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The Services Story


A comprehensive research report by the renowned investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, titled ‘India’s Emergence as the Global Services Hub,’ delves into India’s recent accomplishments in the global services sector and offers insights into its future growth and associated risks.


  • GS2- Government Policies & Interventions
  • GS3- Growth and Development

Mains Question:

As per a recent report by the renowned investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, India’s export growth rate ranks third globally since 2005, trailing only Singapore and Ireland. In this context, discuss the factors that have led to this feat and the challenges that India faces in the further expansion of exports. (15 Marks, 250 Words).

More on the Report:

  • The report highlights India’s remarkable journey in the IT services domain since the pivotal economic reforms of 1991. The IT sector in India has emerged as a significant contributor to the nation’s GDP and overall welfare.
  • In the fiscal year 2022, it accounted for 7.4% of India’s GDP, and projections suggest that by 2025, it will make up 10% of the GDP.
  • The combined revenue of the IT and BPM industries is estimated to have reached $245 billion in the fiscal year 2023.
  • The market size of India’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector was valued at $273.50 billion in the current year and is forecasted to reach $421.59 billion within five years, demonstrating a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.04% during the forecast period.
  • However, the report adopts a broader perspective, encompassing various service exports over the past 18 years, including professional consulting, which has shown rapid growth, and travel services, which have been comparatively slower.
  • The report also identifies financial services as a potential beneficiary of initiatives like the GIFT City project.
  • Over the mentioned period, India’s intangible exports surged at a rate twice that of global services exports, amounting to nearly $340 billion last year.
  • Impressively, India’s export growth rate ranks third globally since 2005, trailing only Singapore and Ireland.
  • Furthermore, India’s share in global services exports has risen significantly from under 2% in 2005 to 4.6% in 2023, while its contribution to goods exports also experienced a notable increase from 1% to 1.8% during the same period.
  • The surge in services trade has provided crucial support to India’s external balances, shielding them from shocks like the soaring costs of oil imports.

Expectations Raised:

  • Goldman Sachs anticipates this trend to persist, with services exports projected to reach $800 billion by 2030.
  • While slightly below the government’s ambitious target of $1 trillion by 2030 for both services and merchandise exports, sustained growth in high-value services is expected to stimulate premium discretionary spending and drive demand in real estate, according to the firm’s analysis.

Concerns Associated:

  • However, the immediate outlook remains uncertain, especially for leading IT services firms, still dominant in India’s export landscape, as they have downsized their workforce over the past year and issued cautious growth forecasts for the current year. For instance, Infosys expects only a modest revenue increase of 1% to 3% this year in constant currency terms.
  • The emergence of global capability centers provides some reassurance, but analysts caution against complacency regarding India’s services growth.
  • Key challenges include preparing graduates for the job market and addressing environmental pressures in growth hubs, such as the water crisis in Bengaluru.
  • Furthermore, protectionist trends in destination markets and domestic policy interventions, like restrictive measures on IT hardware imports, pose additional risks to exports.


To sustain India’s success in services, a balanced strategy is essential. This should entail vigorous efforts to secure global market access for all professional services and adopting a light-touch regulatory approach to foster innovation in areas like artificial intelligence, manufacturing-linked services, and blockchain applications.

May 2024