National Commission on Labour (1967)||
Institutional training, good as it is, for introducing a young man/woman into a trade. need not necessarily enable him/her to have a feel of the machine nor a taste of the environment in which he/she has to work. Howsoever good the training arrangements in the ITIs, they cannot by themselves simulate industrial conditions and environments; apprenticeship in a plant therefore becomes a necessary step for transition from the life of a trainee to that of a worker.
8.10 Since voluntary schemes for apprenticeship training were not forthcoming on the scale needed for industrial development, the Shiva Rao Committee2 envisaged compulsory apprenticeship. Committees appointed thereafter took note of the faster expansion planned for the economy in making their recommendations on 'apprenticeship'. Thus the Technical Training Committee of the Small-Scale Industries Board (1956), the Special Apprenticeship Committee of the Small-Scale Industries Board (1958), the Working Group on Technical Education (1959) and the National Council for Training in Vocational Trades in 1960, all recommended legislation to regulate and enforce apprenticeship training in the country. The Apprentices Act, 1961 thus came into being and was enforced on March 1, 1962. Under the Act, employers in specified Industries are obliged to train a certain number of apprentices in 'designated' trades according to prescribed national standards. The proportion of apprentices to workers employed varies from trade to trade; it is 14 per cent in most of the trades.
1 For details, see the Report of the Study Group on Employment and Training. 2 The Training and Employment Services Organisation Committee (1954).
8.11 At the end of August, 1968, 37,205 apprentices were undergoing training in 50 trades in about 3,250 establishments belonging to 200 different industries. Subject to survey of available facilities, the target for the Fourth Plan has been provisionally fixed at 100,000 training seats for apprentices. It has been decided to intensify, as well as diversify, the apprenticeship training during the Fourth Plan to meet the specific requirements of industries. The scope of the Act is wide and can be extended to any field or industry to regulate and control the training of apprentices.
8.12 Apart from the arrangements in the DGET, the National Small Industries Corporation provides training in the Small Industries Service Institutes and workshops in a number of trades such as electroplating, carpentry, footwear, tanning, foundry, blacksmithy, machining, turning, welding, fitting, sheet metal trades, die and tool making, cane and bamboo making, glass blowing, rubber and plastics and pottery. The Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Community Development and Cooperation provides training in food preservation, poultry, piggery, fish culture and village crafts. The Silk Board and the Khadi and Village Industries Commission have their training programmes in sericulture, weaving, salesmanship, oil crushing, hand pounding of paddy, gur making, bee keeping, soap making, hand-made paper making, leather works, pottery, match making, etc. The Oil and Natural Gas Commission, the Neyveli Lignite Corporation, the National Coal Development Corporation and State Departments of Industries provide apprenticeship training in a number of trades.
8.13 The range of training facilities discussed above has to be assessed in terms of whether they provide 'a man for the job' and 'a job for the man'. The first test has to be viewed in relation to the shortages in skills which develop in the economy and the second will show the other imbalance of many persons with the same qualifications available for employment; both may reflect the quality of training as also lack of planning in the facilities provided.
8.14 Experience has shown that in some trades and in certain areas shortages have been persistent. Employment Exchanges report shortages of professional and trained persons, fitters, turners, machinists, mechanics, moulders, blacksmiths, electroplaters, etc., almost all over the country and surpluses of some skills in certain areas. Detailed investigations undertaken by that organisation reveal that both shortages and surpluses are somewhat unreal. Where shortages are reported, the employer does not necessarily accept a trained worker, and where there is a surplus, the trained worker does not show a desire to move out. Indian labour has a reputation of being mobile generally but a skilled worker who has some means to fall back upon, though they may be inadequate, shows resistance to move. A reason can be that the difference in the wage a worker hopes to get in his own area and the one he is offered in new employment is not such as would attract him. A shortage in one area and a surplus in another can be explained on this basis. We have also come across cases where shortages and surpluses are reported for apparently the same category of workers at the same centre. Our analysis reveals that this impression is created at times as a result of inadequate definitions of the trades in which such situations are reported. The National Classification of Occupations prepared by the DGET which defines various trades and describes the job content and training required for each might help a better understanding of the apparent imbalances. We recommend that steps should be taken to put this classification on a basis which will help a better assessment of supply from training institutes and demand from employers.
8.15 Employers at some centres have urged before us that they experience shortages of workers in skilled occupations. The unions on the other hand consider these shortages as illusory and connected with the conditions of work which an employer offers. The training agencies report that irrespective of conditions of work at least a few shortages result because employers insist on a certain length of experience which is often lacking in persons seeking placement. A vicious circle is brought into being in the sense that unless a person is employed he cannot gain experience and lack of experience inhibits an employer from taking him in. According to us, the remedy is to put these trained personnel as stipendiary apprentices in industries where they can gain experience.
8.16 While the case just described is somewhat simple and involves persons who have yet to get into a job, the more difficult and certainly more poignant case is of a person who is affected by technological change. Obsolescence of old skills and development of new ones is an imperative of the days we live
in. In many cases, because of new machinery coming in and the inability of old hands to man it, problems arise of surplus hands in obsolete skills and shortage of workers in new ones. There should, therefore, be facilities provided by the plant for retraining of employees. But some workers may still be surplus and they should be given training in general trades.
8.17 While we propose to refer to the human a period of changing technology and to remove considerations involved in this process of technological change elsewhere in the report, we welcome the steps taken by Government to keep under review the manpower problems in such imbalances of manpower as are bound to arise in the process. The remedy lies in keeping a watch over the trends, anticipating changes in the occupational structure, and taking the necessary steps to forestall shortages. For this purpose arrangements already exist in the DGET, Department of Labour and Employment, for undertaking employment market surveys on a regular basis. The surveys should be made more purposive.