The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper analyzes the factors behind the recent growth of India's services sector. The high growth of services output in the 1990s was mostly due to the rapid expansion of communication, banking, business services (including the IT sector) and community services. While factors such as a high income elasticity of demand for services, increasing input usage of services by other sectors, and rising exports, were important in boosting services growth in the 1990s, supply side factors including reforms and technological advances also played significant roles. Going forward, the growth potential of Indian services exports is well known, but the paper also finds considerable scope for growth in the Indian service economy provided that deregulation continues. In addition, the paper shows that employment growth in the Indian services sector has been quite modest, thus underscoring the need for industry and agriculture to also grow rapidly.