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Unlike the robust rise in manufacturing, India’s large services sector has experienced a loss in momentum, with its purchasing managers’ index declining to 55.5 in July from June’s 11-year high of 59.2. Before we turn gloomy, the latest reading is still good for a pandemic-cramped sector, having exceeded the 50 mark that separates expansion and contraction by a healthy margin. July’s cool-off needs to be seen in the context of June’s spectacular showing that would have been hard to keep up. A further drop shouldn’t surprise us, given the persistence of abnormally high levels of uncertainty. A global slowdown could soon compress foreign demand. Thankfully, domestic impulses have not shown signs of flagging much. A spring-back from covid remains palpable.

For the sector to get a boost, we must explore fresh opportunities in using new technologies for a global outreach of services. For this, international trade barriers need to fall. These are mostly artificial, and traceable to globally varied protocols. But the logic of mutual gains among trade partners could potentially act as a harmonizer. We should prepare for it by putting widely trusted data protection systems in place right away.

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