A Services Exports Boom
NEW DELHI: India’s trade story is experiencing an interesting twist. While merchandise exports are flagging in the face of inclement global conditions, services exports are proving to be resilient—in fact they are growing very impressively. The latest trade data released by the Commerce Ministry last week shows that cumulatively services exports for the month ended February 2023 aggregated a shade less than $300 billion—a benchmark. It is almost certain that the country will achieve a new record in 2022-23. Interestingly, it is not just about the impressive growth in services exports. Even the composition is shifting to more value-added modes—like cross-border services. As domestic infrastructure and logistics come up to speed, India would be better placed to exploit the potential of tourism in general and medical tourism. However, this transition to a new growth path has many challenges, including India’s ability to overcome its legacy deficits in education, infrastructure and skilling. To understand this and more we spoke to Rupa Chanda, Director, Trade, Investment and Innovation Division, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).