SEPC bats for industry status

Abhay Sinha, Director General, Service Export Promotion Council (SEPC), shares that SEIS will go a long way in helping the service sector exporters, including those in the travel, tourism and hospitality segments, as they will be able to claim benefits under the scheme, for which `2,061 crore has been provisioned.

Nisha Verma

The services sector in India is committed to achieving $1 trillion exports by 2030 and the share of Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) will go a long way in giving much-needed impetus to the service sector exports, believes Abhay Sinha, Director General, Service Export Promotion Council (SEPC).

Talking about the scheme, Sinha said, “More than 45,000 exporters, most of them from the MSME sector, will get benefitted and it will help in the rapid growth of exports in the coming months and spur employment. Service sector exporters, including those in the travel, tourism and hospitality segments, will be able to claim benefits of SEIS, for which `2,061 crore has been provisioned. The disbursement is set for FY 2021-22.”

Engaging with government

When it comes to working with the government for SEIS, Sinha said, “We believe that the Government of India views the services sector on par with manufacturing and provides equal attention. The services sector contributes nearly 60 per cent of the total exports, and while the government and Ministry of Commerce oppose the system of financial incentives for any sector, they need to provide incentives to motivate and encourage businesses. The ability to generate employment is quite large in the services sector compared to the manufacturing sector. The more you invest, the more is potential in the services sector. Similarly, the services exports help in overcoming the balance of payment deficit in the manufacturing and other sectors. Our efforts are to help the sector achieve a status that is on par with manufacturing.”

Discontinuing SEIS?

Claiming that the mood in the government is to discontinue the SEIS, Sinha said, “Our endeavour with the government is to work closely with them to convince it to have a different set of benefits in case the SEIS is discontinued. We are recommending something along the lines of Refund of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) for the services exporters to remain competitive with counterparts internationally.”

Industry and infra status

When asked about the need for industry and infrastructure status for tourism and hospitality, he said, “Travel and tourism not only generate employment, but also bring in the vital foreign exchange for the country and remains a major contributor to the country’s GDP. As far as contribution to employment is concerned, in 2018, the tourism sector generated 8.1 per cent of the total employment in India by providing 42.7 million jobs. “The same is expected to rise to 53 million jobs by 2029. If the government intends to grow the services exports up to $1 trillion by 2030, there is need for a comprehensive policy to propel the kind of growth. Tourism and travel is an industry that requires heavy capital investment and enhanced infrastructure. Giving it its due is bound to support growth,” he emphasised.

Way forward

Sinha suggested that the tourism sector needs to be given industry status. “Tourism related services have been a completely unorganised sector and the sector needs to get a proper status and benefits like other services sectors. The Ministry of Commerce can work with the Ministry of Tourism on identification of such players and support them.


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