Labour-intensive industries that currently cannot hire workers seasonally and are looking for skilled workers will get a shot in the arm as a new policy is likely to facilitate both. The Union labour ministry has proposed that India Inc piggyback on a clutch of government-run skilling programmes in areas where demand for trained hands are the highest. The firms will have to absorb 80% of the workers trained under the schemes for a limited period of six months.
Industry hopes the move, which allows corporates to design the government schemes, could be transformational for India’s labour sector, which is fraught with a lot of rigidities. It is also in consonance with the Modi government’s strategy of carrying out labour reforms in a piecemeal and need-based manner, without ruffling too many feathers.
As per a labour ministry note, reviewed by FE, a new window under the Craftsmen Training Scheme being run at industrial training institutes and the skill development initiative based on modular employable skills courses could be used by industry for training and hiring youth. “The courses will be conducted in high-potential areas and industry or the employer will ensure a minimum of 80% of those trained get work for at least six months,” the ministry said. The duration of the courses can be flexibly framed for one to two years or even shorter.
Such a move would address the shortage of skilled labour, especially in garment factories, as temporary workers are not allowed under the current law, an official source said. Even unskilled workers would be imparted training, he added.
DK Nair, secretary general of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry, agreed, calling the initiative a game changer, adding that SME units in the sector would be the main beneficiary of the move.
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“Availability of workers in general and trained workers in particular is one of the major challenges that the textiles sector is currently facing. We are already making use of some government schemes including the Integrated Skill Development Scheme of the ministry of textiles and the facilities of NSDC (National Skills Development Corporation),” he said.
Recently, the Cabinet cleared a clutch of changes in the Apprentices Act to help manufacturing industries absorb freshers and amendments in the Factories Act to allow companies to scale up operations through extended hours of work. Separately, the government has amended a clause in the Mines Act to provide