" I strongly believe that India has a lot of latest entrepreneurial energy, which needs to be harnessed so that we become a nation of job givers, more than job seekers. " -Shri. Narendra Modi, Honourable Prime Minister of India.
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The services sector, with around 52 per cent contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014-15, has made rapid strides in the past decade and a half to emerge as the largest and one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy. The services sector is not only the dominant sector in India's GDP, but has also attracted significant foreign investment flows, contributed significantly to exports as well as provided large-scale employment. India's services sector covers a wide variety of activities such as trade, hotel and restaurants, transport, storage and communication, financing, insurance, real estate, business services, community, social and personal services, and services associated with construction.

Market Size

The services sector contributed US$ 783 billion to the 2014-15 GDP (at constant prices) growing at Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9 per cent, faster than the overall GDP CAGR of 6.2 per cent in the past four years.

Out of overall services sector, the sub-sector comprising financial services, real estate and professional services contributed US$ 305.8 billion or 20.5 per cent to the GDP. The sub-sector of community, social and personal services contributed US$ 188.2 billion or 12.6 per cent to the GDP. The third-largest sub-segment comprising trade, repair services, hotels and restaurants contributed nearly equal or US$ 187.9 billion or 12.5 per cent to the GDP, while growing the fastest at 11.7 per cent CAGR over the period 2011-12 to 2014-15.


The Indian services sector has attracted the highest amount of FDI equity inflows in the period April 2000-September 2015, amounting to about US$ 45.38 billion which is about 17 per cent of the total foreign inflows, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

Some of the developments and major investments by companies in the services sector in the recent past are as follows:

  • Credit Analysis and Research (CARE Ratings) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan Credit Rating Agency, Ltd (JCR) to collaborate with each other as strategic business partners.
  • Shuttl, an Indian bus aggregator platform headquartered in Gurgaon, has raised US$ 20 million in Series A funding from Lightspeed, Sequoia India and Times Internet Ltd.
  • Indian logistics platform Rivigo has raised US$ 30 million in debt and equity in Series B financing round, led by SAIF Partners. The firm aims to use the raised funds to achieve its target of scaling 10 times in the next 12 months.
  • India had the strongest activity in office leasing space in Asia and accounted for half of Asia's total office leasing in third quarter of 2015, with Delhi being the most active market@.
  • Fairfax India will look to acquire controlling stake in collateral management and weather advisory firm National Collateral Management Services (NCML) where the deal size could be $150-180 million.
  • Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, plans to invest Rs 31,700 crore (US$ 4.76 billion) in India in addition to the US$ 2 billion investment it committed two years ago, in expanding its network of warehouses, data centers and increasing its online marketplace, besides launching an instant video and subscription-based ecommerce services for high-end buyers, called Amazon Prime, later this year.
  • The private security services industry in India is expected to register a growth of over 20 per cent over the next few years, doubling its market size to Rs 80,000 crore (US$ 12 billion) by 2020.
  • The Government of India has awarded a contract worth Rs 1,370 crore (US$ 210 million) to Ricoh India Ltd and Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL) to modernise 129,000 post offices through automation.
  • Taxi service aggregator Ola plans to double operations to 200 cities in current fiscal year. The company, which is looking at small towns for growth, also plans to invest in driver eco-system, such as training centers and technology upgrade, besides adding 1,500 to 2,000 women drivers as part of its pink cab service by women for women.
  • JP Morgan Asset Management (UK) Ltd, JP Morgan Investment Management Inc and JP Morgan Chase Bank NA, have together acquired 4.11 per cent stake in Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Ltd for Rs 113.75 crore (US$ 17.1 million).

Government Initiatives

The Government of India recognises the importance of promoting growth in services sectors and provides several incentives in wide variety of sectors such as health care, tourism, education, engineering, communications, transportation, information technology, banking, finance, management, among others.

The Government of India has adopted a few initiatives in the recent past. Some of these are as follows:

  • The Central Government is considering a two-rate structure for the goods and service tax(GST), under which key services will be taxed at a lower rate compared to the standard rate, which will help to minimize the impact on consumers due to increase in service tax.
  • By December 2016, the Government of India plans to take mobile network to nearly 10 per cent of Indian villages that are still unconnected.
  • The Government of India has proposed provide tax benefits for transactions made electronically through credit/debit cards, mobile wallets, net banking and other means, as part of broader strategy to reduce use of cash and thereby constrain the parallel economy operating outside legitimate financial system.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed third-party white label automated teller machines (ATM) to accept international cards, including international prepaid cards, and has also allowed white label ATMs to tie up with any commercial bank for cash supply.

Road Ahead

Services sector growth is governed by both domestic and global factors. The sector is expected to perform well in FY16. Some improvement in global growth and recovery in industrial growth will drive the services sector to grow 7.4 per cent in FY16 (FY15: 7.3 per cent) as per Mr Dilip Chenoy, MD and CEO of National Skill Development Corporation. The Indian facilities management market is expected to grow at 17 per cent CAGR between 2015 and 2020 and surpass the $19 billion mark supported by booming real estate, retail, and hospitality sectors. The performance of trade, hotels and restaurants, and transport, storage and communication sectors are expected to improve in FY16. Loss of growth momentum in commodity-producing sectors had adversely impacted transport and storage sectors over the past two years. The financing, insurance, real estate, and business services sectors are also expected to continue their good run in FY16. The growth performance of the community, social and personal services sector is directly linked with government expenditure and we believe that the government will remain committed to fiscal consolidation in FY16.

Exchange Rate Used: INR 1 = US$ 0.015 as on December 17, 2015

References: Media Reports, Press Releases, DIPP publication, Press Information Bureau, India budget 2015-16

Disclaimer: ECI is not responsible for any errors in the information