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 and equipment operators, as well as engineers and inspectors.
IIW has petitioned the Union Ministry for Skill Development on the 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 investment in infrastructure development including road, rail, bridges, internal waterways and power over the next five years, IIW has sought positive action from the ministry to promote and propagate welding education of international standards.
Addressing the media, R Srinivasan, Spokesperson and Past President, IIW, expressed his reservations about the timely execution and completion of adding 90,000 MW power generation capacities and creating new construction assets of Rs.52 trillion owing to insufficient skilled workforce. The perennial skilled labour shortage has the potential to hamper the construction, automobile, power and defence 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 skilling over 500 million Indians by 2022, must work to overcome this severe shortage in employable skills.
IIW has offered to partner with the Union and state government machinery to upskill Indian youth and overcome the shortage of competency-certified welding workforce. “We are keenly soliciting the participation of bureaucrats and public-sector companies in the International Congress 2020 (IC 2020) & Weld India 2020 Expo being held in February 2020 in Mumbai,” says Kamal Shah, Chairman-Mumbai Branch, IIW. “The IIW will host a day-long session on the ‘Role of Welding in Urban/Public Infrastructure-Bridges’. Subject experts from the oil and gas, thermal, nuclear, defence and automobile sectors across the globe are being invited. IIW-India plans to invite participation from senior officials of Public Works Departments and urban local bodies of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Karnataka. The IIW is also keen to seek the participation of officials from the National Highways Authority of India and Konkan Railway.”