionerate also acts as the Budgetary and drawing authority for the State Undertakings Viz, TANSI, TANSIDCO, SIPCOT, TIIC and EDI Limited.