By Neha Bhandarkar:
Despite the fact that India is a fast-developing economy, there is an urgent need to do far more to engender more employment opportunities for the majority of the population to contribute to the national growth and enable them to participate in ventures which will suit their potential. To gain this they must acquire education and skilled exercise that prepares them for the labour market since India’s biggest engineering companies like Larsen and Toubro Ltd., Hindustan Construction Co., and similar firms have faced losses due to the absence of skilled labourers. Looking into demographic details, it can be found that though the population growth rate has declined over many years, the labour force is still anticipated to grow for a few years.
Institutions for vocational training like the Indian Technical Institutes (ITIs), Industrial Training Centres (ITCs) have a higher proportion of the practical than the theoretical unlike the vocational education programs. Vocational Training is institution-based and has differing entry requirements as well as course durations. The training program has two diverse and wide courses under it.
These are Training for Crafts Level Occupations and Apprenticeship training. There has been a remarkable growth in the number of ITIs and ITCs during 1956 — 2004 according to a data released by the International Labour Organization. These institutions take in their students through an examination for a particular trade. According to K.V. Rangaswami, president of construction at Mumbai-based Larsen, “Lack of skilled workers impacts on all three fronts: quality, delivery and costs,” He adds, “Skills cannot be imparted overnight and lack of a trained workforce will be a major setback to the economy if the shortage isn’t solved.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said last month that infrastructure is the biggest bottleneck to faster economic growth. His government plans to spend $1 trillion to boost the expansion rate to 10 percent, from 7.4 percent last fiscal year. Shortage of skilled labour is one of the biggest challenges of the construction companies. Indian Construction industry is nation’s biggest employer after the agriculture. Employment of unskilled labourers in various fields of public and private sector industries can prove to be an unsuccessful venture, since hiring of unskilled labour will result in poor job and product quality. This will in turn decrease the market value of the product. The sales will fall and hence the company will face losses and so will their direct and indirect employers. The wages of the working direct and indirect labours will also be affected in a severe way.
The state of skilled labourers in our country is affected due to poverty and engagements of unskilled workers in agricultural or industrial fields. We need to understand that a huge percentage of the population is occupied and employed through informal sector or low productivity jobs. Provision of appropriate training can hence become an important intervention and increase the productivity of this workforce. A number of agencies, governmental and non-governmental, along with the Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment administer many schemes which aim at creating sustained employment opportunities for the rural poor.
There has to be a proper planned initiative through media and other reliable sources, to make convenient channels of communication. They should provide people of various backgrounds information and prospects which they can avail to be a part of the skilled labour workforce and contribute to the betterment of the nation. This will save our industrial and other developing sectors a lot of trouble.