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Skilled Workforce -Transformer for Construction Industry

Realizing the fact that productivity in the real estate sector is diminishing owing to low labour quality and skillset, there is an urgent need to upgrade the same for millions of workers.
    MUMBAI, INDIA, July 29, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- As the construction and other infrastructure building activities in the country flourish, there is a growing need to mobilise and train individuals in the construction sector so that the rising need for skilled manpower can be fulfilled. Ensuring a steady pool of qualified, globally-competitive and job-ready workforce for the construction industry will not only ensure high quality output, it will also lead to a higher employment generation in urban, semi-urban and rural areas, consequently having a multiplier effect on the country's GDP growth.

India has 11 million students currently pursuing higher education, which represents only 11% of the age group 17-23, which is expected to rise up till 21% by 2017. India is emerging as human capital and knowledge driven economy on the world map. Therefore, government must acutely address to the inadequacies in vocational education domain to make it more prominent. Government is expected to draw huge investment on ICT (Information & Communication Technology) front, considering the fact that world is turning around to digitalization.

The value of the construction sector with respect to India's economy has never been more impactful. The Real Estate secto - Residential, Commercial & SEZ and Corporate - is growing at a significant rate of approximately 10 to 15 % p. a. The GDP contribution of construction sector is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 9.5% to 10% till 2022 in real terms. This bodes well for the many millions who could find employment opportunities in this sector. If all goes well, the overall employment in the industry could grow from 36 million to over 83 million by 2022.

Investments in the real estate sector also have a positive and multiplier impact on allied industries. As per statistics, 78% of the sum spent on construction of a housing unit in India gets added back directly to the India's GDP. Thus industries such as building material cement, steel, sand, timber, architectural and interior design, and financing institutions also benefit. These are more skill driven.

The hitch is that productivity in this sector is diminishing owing to low labour quality and skills need to be upgraded for millions of workers.

The Construction Skill Development Council needs to devise industry-based curriculum, set training standards, offer vocational training and provide industry based certification.

Acknowledging the skill deficit in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created a ministry to undertake the agenda of skill development and entrepreneurship. Sarbananda Sonowal has been appointed minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship, with the Government pledging its intent and purpose on a variety of issues.

Major objectives include strategically developing high impact domains like labour-intensive manufacturing (viz. textile, footwear, electronics assembly, etc. and tourism), strengthening the traditional employment bases of agriculture and allied industries, and retail - through modernization as well as stronger credit and market linkages, harnessing the opportunities provided by the up gradation of infrastructure and housing, for its job generating potential, encouraging and empowering our youth for self-employment - incubating entrepreneurship as well as facilitating credit, addressing the employability issue by initiating a multi-skills development programme in mission mode. Focus will be on perennial job creation and entrepreneurship, in both rural and urban areas.

Other areas involve transforming our Employment Exchanges into Career Centres - connecting our youth with job opportunities in a transparent and effective manner through the use of technology; as well as providing counselling and training, construction Skill Development- Massive thrust on construction skill development (Skilled/ Semi skilled and Unskilled) - for employment generation - would lead to 25 million new jobs.

It is proposed to initiate 100 New Smart Cities - With doubling of urban population from 28crs (2001) to 56crs (2030), the urban land footprint presently at 4% of total land mass to be doubled -creation of 100 new smart integrated cities with latest technologies and infrastructure.

Although the construction industry employs 36 million people, second only to the agricultural sector, the incremental workforce requirement is around four million people per year over the next seven years to sustain the current growth rate. The construction industry is set to face challenges in terms of sourcing skilled manpower. The bulk of workforce at around 82.5% constitutes of unskilled labour and rest of them is skilled labour.

Strategic investment in human capital and advancement in quality can be regarded as key to building a knowledge economy. India needs to revamp its skill development strategies with a focus on industry needs and attempt to balance labour demand and supply.

Skill development will act as dynamic vehicle to pace up & accelerate productivity & entrepreneurship. We can take cognisance that PM Modi has given utmost importance and priority to the subject which can have a paradigm shift to the employment generation in India.

Contributed by Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Group


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