India’s service sector has grown rapidly since the 1990s. Domestic demand for services has increased as incomes have risen, triggering the expansion of industries such as banking, education, and telecommunications. Exports have also increased rapidly, led by information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO). India’s ability to offer low-cost, high-quality IT-BPO services has made it a world leader in this industry. However, employment in services has not grown as quickly as output. The majority of India’s jobseekers are low-skilled, but demand for workers is growing fastest in higher-skill industries. The supply of highly-skilled workers has not kept pace with demand, causing wages to increase faster for these workers than for lower-skilled ones.
India’s government has supported the growth of service industries through a mix of deregulation, liberalization, and incentive programs, such as the Software Technology Parks of India. Nevertheless, burdensome regulations, poor infrastructure, and foreign investment restrictions continue to affect service firms’ ability to do business. USITC analysis suggests that additional liberalization would lead to an increase in India’s imports of services.