Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal today complimented the service sector for its excellent performance in exports and asked all stakeholders to focus on the natural competitive advantages of our country. He was addressing the inaugural session of Services Export Promotion Councils’s (SEPC) India@2047: Services Sector Exports Strategy ‘Skilling and Internationalization of Higher Education’.
Stressing upon the need for India to get out of the colonial mindset, as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech, Goyal said that if the nation had to progress, it should leverage its capabilities and work with self-confidence.
He stated unequivocally that subsidies make the industry uncompetitive and that the government’s strategy on subsidies was focused on the poor and the needy. He urged SEPC to relentlessly pursue ambitious targets, and said that these targets not get affected by small subsidies and incentives.
Citing the example of India’s LED lighting revolution, Goyal said that the foremost step that ensured the success of the initiative was removal of subsidies. He further elaborated on how the government used economies of scale and shored up the demand for LED bulb, ultimately bringing down prices drastically and improving quality substantially. Shri Goyal asked the service sector to focus on innovation and on building competitive advantages. He said that we must move beyond the traditional and be modern, contemporary and practical in our outlook.
Speaking of the Foreign Trade Policy, the release of which has been deferred, the Minister said that Export Promotion Councils wanted the Foreign Trade Policy to be aligned with the next Financial Year. He added that they wanted more time to make presentations for inclusion of certain aspects in the new policy for consideration of the government. The government wants to break silos and work with EPCs and all other stakeholders and play the role of a non-intrusive facilitator, Goyal said. He said the services sector had set an export target of $350 billion, which it was on track to achieve.He also urged the EPCs to consider exploring new markets such as South America and Africa.
Speaking of India’s burgeoning education sector, Goyal observed that the New Education Policy, the result of five years of consultations, had opened up the sector to wider engagement with the world. He said that top educational institutions across the world were very keen to collaborate with eminent Indian universities, host campuses of Indian universities abroad and engage in student exchange programs. Referring to PM Modi’s instructions to Indian Missions across the world during which he stressed on 3 Ts- Trade, Tourism and Technology, Shri Goyal said that dedicated efforts were underway both within and outside India, efforts which ensured record exports from India in the previous year.
The Minister said India had skills, talent and knowledge that no other country has, and the high quality of our education is now globally recognized. He added that Indian technocrats were spearheading innovation, venture capital, startups and investment in several developed nations across the world. Alluding to the future potential of the knowledge economy of which internet of things, big data, data mining etc are a part, he expressed confidence that India’s capability in the knowledge economy was unparalleled.
The Minister said that the government was responsive to the requests of all stakeholders in the services sector and in all our FTA negotiations we have been focusing on getting greater market access to the service sector. Referring to prevailing global headwinds, the Minister said that India had always been resilient enough to withstand adversity and emerge successful.