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Infrastructure sector facing shortage of skilled manpower: Study
India's infrastructure industry is facing a significant 20 per cent dearth of project managers leading to project delays and cost overruns.

According to a study titled 'Road Sector Role in Futuristic Development of India', conducted by industry body Assocham, “India is currently facing an annual paucity of over 10 lakh project management professionals, moreover employability is also a key factor in this regard as most of the already employed workers in infrastructure construction space have not received any vocational training.”

In a statement Assocham's secretary general D.S. Rawat said “Infrastructure sector is basically a ‘projectized industry,’ as such project management is of very high importance in this sector where the product is tangible, the cost high and mobilization of resources from related industries central.”

He added that as the projects in infrastructure sector are becoming increasingly complex and with wider scope, the sector is suffering from skilled manpower shortage.

“Many of the large size infra projects like mega highways and others involving greater interdependence and increased regulatory compliance requirements are in limbo as they require coordinating with multiple vendors and optimizing allocation of resources which require professionals possessing project management skills.”

Project management requires and involves an interplay between organizations, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other departments, tremendous manpower management, vendor management and strict budgeting.

With dozens of contractors and sub-contractors, hundreds of vendors and thousands of workers spread across miles of project site, they present a unique set of challenges that more often than not lead to severe delays and serious cost overruns, said the Assocham study.

Most of the project managers in infrastructure sector lack requisite managerial skills, while the highly qualified ones are shifting to sectors like information technology (IT), finance and others.

According to the government sources, over 550 infrastructure projects across India are facing huge escalation in overall project costs to the tune of about Rs two lakh crore due to a series of factors like land acquisition, environmental rules and regulatory approvals and shortage of well-trained, skilled, certified, and competent specialists in infrastructure sector like engineers and other such professionals.

In its study, the industry body has suggested that India should enhance the quality of vocational education and training as per the demands of infrastructure sector. Besides, there is also a need to improve the efficiency of the departments, divisions & training centres and especially the quality of training services in order to the meet industry standards.

Need for skilled workforce has become all the more important owing to prevalence of an overall difficult economic situation, asserted the study. 

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