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Developmental Issues

All workers executing government contracts must have official certification for their skills, the government has decided.

Only 2.4% of India’s workforce is formally trained as per the Periodic Labour Force Survey of 2018-19.

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has told all government departments to mandate this requirement for all contracts issued under their watch.

Paying lower wages

It cited contractors’ preference to employ informal workers at lower wages in contrast to the government’s push to train and certify skilled workers.

“If the above provision cannot be applied in toto immediately, then a phase-wise application can be thought of … it can be mandated that up to 10% of the strength of skilled workers utilised in 2021-22 will be certified skilled workers, which shall be progressively increased to 100% by 2026-27,” Praveen Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, wrote in a communiqué to Ministries.

Government contractors’ preference for low-wage informal workers, Mr. Kumar said, was creating a dichotomy where the government was trying to promote skilling in workforce without insisting on the use of skilled manpower for its projects.

The new stipulation would make more people seek certification and influence industry hiring practices, the Ministry said.

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