NEW DELHI (TIP): The Government will set up a joint task force for the services sector together with the industry to prepare an action plan for the development of the sector and increase services exports, according to Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma. Agreeing to the industry’s suggestion of setting up a National Services Competitive Council on the lines of National Manufacturing Competitive Council, Sharma said “We have to have a forum to address the varied needs of the sector and to identify training and other needs of each vertical.” He was speaking at the ‘Services Conclave’ jointly organised by CII and the Centre for WTO Studies. The two-day conclave focuses on ways to boost the domestic services industry and increase India’s share in the $4-trillion global services trade from the present 3 per cent.

The Minister said the services sector exports, by and large, were from verticals such as IT, ITES and BPO sectors. There was a lot of scope to diversify in segments such as animation, media and entertainment, legal servicing, architecture, healthcare, tourism and medical tourism. Sharma asked industry representatives to come forward and help the Government, to take up at various international forums the need for more liberal movement of skilled persons under Mode 4 of World Trade Organisation rules. Often movement of skilled persons is confused with immigration, though such movements are temporary in nature, he said The Minister also asked the industry to explore new markets such as Africa to boost India’s export of services. “Even for services sector we need to look at other major markets. We have a strong presence in North America. Regions such as Africa have huge opportunities and there you can be more cost competitive,” he said.