After importing metals and machineries from developed countries, contractors of infrastructure projects are now deploying welding and cutting operators from China, Russia and East European countries due to a huge shortage of domestic skilled welding workforce.

All the infrastructure projects including roads, railways and bridges, power and shipping are dependent on proper metal joining technology which can be executed only by trained and certified manpower.

The Indian Institute of Welding has estimated a short supply of 1.2 million welding professionals including welders, cutters, fitters, equipment operators besides engineers and inspectors.

The current shortage of 1.2 million welding professionals may balloon to 1.35 million in the next three years given over ₹100 lakh crore infrastructure învestments planned by the government over the next 5 years.

The Indian Institute of Welding has sought decisive action from the Skill Development Ministry to promote welding education of international standard in India.

R Srinivasan, spokesperson and past-president of IIW said projects to add 90,000 MW power generation capacities and creating new construction assets of ₹52 lakh crore are facing issues over timely completion due to insufficiently skilled workforce.

The National mission to build 20 km a day of new highways is already running behind while the ‘Make-in-India’ campaign had pushed up growth prospects of manufacturing sector, but there is a perennial shortage of skilled labour especially in construction, automobile, power and defence sectors, he said.

Kamal Shah, Chairman (Mumbai Branch), IIW said the International Congress 2020 and Weld India expo to be held next February in Mumbai would discuss ways to overcome the skilled labour shortage with the participation of bureaucrats, public sector companies and various state governments.