Pune: State Minister for Labour, Skill Development, Ex-Servicemen Welfare and Earthquake Rehabilitation Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar on Saturday said that of the 27 lakh construction labourers working in Maharashtra, only six lakh are registered.
He said the number of skill development centres in the State is also very less and has urged setting up of more such centres. He was speaking at the launch of a Skill Development Programme to celebrate Kushalta Divas by CREDAI in 10 cities in the State at Yashwantrao Chavan Academy for Development Administration (YASHADA).
Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy was the Chief Guest for the event. Addressing developers, contractors and labourers, Nilangekar said the State government is drawing elaborate plans and schemes for welfare of construction labourers. “We are taking many steps and launching schemes for imparting skills to labourers. There are only 200 skill development centres in Maharashtra. There is a need for more centres. Meanwhile, the government is also working on schemes such as a central kitchen for labourers, a security programme, a Gharkul Yojana and others,” said Nilangekar.
Speaking about the Gharkul Yojana, Nilangekar said, “Under this scheme, eligible labourers will get up to Rs 1 lakh to buy a house of their own. Labourers working at construction sites will be provided houses by 2019.”
Rudy said he met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis earlier in the day to discuss plans to set up skill centres across the State. “We had an extensive discussion. We have a target of imparting skills to one crore people in the State in the next three years. The admissions for ITIs were discussed. These admissions will be given through an online test,” he said.
Speaking on the status of skilling in the country, he said, “Skill development in the country should have started immediately after independence. But undue emphasis was given to education at that time. Out of 18 lakh engineering seats in the country, eight lakh are lying vacant. When one speaks of employability of these engineering graduates, only seven per cent get jobs in the country. In light of this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set up a separate ministry for skill development.”
Rudy said skilled manpower in other countries earns nearly $100 in 20 minutes. Labourers in India can earn a lot more. “We have a lot more people, who will work better for 24 hours and earn the same way. I tell CREDAI to pick up 10 labourers and train them in English, German or French and also skill them in using the latest equipment. Give them a passport and they will send Rs 1 lakh back home from their earnings,” he said.
Rudy’s soft threat
Rudy threatened to boycott future events organised by CREDAI if the body does not set up skilling centres in every nook and corner of the country. “You are seeking a grant from the government out of habit. I am ready to give you a soft loan at three per cent and also pay Rs 15,000 for skilling of labourers. I have been telling this to CREDAI for the last two years. You must work across the country and not just in your area. I will attend a CREDAI event next time, only if they do this work,” he said.