Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Skilled hands to power Gujarat's industrial growth

In their bid to tackle the issue of acute shortage skilled workers in industry, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Government of Gujarat have proposed to open 100 skill development centres across the state. CII has started the initiative with a Rs 7 crore-skill development facility at Don Bosco, Narukot in the largely tribal Jambughoda Taluka of Panchmahal district.

With a growth rate of 11 per cent, Gujarat needs lakhs of skilled workers for its manufacturing, pharma, biotech, gemstone, engineering and petrochemical industries. While many industries have incorporated new technology and introduced automation, the bulk of Gujarat's small and medium-scale enterprises are heavily dependent on labour - both skilled and unskilled. "Till recently, many companies had been relying heavily on workers from Bihar, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. But now we see a decrease in the number of workers there simply because of the development that is taking place in those states. The workers don't need to look for jobs elsewhere. Therefore, we now need to develop skilled workers in this state itself," Nitin Mankad, Chairman, CII Central Gujarat Zonal Council, notes.

The shortage of skilled hands has led increased labour costs, which the industry recovering from the effects of the economic recession of 2008, is still trying to absorb. Last year, Surat's diamond-manufacturing industry Sharad Gangal, executive vice president - HR, Thermax Group, notes that highly-skilled "blue-collared workers such as welders and fitters now demand salaries in the range of Rs 30,000-40,000 per month". Another businessman at the Convention said he was willing to pay Rs 5 lakh per annum, if he managed to find a good welder. Says Samir Parikh, managing director of the human resources consulting firm, Naman Integrated Management Services Pvt Ltd, "The problem is that everybody wants to become an engineer, not a welder. We need to create awareness among students in standards ninth and tenth in rural centres about the various job roles they may have in the industry and develop their skills accordingly."   

The type of skills imparted at institutes is very different from the present requirements of the industry, L Chuanungo, Managing Director Gujarat Industries Power Company Ltd (GIPCL) and Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, pointed out at CII's Human Resources Convention held in Vadodara last Saturday. "During my tenure at the Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB) and GIPCL, I've seen a need for enhancing the skills and competence of the existing personnel and keeping up with the change. The industry has to come forward to join the government to increase the quality of the industrial training institutes (ITI) in the state. At present, we have only three per cent of the required infrastructure to train manpower for the future," he said.

With technology and finance no longer the differentiating factors between industries, companies are now falling back on their people resources for development in the future. During the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit 2011 January, Industry chamber Assocham submitted a project report to set up 25 specialised skill development centres across all districts in the state. In February, New Horizons India Limited signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) to set up skill-development centres to train 10,000 youth. And with CII, the government of Gujarat has now strengthened its resolve to ensure it will have enough skill workers to power its growth over the next five years.

1 comment:

Surat Diamond Industry said...

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