Number of skilled workers should go up 10-fold: Oscar

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New Delhi, Oct 7 (UNI) Labour and Employment Minister Oscar Fernandes today called for a ten-fold rise in the number of skilled workers, from 5 per cent to 50 per cent of the total work force, in order to sustain the high economic growth.

''If we have to continue our economic growth, we must make every effort to increase the number of our skilled workers who constitute only 5 per cent of the total work force to 50 per cent in the coming years,'' the Minister said after giving away the Vishwakarma Rashtriya Puraskars and the National Safety Awards 2006.

Further, the work environment in the industries should be accident free and the management should ensure that workers were put on the jobs only after getting trained on safety aspects.

There was a need for creation of an amicable atmosphere between the work force and management. The senior management should always be ready to learn from the experience of the workers to ensure increased productivity, he said.

The Minister said employment opportunities were being created in the rural areas to eradicate poverty and in this context he mentioned the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) which was being extended to the entire country.

The Vishwakarma Awards are given to workers for their innovative suggestions leading among other things to cost reduction, higher productivity, import substitution and improved efficiency of the organisation.

There are three Categories of prizes under the Vishwakarma Rashtriya Puraskar -- Classes A, B and C. The winners under these classes are awarded cash prizes of Rs 50,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs.

10,000 each respectively. In addition, a certificate of merit is also presented to the awardees.

In all, 221 applications were received for the award year 2006 (Performance Year 2005) under the Vishwakarma Rashtriya Puraskar Scheme. Out of these, 28 applications have been adjudged for distribution of awards today. The 28 Vishwakarma awards comprise 5 awards for Class-A (29 workers); 8 awards for Class-B (21 workers) and 15 awards for Class-C (49 workers) categories. In total, 99 workers shared these 28 awards today.

The National Safety Awards are conferred on the managements of industrial establishments, ports and construction sites, in recognition to their excellent performance in maintenance of safe and health working conditions at work place. Out of 341 applications received for the award year 2006, a total of 96 (56 winners&39 runners-up) awards were given away by Mr Fernandes.


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