All about Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC)

India is one of the countries with the fastest growing economy, majorly due to the advent of the service sector, which has been termed as the ‘Sector of the Current Millennium’.

As per the recent statistics, India’s service exports have increased from $66,601 million in 2017 to $84,687 million in 2018, resulting in a growth of 27.15 percent. To promote and expand the service exports, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry has formed many ‘Export Promotion Councils’ which helps in promoting, supporting and assisting the Indian organizations in entering the international market. The vision of the department in itself is, “To make India a major player in the world trade by 2020 and a significant role in the international trade bodies”.

Currently, there are fourteen Export Promotion Councils under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, namely Service Export Promotion Council (SEPC), Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC India), Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and others. All these councils are registered under the Companies Act/Societies Registration Act as non-profit organizations to perform both advisory and executive functions. These councils also act as a registering authority for the Indian exporters. In India, the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) was set up in 1965. FIEO is the highest body of the export promotion councils, commodity boards, and also export development authorities in India.

Out of the fourteen Councils, our area of concentration is Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) which supports, promotes and guides the Indian individuals as well as organizations to operate smoothly in the global market. It includes fourteen services viz., Accounting/Auditing and Book-Keeping services, Advertising services, Educational services, etc. Now let us understand the work of SEPC, its objectives, benefits and how to be its member.

What is Service Export Promotion Council (SEPC)?

Service Export Promotion Council (SEPC) is the apex trade body facilitating the Indian service exporters and actively participates in the formulation of the Government policies, thereby serving as a single communication platform between the service industry and the Government. Being a recognized export promotion council, it has a strong membership base of more than 3000 professionals and manages corporate entities from the 14 service sectors under its purview. SEPC is an interface between the Indian entities and the rest of the world, being the center point for both the domestic and the foreign organizations that are looking for opportunities in India under Mode-1, Mode-2, Mode-3, and Mode-4 of services trade. It also assists foreign delegates who are in search of better quality services at competitive rates in comparison to other countries, these people can directly contact SEPC for details of service providers in India.

[To know more about the four modes of service trade, read our article here.]

Service Sectors under SEPC

Following are the service sectors under the purview of SEPC:

Accounting/Auditing and Book-Keeping Services

Advertising Services

Architectural Services

  • Advisory and pre-design architectural services,
  • Architectural design services,
  • Contract administration services,
  • Combined architectural design and contract administration services,
  • Other architectural services:- It Includes the services which require the expertise of architects, such as the preparation of as-built drawings, development of promotional materials and presentations, regular site representation during the construction phase, etc.

Consultancy Services

Printing and Publishing Services

Distribution Services

  • Franchising
  • Commission agent’s services
  • Retailing services
  • Wholesale trade services
  • Others.

Educational Services

  • Primary, Secondary, Higher, Adult/Professional and Other educational services.

Entertainment Services

These services include following services such as:

  • Theatre, live bands and circus services
  • Motion pictures and videotape productions and Distribution services,
  • Motion picture production services,
  • Radio and Television service including its transmission,
  • Sound recording.

Environmental Services

  • Sewage services,
  • Refuse disposal services,
  • Sanitation and similar services,
  • Others.

Healthcare Services

  • Hospital services,
  • Services by Nurses, Physiotherapists and Paramedical Personnel,
  • Other human health services.

Legal Services

Hotel & Tourism Services

  • Hotels & Restaurants including Catering,
  • Travel agencies and tour operators,
  • Tourist guide services,
  • Recreational sports like Golf, etc.

Management Services/Marketing Research and Public Opinion Polling Services

Maritime Transport Services

  • Passenger transportation,
  • Freight transportation,
  • Rental of vessels with crew,
  • Maintenance and repair of vessels,
  • Pushing and towing services,
  • Supporting services for maritime transport.

Benefits of SEPC Membership

  1. Services Export Promotion Council helps Indian service exporters in finding new markets to export their services.
  2. It guides and assists on how to avail the benefits of various Government Export Promotion Schemes and policies.
  3. It facilitates participation in seminars/exhibitions/trade fairs/buyer-seller meets, both at the national and international level.
  4. It provides a comprehensive database of Indian service providers in different sectors which helps the overseas buyers to locate the required service providers at the ease of a click.
  5. It issues Registration Cum Membership Certificates (RCMC) to the Indian service providers to avail the benefits of various Export Promotion Schemes such as SEIS, EPCG, MDA, MAI, etc, as provided under new FTP 2015-20.
  6. Ministry of Commerce & Industry takes care of the scheme known as Market Development Assistance (MDA) Scheme, which promotes Indian exports including service exports. Service exporters those who are members of SEPC are eligible for financial assistance under MDA scheme, to participate in overseas ‘Buyer-Seller Meet’ or in any other international conference to showcase their service capabilities worldwide.

Relation between SEPC and SEIS

‘Service Exports from India Scheme’ (SEIS) under the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), 2015-2020, is replacing the earlier scheme ‘Served from India Scheme’ under the Foreign Trade Policy, 2009-2015. SEIS has been introduced by the Government of India, with the main objective of making the Indian services globally competitive in terms of price. Under SEIS, the Indian service providers of notified services are given incentives in the form of Duty Credit Scripts at a rate of 3%, 5% or 7% on their net foreign exchange earnings.

Whether you have a service business or a manufacturing business, Registration Cum Membership Certificate (RCMC) from the relevant export promotion council is compulsory on your main line of business. So, to avail benefits available under SEIS, you need to become a member of SEPC and obtain RCMC first.

[SEIS was launched by Government of India, with an aim to provide service exporters right guidance and support. To learn more about this scheme read our article onAll about Service Exports From India Scheme (SEIS)]

Procedure and Fees to become an SEPC Member

To become a member of Service Export Promotion Council, the following documents are required and may be submitted at the SEPC office:

i. Application Form- To be downloaded from the Official website.

ii. A self-certified copy of Importer-Exporter Code (IEC) and the certificate issued by the licensing authority i.e. Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

iii. Self-certified copy of the (PAN) Permanent Account Number.

iv. The fees that are to be paid should be in any form other than cash. If the same is paid through RTGS/NEFT, then a reference number of the transaction needs to be quoted while accepting the ‘Terms & Conditions’ mentioned in the form.

Service Export Promotion Council

Fees Structure for SEPC membership

v. The validity RCMC is valid for a period of 5 years as per the FTP 2015-2020, from the date of its issue. On expiry, a new RCMC cum renewal certificate will be issued for a period of next 5 years only after surrendering the expired RCMC and payment of one-time admission fees in addition to the annual subscription fees and applicable taxes thereon.

So now, after reading this article don’t you think that the Government of India is taking a great initiative by launching such councils and schemes, which will not only provide huge incentives and benefits to our young entrepreneurs but would also give them global recognition.

An initiative such as ‘Make in India’ not only encourages young, aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own business but also provides them with a proper, ready-to-go base. So, what are you waiting for?

If you are a service provider and have not yet registered under Services Exporters Promotion Council (SEPC), then come to us and get yourself registered now, to avail the benefits under SEPC and the benefits of the collateral schemes as being given in SEIS. 

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