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'Govt mulling High-level group for service sector'

The government plans to set up a high level group to make the service sector more competitive.

india Updated: Oct 05, 2006 13:30 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the government is considering to set up a high level group to make the service sector more competitive in the wake of emerging global opportunities.

"Sectors that have not been exposed to sufficient competition, where regulatory framework is weak and have failed to make a big impact on the economy," Singh said while inaugurating the Exposition on Trade in Services.

The government was committed to sustaining the rapid growth of the service sector and the UPA coalition had its "job cut out", he said.

Prime Minister said services like Health, Legal, Higher Education and Tourism can have the same growth potential as IT "and in all these areas we have core competence that could be tapped successfully to boost exports."

"We are considering setting up a high level group in the planning commission to look into all aspects influencing the performance of the service sector and suggest policy measures to sustain its competitiveness in the coming years," he said.

The Commerce Ministry has already floated consultation papers for liberalising legal services and education.

He said the country needed a policy regime that facilitated and promoted investment, which had to come from public and private sectors, in education services.

"I am told that three billion dollars is spent annually by students going from India to study abroad. This could be easily retained in India to expand educational facilities to meet everyone needs," Singh said.

With increase in integration of Indian economy with the global economy, there was a need for expertise in international, commercial and third country law, he said.

"For this a more open legal sector is necessary," he said.

On health services, the Prime Minister said it was an emerging area, which held immense potential for the country.

In particular, medical outsourcing and tourism provided an opportunity for the health sector.

"For this an accreditation mechanism for hospitals and laboratories need to be established," he said adding there was a need to develop standards that meet international customer requirements," Singh said.

First Published: Oct 05, 2006 13:30 IST