MEDGATE TODAY EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CHAIRMAN OF SERVICES EXPORT PROMOTION COUNCIL, MR. MANECK E. DAVAR
Mr. Davar is the Chairman of the Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC). He is an independent director of ECGC (Export Credit Guarantee Corporation), Ministry of Commerce, Government of India. He is the Chairman and Managing
Mr. Davar is the Chairman of the Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC). He is an independent director of ECGC (Export Credit Guarantee Corporation), Ministry of Commerce, Government of India. He is the Chairman and Managing Director of Spenta Multimedia Pvt. Ltd., India’s largest custom magazine publisher. He is also the Chairman and Managing Director of Mumbai Boat Show Pvt. Ltd., Spenta Digital Media Pvt. Ltd., Liquid Publishing Pvt. Ltd., The Smart Manager Pvt. Ltd. and MW.Com Pvt. Ltd.
What is SEPC and how it plays a crucial role in the service sector?
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, with a view to give proper direction, guidance and encouragement to the Services Sector, set up an exclusive Export Promotion Council for Services in the name of Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC). The Council since its inception in 2006 has been instrumental in facilitating exports of services through the following services:
- Trade Intelligence: Trade Information, Market Analysis, Business Contacts, Business Opportunities and Market Access Conditions
- Export Development: Export Readiness, Training and Counselling, Strategy Formulation and Development, Value Chain Optimization
- Export Promotion: Exhibitions, Buyer Seller Meet, Business Delegations to overseas markets, Brand Campaign for India’s Services Sector.
- Enabling Business Environment: Policy inputs to Ministries, Facilitating Cross Border Trade, Policy Advocacy, Facilitating implementation of various export promotional schemes.
When the products are exported in large numbers, there is an Export Promotion Council, which looks after the smooth functioning of the products, to expand the international market, and present the issues of Indian manufacturers to the government. It is the only council which looks after the entire functionalities of service exports with exception of IT and ITES. The services export is about 220 billion USD out of which if we remove IT and ITES then the rest is about 120-130 billion USD per year, which is services export. One of the largest areas is of services export is the travel & tourism and hospitality industry. The government has denoted 12 champions sectors which contribute a huge amount to the GDP. Any services, which is provided within India for foreign nationals the country earns huge foreign exchange.
The body represents the requirement of service exporters, facilitates interactions between the government and various exporters, and creates markets for the sellers. The overall purpose is to expand the services. Services export are net in the sense that we export more than we import. So the net is about 80 billion dollars. Whereas in the merchandise sector we have a very high oil bill. So we are importing more than exporting merchandise. Healthcare is also a very substantial part of the exports. There is a huge amount of nursing professionals from India working around the world, the remittance which they send back is the component of healthcare export.
In 2015 Indian medical tourism was estimated to be 3 billion dollars and it was estimated to reach up to 7-8 billion dollars. But due to the pandemic lockdown last year the movement was at its lowest. How is Spec planning to revive the sector in the coming year?
Each entrepreneur has to come up with their strategy on how to get back the business back in running. When the external sources of revenue were frozen due to the travel ban, we should probably look at what can be done internally to augment the resource. We are also working with the government trying to provide some sort of benefits or incentive to industries like travel and tourism and healthcare, which faced a major setback during the pandemic, there has been no movement of people coming to India to avail the services but we are confident that once we get over this pandemic situation, the travel becomes easy with partial or full vaccination and India have performed well in handling the situation and became the pharmacy of the world by providing vaccination. We are sure that despite the current situation we will come to the figures pre-pandemic then we will grow on it. Despite the contraction, service exports have come down only by 7-8 per cent including IT and ITES. The services sector contributes about 55 per cent of the total GDP and also accounts for 55 per cent of employment. The matter of concern is the loss of employment due to the pandemic, which government is well aware of especially in the travel and tourism industry and hospitality sector.
What are the expectations of the exporters in the services sector from SPEC and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry?
The expectation of the exporters for the moment is the Service Exporter’s Incentive, which is the grant from the government ensuring immediate infusion of cash. SPEC facilitates the growth of exports through various means and creates the channel for exporters, international channels for exporters. The council also supports its member exporters in various ways, by subsidising their going international trade fair, providing subsidies for the visitors coming to India for the trade fair, where we can showcase our potential and capabilities. The council also plays the role of knowledge partner and does extensive research in various sectors.
SEPC has specific events focusing on and promoting the healthcare sector, is creating research and information for the healthcare sector as well. SEPC has large members from travel & tourism, healthcare hospitality, and medical value tourism. The council also focuses on bringing these sorts of services in upfront and create more awareness.
How is the government supporting the patients coming to India with the travel norms and providing ease to the services?
Our embassies across the world are providing emergency visas for medical travel with some amount of paper works. The government is also looking after the transportation of the critical patients from one place to the other. The government on all fronts is making enough efforts to ease the process of doing business for everyone and also wants to ensure the cutting down of red tape as much as possible so that the movement between the two countries becomes easier, except certain countries. The government is also very keen to promote South East Asia region, especially relations with all its neighbour, to give priority to patients, students, and travellers from South East Asia to promote good relations.