Article from ET Realty
NEW DELHI: India will embark on a massive skilling exercise to train workers in construction under its ‘rural mason’ programme, the first time it’s planning such an initiative at this scale.
The rural development ministry, which has the task of building 3 crore houses in the next seven years under the Indira Awaas Yojana, wants to ensure there is enough skilled labour available to meet this goal.
Funding for the training will come from the capacity building component of the Rs 35,000-crore Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Generation Scheme, said officials aware of the plan. A pilot programme will be launched in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand to train 50,000 workers in 35 days, after which it will be rolled out across the country. The Construction Skill Development Council of India will provide the training to unskilled workers besides mentoring them at worksites. It will also issue certificates to workers after they complete the master training programme.
“We are trying to work out a completely new profile for a rural mason since such a course does not exist presently,” the official cited above told ET. The idea is to train workers onsite in broad areas of construction and the new technology. Rural masons will be trained in scaffolding and bricklaying besides casting of cement and concrete. These skills will help in upgrading the quality of rural housing India as well, it is expected.
The government wants to double the number of homes being built under the Indira Awaas Yojana now 20-25 lakh to be able to achieve its seven-year target. “Construction is one of the fastest-growing sectors and there is a huge dearth of skilled or semi-skilled workforce,” another official said. “We see a lot of scope for a programme like rural masons in the coming years.” The Construction Skill Development Council will also start a ‘train the trainers’ programme to scale the initiative up to the national level. The rural development ministry had earlier this year started a barefoot engineers programme, training rural youth to create basic infrastructure that can be used for agriculture and irrigation among other things.
The rural development ministry has also rolled out a Livelihood of Full Employment (Life) project to build entrepreneurship and infrastructure in rural areas and add to the capacity of the rural jobs programme. The government wants to make the employment guarantee scheme outcome oriented through asset creation. Spending by the rural development ministry on public works, including natural resource management and individual assets for vulnerable sections, has touched 57 per cent of the budgeted amount for the fiscal year.