Manpower, funds shortage major challenges for construction industry

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Bangalore, Nov 14 (UNI) The growing skilled manpower shortage and dearth of funds to match the robust growth will haunt the construction industry in the country, growing at 30 per cent annually.

The McKinsey study on Earth Moving and Construction equipment (ECE) industry, released at EXCON-2007 here, said the industry would face a huge shortfall of workforce in the coming years in view of the current pace at which the industry was growing.

According to CII Southern Region Chairman P K Mohapatra, the industry, which employed 31 million people, second only to agriculture, had an annual additional demand of five million workers to keep up the robust growth as against the availability of only one million workers.

''The industry needs to add 15 per cent to its existing 31 million strong workforce and this will be a challenge. The industry and the Government should take note of this and facilitate training of enough workforce,'' he said.

The industry, which saw the advent of corporate sector only in 2000, was now dominated by about a dozen corporate houses, which account for more than 85 per cent of its revenue. If foreign companies enter the field, which was most likely in view of the growth rate the sector was witnessing, the Indian companies would face the music as they would be in danger of losing a substantial chunk of skilled workforce to the foreign companies.

ICICI Bank Chairman and Managing Director K V Kamath, who attended the inaugural function, said manpower shortage would be a problem, but it could be solved if the Government, private and public sector industries come together to train youth in a big way.

''Partnership in this regard will be important as there will be a battle for attracting manpower with skill-sets,'' he opined.

He said the sector would also contemplate from where the funds would come, looking at the 'flurry of activities' being witnessed in the construction sector. ''There will be a huge demand for finance in this sector and it will be a challenge for the Government and the banks to meet this demand. Presently it looks difficult. However, I hope banks will stand up to the challenge as they have been achieving good revenue growth on a par with the construction industry. Let us hope that a situation leading to out of alignment will not come,'' he said.

UNI

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