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Jan 7, 2009

Training & Skill Certification Stressed For Construction Industry

With public organisations and urban infrastructure and housing projects insisting on at least five per cent of workers being certified to bid for their projects, the construction industry in India feels the need to expand training and skill certification. G Srinivasan, chairman of the local chapter of Builders Association of India said more than three lakh large and medium construction enterprises are involved in the industry in India and that Rs 17 lakh crore is expected to be spent on infrastructure work in the 11th five year plan.


"Considering the boom in other segments of the industry like housing, the Indian construction industry may require around five crore labourers in 2010-2011," he told. Though the prerequisite was for a major portion of labour apart from materials, the industry did not have artisans trained through institutions, affecting quality of construction, he said. With the present asset creating potential of construction industry at Rs 3,10,000 crore, the share to GDP worked out to 12 per cent. In terms of employment generation, construction provided employment to 14 per cent of working citizens, he said. Stating that construction of houses and roads involved about 75 and 60 per cent of civil construction activities, Srinivasan said that building of airports and ports has construction activity in the range of 40 to 50 per cent.


However, Indian construction companies suffered from lack of trained manpower, which led to slow progress of work, rampant time and cost overruns, low productivity and quality, he said.
Considering the demand for skilled manpower, the BAI has taken the initiative and started a School of construction Artisans in collaboration with Sri Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya at Periyanaickenpalayam on the outskirts, he said. The school, the first of its kind in the sector in India, would initially offer three courses in Masonry, formwork and carpenter and barbending fitter, with intake of 25 students each, Srinivasan said.


The students would be trained free of cost for three months and paid a stipend for 12 months in work sites. They would then be absorbed by member companies of the association, who would sponsor them, Srinivasan said. On employment generation, Srinivasan said the organised construction sector required 1.2 million hands every year and the unorganised sector, over 30 million. There was a need for about 2.5 lakh professionals like engineers, technicians and foremen, over 3.5 lakh skilled workers and about 25 lakh unskilled hands, he said. With several ambitious projects on the anvil in the 11th plan, demand would grow at a consistent pace of at least eight to nine per cent, requiring an incremental growth of at least 25 lakh skilled persons per year in addition to the existing numbers, Srinivasan said.


Quoting the National Sample Survey report of 2005,he said that only two per cent of the population in the age group of 15-29 years received formal vocational training and another eight per cent non-formal vocational training. Skills and knowledge being the driving forces of economic growth and social development, 90 per cent of the country's workforce was in the unorganised setor, marked largely by low skills, low productivity and poor incomes, he pointed out. Skill level and education of the workforce also determined productivity and income levels, he said, adding that one of the important causes of poverty was the lower percentage of skilled persons in the work force.


Considering all these aspects,BAI would offer more courses like that of tile layer and construction equipment operators so that uneducated workers could be well trained and enhance productivity, thereby increasing the industrys' contribution of 8.5 per cent to the GDP, Srinivasan said.

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