A  number of infra-project contractors are using welding and cutting operators from China, Russia and East European Countries asIndia 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.

The Indian Institute of Welding (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 3 years. In view of the planned 100+ lakh crore investments in infrastructure development including road / rail / bridges / internal waterways and power over the next 5 years, IIW has sought positive action from the Skill Development Ministry to promote and propagate welding education of international standard in India.

R Srinivasan, 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 52 Lakh crore due to insufficient skilled workforce. The national mission of building 20 kms of new highways each day is already falling behind. The ‘Make-in-India’ campaign has surged the growth prospects of manufacturing sector but hue and cry of perennial skilled labour shortage have become vociferous in 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 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) and Weld India 2020 Expo being held in February 2020 in Mumbai. The IIW will host a day long session on ‘Role of Welding in Urban & Public Infrastructure – Bridges. Subject experts from power, defence, 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, also from National Highway Authority, Indian and Konkan Railway officials.

During the 3-Day event 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 very healthy, annual packages starting from 3 Lakh up to as high as 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 Kamal Shah. n

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