'Services need to gear up for Industrial Revolution 4.0'

'Services need to gear up for Industrial Revolution 4.0'

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 on Monday.

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, Nirmala 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% and “government is facilitating the sector with its policies”, she added.

Talking about the importance of visa regime for the sector, Nirmala 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 when compared with 1.34 lakh in 2015 and 75,000 in 2014. 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% of GDP to 3.2% of GDP this year and a lot of these inflows are coming in services space.

The sector is growing at CAGR of 9.2% and during the year, “we will achieve at least 8.8%” growth, Teaotia said.