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Shortage of 12 lakh skilled welding professionals may derail the infra growth story

Shortage of 12 lakh skilled welding professionals may derail the infra growth story

10 Jan 2020

A number of infra-project contractors are using welding and cutting operators from China, Russia and East European countries as India faces a shortage of skilled welding manpower. All projects in infrastructure, roads, railways and bridges, power and shipping are highly reliant on the right metal joining technology, which can only be successfully executed by trained and certified manpower. The Indian Institute of Welding (IIW) has estimated a short supply of 1.2 million welding professionals including welders, cutters, fitters, equipment operators, and also engineers and inspectors.

IIW has petitioned the Union Ministry for Skill Development about shortfall on account of growth-led increased job openings and replacing the retiring workforce. The current shortage of 1.2 million welding professionals may balloon to 1.35 million in the next three years. In view of the planned Rs 100 trillion investments in infrastructure development including road, rail, bridges, internal waterways and power over the next five years, IIW has sought positive action from the Skill Development Ministry to promote and propagate welding education of International Standards in India.

While addressing the media, R Srinivasan, Spokesperson and Past President, IIW, expressed his reservations about timely execution and completion of adding 90,000 MW power generation capacities and creating new construction assets of Rs 52 trillion due to insufficient skilled workforce. The National mission of building 20 km of new highways each day is already falling behind. The ‘Make-in-India’ campaign has surged the growth prospects of the manufacturing sector but hue and cry of perennial skilled labour shortage have become vociferous in the construction, automobile, power and defense sectors. Skilled welding professionals at all levels; pipe and plate welders, supervisors and welding engineers continue to be in short supply. The Union Government’s skill development machinery, which targets to skill over 500 million Indians by 2022, must work to overcome the severe shortage in employable skills of the Indian workforce.

IIW has offered to partner with the Union and State Government machinery to up-skill Indian youth and overcome the shortage of competency-certified welding workforce. Kamal Shah, Chairman-Mumbai Branch, IIW, said, “We are keenly soliciting participation of Bureaucrats and Public Sector Companies in the International Congress 2020 (IC 2020) & Weld India 2020 Expo being held in February 2020 (Mumbai). The IIW will host a day-long session on the Role of Welding in Urban/Public Infrastructure-Bridges. Subject experts from oil and gas, thermal, nuclear, defence and automobiles across the globe are being invited. IIW-India plans to invite participation from senior officials of Public Works Department and Urban Local Bodies of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Karnataka. The Indian Institute of Welding is also keen to seek participation of National Highway Authority of Indian and Konkan Railway officials.”

During Weld India 2020 in Navi Mumbai, IIW plans to make the Indian welding fraternity sit together with Government officials and Administrators of the State run ITI’s to update their curriculum, match their syllabus and facilitate training with Industry participation.

“IIW branches are making presentation to students to consider the possibility of a career in welding. The compensation for certified welders and welding technologists is healthy, annual packages starting from Rs 3 lakh up to as high as Rs 40 lakh. Many industries want to optimise their capital investments and rely on welders and welding professionals who have the ability to rebuild fairly old and worn equipment. Such skills have become a rarity and are in great demand. If you dedicate yourself to the welding industry, you will never be out of a job,” added Shah.

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