Friday, February 25, 2011

Survey pegs services sector growth at 9.6%

New Delhi, Feb 25:

The Economic Survey has pegged the services sector growth at 9.6 per cent for the current fiscal, lower than the 10.1 per cent expansion in the previous fiscal, though the outlook remains bright.

"This (9.6 per cent growth) is despite global deceleration in the sector," the Survey for 2010-11 tabled in Parliament by the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, said.

Growth rate in the current fiscal is expected to be 19.5 per cent for IT-BPO services, 18.5 per cent for exports and 22.8 per cent for domestic IT related services.

India is the second fastest emerging country in the services sector, behind China (10.5 per cent).

Going ahead, the Survey notes that "the outlook for the services sector, which had slightly dimmed due to the fallout of the sub-prime crisis in the US and the global financial crisis, has once again brightened.''

The sector, growing by 10 per cent annually, contributes 55.2 per cent to the GDP and a quarter of the total employment. It also contributes over one-third of the country's total exports, besides accounting for a higher share in foreign direct investment (FDI), the Survey noted.

As per the advance estimates for 2010-11, the two broad services categories — trade, hotels, transport and communication and financing, insurance, real estate and business services — have performed well with a growth of 11 per cent and 10.6 per cent, respectively.

The Economic Survey said only community, social and personal services have registered a low growth of 5.7 per cent, thus contributing to the slight deceleration in the growth of the sector.

Financial and non-financial services sector, which falls purely in the services category, is the largest recipient of FDI equity inflows with a 21 per cent share.

In terms of exports, India is also moving towards services-led export growth. In the first half of the fiscal, services export growth was 27.4 per cent despite a dip due to the global crisis, which was due to a fall in the share of merchandise trade to GDP.

While the outlook is bright, it said the sector was also facing many challenges. One of the challenges is to retain India's competitiveness in sectors like telecommunications and IT & ITeS, where the country has already made a mark.

Making inroads into some traditional areas such as tourism and shipping where other countries have already established themselves, is another challenge, it notes

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