COIMBATORE: With the demand for skilled workers set to nearly treble by 2020, the construction industry wants a separate ministry both at the Union and the state level to address the issues affecting the sector. The construction industry, which employs about 10 million skilled workers now, would require at least 30 million such workers by 2020, said S K Basu, president of Builders' Association of India (BAI). The construction industry would require 55-60 million workers by 2020, he said.
"We have to run from pillar to post when there is a problem. There is nobody to take care of our needs. We need a separate ministry or department," Basu said. Stating that the construction industry has the second largest workforce (35 million) after agriculture in the country and it also ranked second in contribution to GDP (gross domestic product), he said they still have to work with various government departments and ministries.
"Steel and mining are tiny industries compared to construction in employment and gross turnover. But they still have separate ministries," Basu, who was in the city to attend a workshop organised by BAI, said. The share of skilled workers in the overall workforce is less than 50% now and the aim is to increase it to 65% by 2020, he said.
Though state governments are collecting 1% labour cess on construction activities, the funds generated under the route are lying idle, senior BAI officials said. About Rs 9,000 crore collected as labour cess is with state governments and this could be utilised to impart skills training to construction workers, they said.
"The funds can be used for imparting training to workforce. State governments have their own infrastructure and run ITIs (industrial training institutes). They can offer skills training to unskilled workers," Basu said.
The construction skill development council (CSDC) formed by BAI, CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India) and other construction bodies has started the groundwork for skills training, he said. "We already have 100 in-house trainers. It is very difficult to get trainers from villages. But they are needed to train the workforce who come mostly from rural areas," Basu said. CSDC would offer training programmes for various jobs and issue certificates as well, he said.