India's services sector must gear up to take advantage of Industrial Revolution 4.0, which will create huge opportunities in high tech manufacturing, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today. Emphasising on the growing importance of services sector, she said India has also relaxed its visa regime to facilitate movement of tourists and businesses. At global platforms people are talking about Industrial Revolution 4.0 which would open huge opportunities for Indian companies in the services sector as there is a "servicification" of manufacturing, she said. In manufacturing of goods, "a huge degree of services" are involved, Sitharaman said. The next level of industrial revolution encompasses use of robotics, artificial intelligence and increasing digitisation in which, according to experts, there is a big role of services sector. The country is very strong in the segment and "there is so much opportunity for India," the minister said at the Global Exhibition on Services here. Citing a WTO report, she said that in 2014-15, there was a dip in global services trade but during the same period, India recorded two-and-a-half times more growth. India's share in the global services trade stood at 3.3 per cent and "government is facilitating the sector with its policies", she added. Talking about the importance of visa regime for the sector, Sitharaman said that from April 1 India has liberalised it for businesses, tourists and also for students. Obtaining a visa in the country today is a simple process through online, she said. She added that medical tourist visa numbers have increased to 96,000 during the first half of 2016 as compared to 1.34 lakh in 2015 and 75,000 in 2014. On the exhibition, the minister said 550 players from India and abroad are participating in the four-day event. Participants from 73 countries have come to attend this function. Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said that during the past few months there has been a slowdown in certain services like IT and financial, but faster growth has been seen in travel business, communications, transportation and insurance. She said that along with large business houses, huge opportunities are there for medium scale units in the services sector. "We also need to focus on quality aspects for services," she said, adding that foreign direct investment has increased from 1.7 per cent of GDP to 3.2 per cent of GDP this year and a lot of these inflows are coming in services space. The sector is growing at CAGR of 9.2 per cent and during the year, "we will achieve at least 8.8 per cent" growth, Teaotia said. She said the government has focused on concerted efforts in developing a coherent and comprehensive policy framework for the sector. Services sector contributes about 60 per cent in the country's economic growth. Speaking at the occasion, Rajasthan's Industry Minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat said the state holds huge potential in areas like hospitality, tourism and IT. MSME, Export Promotion and Textiles Minister of Uttar Pradesh Satyadev Pachauri also sought investments from both foreign and domestic investors in the sector. He also urged the Centre to develop the Jewar airport as it would help in promoting tourism industry of the state. Seeking investments, Commerce and Industry Minister of Assam Chandra Mohan Patowary asked domestic airline players to consider operating flights from Guwahati to the South East Asian countries. The third edition of the Global Exhibition of Services is being organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry together with CII and SEPC. Six ministers from different countries are participating at the GES.
Besides, 550 exhibitors from over 70 countries are also taking part in the exhibition. More than 20,000 visitors are expected to attend the exhibition. It will witness over 5,000 business meetings and deliberations at more than 30 seminars. Meanwhile, a CII-Deloitte report on services suggested that the potential areas for expansion include advisory services for the world in digital transformation. It also stated that trade facilitation in services is a positive move and can help increase the ease of doing business while providing some more certainty to service providers. To promote space sector, it has recommended the government to encourage private players in the industry to develop capacity and capability in pursuing space activities for future technology development. "India needs to focus on setting ground rules for international space cooperation with respect to other countries such as the USA, China and Russia," it said. On cyber security, it said India needs to capitalise on the advantages that it has and rapidly accelerate its capabilities and capacity in this space by offering a complete portfolio of services to assist enterprises establish their cyber security programmes. Further, it added that the 'Make in India' initiative which encourages global companies to manufacture in India, will lead to increased R&D investments provided issues such as ease of doing business and complex regulations are addressed.
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