Probable shortage of skilled manpower attracts car makers' concern at Gujarat

Tuesday 27 September 2011, 14:50 PM by

As automobile makers continue to throng Gujarat, offering it immense scope to emerge as India's automobile hub, fulfilling the manpower requirement for the plants is not a child's play.

According to Amit Kapoor, Chairman of the Institute for Competitiveness “The auto sector of Gujarat, including ancillary units, has the potential to generate at least 100,000 new jobs in the next two-three years going by the number of auto companies rushing to the state.” It would be quite sensible if, before making investments, the companies as well as the Gujarat government mull upon the expected issues of skill shortage.

Satiating the manpower need is an important aspect that would enable the commencement of activities at the plant. Moreover, as companies have to offer benefits to the government and the people by ensuring that 80% of the workforce is hired from Gujarat itself, the issue becomes more pertinent.

An official of a company reiterated that it is a challenge to find workers who have been domiciled in Gujarat for 15 years.

Michael Boneham, President and Managing Director of Ford India Pvt. Ltd said, “The availability of skilled manpower is surely a matter of prime concern for us,” “We still have three years before we can start production at our plant and we hope to resolve this issue with the support of the state government by then.”

While the number of workers required for the plants would directly depend upon the amount of work being performed manually and the plant design, the state employment policy has a key role to play.

According to an official working with an automobile company, “All the best people have been absorbed by the Tatas and Bosch Rexroth India Ltd at Sanand. We will gather data of the available workforce and make a presentation to the state government at an appropriate time in future. We respect the law of the land. We have been assured all necessary support by the state and we will approach the government to help us whenever the need arises.” As a matter of fact, Bosch Rexroth Ltd. is in the process of building up a new hydraulics plant at Sanand.

Both Peugeot and Ford are expected to make an investment of Rs. 4,000 crore each, for which they have been allotted a 2,200-acre land at the industrial area of Sanand that is also a home to the Nano project.

According to a government official, of the total 900 employees working in the Tata plant at Sanand, the company has hired 800 local residents from the ITIs and also through a training programme. It is expected that other car companies could also follow the footsteps of Tata Motors.

What has come as a relief for the car makers is the fact that the ratio of skilled to unskilled manpower would be 60:40.

R.C. Bhargava, Chairman of Maruti Suzuki India Limited said, “Assuming we do go to Gujarat, we will train people for the facility. The state has training facilities.”