Go Back

Service Sector in India

December, 2016


The services sector is not only the dominant sector in India’s GDP, but has also attracted significant foreign investment flows, contributed significantly to exports as well as provided large-scale employment. India’s services sector covers a wide variety of activities such as trade, hotel and restaurants, transport, storage and communication, financing, insurance, real estate, business services, community, social and personal services, and services associated with construction.

Market Size

The services sector is the key driver of India’s economic growth. The sector contributed around 66.1 per cent of its Gross Value Added growth in 2015-16, thereby becoming an important net foreign exchange earner and the most attractive sector for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) inflows.!

According to a report by leading research firm Market Research Store, the Indian telecommunication services market is expected to grow by 10.3 per cent year-on-year to reach US$ 103.9 billion by 2020.

The Indian digital classifieds industry is expected to grow three-fold to reach US$ 1.2 billion by 2020, driven by growth in horizontal classifieds like online services, real estate and automobiles.#

Out of overall services sector, the sub-sector comprising financial services, real estate and professional services contributed US$ 305.8 billion or 20.5 per cent to the GDP. The sub-sector of community, social and personal services contributed US$ 188.2 billion or 12.6 per cent to the GDP.


The Indian services sector has attracted the highest amount of FDI equity inflows in the period April 2000-March 2016, amounting to about US$ 50.79 billion which is about 17.6 per cent of the total foreign inflows, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

Some of the developments and major investments by companies in the services sector in the recent past are as follows:

  • Gadgetwood, an on-demand repair services & refurbishment company, has raise​d US​$ 6 million from private equity fund Carpediem Capital, which will be used for expanding its presence to other geographies, starting with the metros and moving to set up a presence across 10 cities by 2017, and broaden the scope of its repairs capabilities to include, laptops, wearable tech and LEDTVs.
  • Online food ordering and delivery service firm Swiggy, owned by Bundl Technologies Private Limited, has raised US$ 15 million in a fresh funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners along with existing investors SAIF Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Accel Partners, and Apoletto Asia.
  • Factset, a US-based financial data and analytics firm, plans set up its largest global office at Divyasree Orion Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Gachibowli, Hyderabad.
  • LogixHealth Private Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of LogixHealthInc, USA, plans to invest around US$ 15 million and hire 1,000 people for its upcoming facility in Coimbatore.
  • Meru Cab Company Pvt Ltd, the Mumbai-based radio cab service, has raised Rs 150 crore (US$ 22.37 million) from Brand Capital, the investment arm of Bennett Coleman and Co, which will be used to fund advertising and provide user incentives including discounts and loyalty schemes.
  • SSG Capital Management Group, a Hong Kong based Private Equity (PE) investor, has acquired a 40 per cent stake in the logistics company Future Supply Chain Solutions (FSC), for Rs 580 crore (US$ 86.5 million) from existing shareholders including Future Retail (FRL) and Fung Group, promoted by billionaire Victor Fung.
  • Vistra Group Ltd, a Hong Kong-based professional services provider, has acquired IL&FS Trust Company Ltd, India’s largest independent corporate trust services provider, which will enable Vistra to expand the platform to provide a broader suite of corporate and fiduciary services and thereby gain a foothold in the Indian corporate services market.
  • Pink Blue Supply Solutions Pvt. Ltd, a clinical supplies provider, has raised Rs 1.5 crore (US$ 0.22 million) in a seed round of funding from TermSheet.io, a transaction-focused service provider for start-ups and investors, which will be used to ramp up technology, improve customer experience and operational capabilities, put in place smart supply chain management across hospitals and clinics, and hire larger teams.
  • IcertisInc, a contract management software maker for enterprises based out of Pune and Mumbai in India, has raised US$ 15 million in series B round of funding from Ignition Partners and Eight Roads Ventures, which will be used to invest in marketing and expand its global operations.
  • OfBusiness, an online marketplace for business-to-business (B2B) commerce, has raised US$ 5 million in series A funding round led by Matrix Partners India, which will be used to expand the team and build a technology platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
  • Credit Analysis and Research (CARE Ratings) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan Credit Rating Agency, Ltd (JCR) to collaborate with each other as strategic business partners.
  • Shuttl, an Indian bus aggregator platform headquartered in Gurgaon, has raised US$ 20 million in Series A funding from Lightspeed, Sequoia India and Times Internet Ltd.
  • Indian logistics platform Rivigo has raised US$ 30 million in debt and equity in Series B financing round, led by SAIF Partners. The firm aims to use the raised funds to achieve its target of scaling 10 times in the next 12 months.
  • Taxi service aggregator Ola plans to double operations to 200 cities in current fiscal year. The company, which is looking at small towns for growth, also plans to invest in driver eco-system, such as training centers and technology upgrade, besides adding 1,500 to 2,000 women drivers as part of its pink cab service by women for women.

Government Initiatives

The Government of India recognises the importance of promoting growth in services sectors and provides several incentives in wide variety of sectors such as health care, tourism, education, engineering, communications, transportation, information technology, banking, finance, management, among others.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated that India's priority will be to work towards trade facilitation agreement (TFA) for services, which is expected to help in the smooth movement of professionals.

The Government of India has adopted a few initiatives in the recent past. Some of these are as follows:

  • The Government of India plans to significantly liberalise its visa regime, including allowing multiple-entry tourist and business visas, which is expected to boost India's services exports.
  • Mr Ravi Shakar Prasad, Minister of Communication and Information Technology, announced plan to increase the number of common service centres or e-Seva centres to 250,000 from 150,000 currently to enable village level entrepreneurs to interact with national experts for guidance, besides serving as a e-services distribution point.
  • The Central Government is considering a two-rate structure for the goods and service tax(GST), under which key services will be taxed at a lower rate compared to the standard rate, which will help to minimize the impact on consumers due to increase in service tax.
  • By December 2016, the Government of India plans to take mobile network to nearly 10 per cent of Indian villages that are still unconnected.
  • The Government of India has proposed provide tax benefits for transactions made electronically through credit/debit cards, mobile wallets, net banking and other means, as part of broader strategy to reduce use of cash and thereby constrain the parallel economy operating outside legitimate financial system.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed third-party white label automated teller machines (ATM) to accept international cards, including international prepaid cards, and has also allowed white label ATMs to tie up with any commercial bank for cash supply.

Road Ahead

Services sector growth is governed by both domestic and global factors. The sector is expected to perform well in FY16. The Indian facilities management market is expected to grow at 17 per cent CAGR between 2015 and 2020 and surpass the $19 billion mark supported by booming real estate, retail, and hospitality sectors. The performance of trade, hotels and restaurants, and transport, storage and communication sectors are expected to improve in FY17. Loss of growth momentum in commodity-producing sectors had adversely impacted transport and storage sectors over the past two years. The financing, insurance, real estate, and business services sectors are also expected to continue their good run in FY17. The growth performance of the community, social and personal services sector is directly linked with government expenditure and we believe that the government will remain committed to fiscal consolidation in FY16.

Exchange Rate Used: INR 1 = US$ 0.0149 as on September 21, 2016

References: Media Reports, Press Releases, DIPP publication, Press Information Bureau, India budget 2015-16

Note -!- The Economic Survey 2015-16; #- according to a report by Google India and KPMG