The 8th Global Economic Summit kicked off in Mumbai today with an aim to promote business competitiveness in the international trade. The Summit provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs and MSMEs to engage with experts, business leaders, technocrats from India and over 25 countries.
A resilient services sector is key to the success of Government of India’s flagship programs such as Make in India, Skill India, Digital India and Standup India, among others. The Summit’s focus on the service industry comes at a time when the Government of India is planning to increase the size of the service sector industry to USD 3 trillion by 2025. The Summit discussed issues propelling India’s speedy transition towards a digital economy driven by innovative technologies and their impact on financial services, retail, urban transportation, logistics, tourism, real estate and a host of other new age services.
Today’s transitional global economy is spearheaded by the services sector paving new opportunities in every sphere of economic activity. With service sector representing 50-60 per cent of economic activities countries like India and China, the GES will examine its impact on agriculture and manufacturing sectors, digital trade, data protection and privacy and digital innovation that is needed to make businesses competitive.
Speaking on this occasion, Dr Aaditya Mattoo, Research Manager, Trade and International Integration, Development Research Group, World Bank said, “India must adopt an innovative approach to international cooperation in the services sector. Such an approach calls for negotiating domestic regulatory reforms to satisfy the interest of consumers in our import partners and securing reciprocal cooperation from foreign countries in other regulatory areas.”
The inaugural session of the Summit was attended by more than 400 Indian and international delegates representing trade and industry, consular corps, academic institutions and think tanks, among others.
Speaking about employment creation in the service sector, Dr Mattoo said, “Availability of skilled labour is the critical factor for productivity in the services sector. When it comes to job creation in the service sector, skill scarcity is a greater problem than skill intensity. In order to promote skill development, the government must encourage competition, remove burdensome regulation and introduce progressive policies in higher education.”
With 50 per cent of Indians slated to live in urban areas by 2050, the GES will be also discussing the opportunities in the service-oriented development such as energy supply, waste management and digitized service delivery in the smart cities project.
Dr Robert B. Koopman, Chief Economic and Director, Economic Research and Statistics Division, World Trade Organization remarked, “Although services account for only 22% of world trade, this understates the importance of this sector to the economy. The services sector contributes 49% of world trade in value-added terms and it accounts for 50% of world employment. Efficient service sector plays an important role in enhancing the competitiveness of agriculture and manufacturing sectors in an economy. Services such as logistics and finance are a crucial ingredient for trade in goods. Advancement in information and communication technologies will reduce the cost of service trade across borders.”
Besides debates, discussions and exhibition, the Summit will see Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Business-to-Government (B2G) and Government-to-Government (G2G) meetings, Award show, field visits to Nashik, including engineering cluster, winery and food processing unit.