By the end of 21st century, India will lack skilled work force, said K B Rajoria, chairman (Safety and Quality Forum), Institution of Engineers, India.
Rajoria was speaking at a conference on “Skill Development of Workmen, Supervisors, Equipment Operators and Others” held in the city recently.
He said, “In the past there was no concept of low-quality construction. That is why even today, we are witnessing the best of constructions like Gol Gumbaz, Taj Mahal and other monuments.” The iron pillars of Qutub Minar are an example of workers’ knowledge in the field of metallurgy, he said.
Even during the British era, there were many world-class constructions like Rashtrapathi Bhavan and India Gate because the workers were trained.
However, construction and production during World Wars were of poor quality, Rajoria said. He added that after Independence, semi-skilled workmen were employed and skilled workmen went to Middle East countries.
The Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) though did cover training skills for some trades, the output was less than required. On the other side, there is also a shortage of trainers. Diploma or engineering degree holders cannot train masons or equipment operators, he said.
Further, Rajoria said by 2021, the world will face an acute shortage of 4.7 crore workmen. At the same time, India will have 5.6 crore surplus workmen, but these surplus people will be unskilled. There is a need to provide them the required education and train their skills, he said.
There are more than 1,400 model courses including electrical, fire safety, rain water harvesting, ship construction and telecom. He urged the Central government to authorise the members of Institution of Engineers for trade test and certification of these courses.
The Institution of Engineers can chart out manuals, he suggested. Both state and Central governments should make a policy to employ only skilled workmen, Rajoria added.