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New Delhi : Union Commerce and Industry Minister Goyal on November 9, 2021, said that India is poised to achieve services export target of $1 trn by 2030. He was addressing a gathering at the ‘Services Export Promotion Ccouncil- Global Services Conclave 2021” in New Delhi.

The Minister said that Services are a key driver of India’s economic growth. He said that services sector provides employment to nearly 2.6 crore people and contributes approximately 40% to India’s total global exports. He added that Services trade surplus was $89 bn in FY 2020-21 and it has been the largest FDI recipient (53% of FDI inflows 2000-2021), acc0rding to a PIB release. The theme of the Global Services Conclave 2021 was India Serves: Exploring Potential Growth Sectors Beyond IT/ITes’.

Emphasising that Service sector is our competitive advantage, powered by Skills, Startups and IT Solutions, the Minister said that today, Indian services have the twin power of universal acceptance and universal attraction. Lauding India’s commitment to enable ‘work from Home’ during the pandemic,  Goyal said that while services trade remained depressed in other countries, India’s services sector showed immense resilience.”Sectors like tourism, hospitality, etc. which suffered due to Covid-19, are showing revival signs,” he added.

Appreciating the spirit that led to rise through the tough times faced by the sector,i Goyal said that tough times don’t last, but tough people do. He expressed his admiration for the selfless service of all frontline workers during the Covid 19 pandemic. The Minister said that in 2020, India became the 7th largest services exporter in the world, moving up the ladder by two positions. Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to a decade high of 58.4 in October 2021, he said.

Emphasizing that India had the potential to become the top services exporter in the world, Goyal said that Services is boosting India’s transition from an Assembly economy to a Knowledge based economy. Global sentiments are changing from ‘Why India’ to now “Serve the world from India”, he said.

Observing that India has transformed from being the ‘Back office’ to the ‘Brain office’ of the world, the Minister said that Microsoft, Google etc. call India “A home away from home” as they have the biggest offices outside US in India. Goyal said that today, India’s Services export largely comprise of IT/ITes and stressed that we need to focus on other potential growth sectors.

The Minister listed certain crucial sectors which can catapult India’s services sector on a high growth trajectory such as Higher Education. He spoke of the massive potential for Online training courses, language courses, the horizons of which have been further expanded by the New Education Policy. He observed that students from US, Canada, UAE, South Korea etc. prefer India for heritage, art, and culture studies.

Speaking of the Tourism & Hospitality sector, Goyal said that in FY20, tourism sector accounted for 39 mn jobs, 8% of the total employment.He said that hospitality industry has big potential and many developed countries can take a lesson or two from India. In the field of healthcare, the Minister said that India is the 2nd largest supplier of nurses to OECD, Gulf countries , and Asian countries like Singapore & Malaysia.

Referring to the Audio-visual sector he said that India exported $ 835 mn worth of AV services in 19-20. He also highlighted the huge opportunities that lie in Cloud gaming, Virtual reality, etc He said that the Government supported service sector through Aatmanirbhar Bharat Package, Collateral-free Automatic Loans for Businesses, including MSMEs. He said that Rs  56,027 crore was released under various Export Promotion schemes with Rs 10,002 crore released under SEIS. The Minister said that 12 sectors had been brought under Champion Services Sector Scheme and added that BIS had set up the Services Sector Divisional Council.

Goyal said that the  Zero Government interference has enabled IT sector to excel. He appreciated the sector for not pursing incentives but standing on its competitive strength. He suggested the replication of the Bengaluru IT model in other parts of India and the establishment of service industries in India like MRO of ships/aircrafts, Environment consulting etc. He also said there is a need to expand markets for Legal/Accounting professionals.