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‘Skilled India’ and Stainless Steel

Nirmal Mathur - 10 August 2016

India is facing a skilling challenge of vast proportions, which includes the entire product chain of the stainless steel industry. To overcome this challenge, nationwide training programmes are planned or already underway.

About the author

Mr Nirmal Mathur
Nirmal Mathur is Director at Jindal Stainless and the founder of the Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA) of which he was President until 2016. He is a regular contributor to the Stainless Steel World magazine and Stainless Steel World News.

Skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development for any country. Countries with higher and better levels of skills adjust more effectively to challenges and opportunities. After taking oath, Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi said: “Today the world focuses on trade in goods but in the future the core issue will be how to get skilled people. We need to work in this direction.”

India continues to face a skilling challenge of vast proportions, which includes the whole product chain of the stainless steel industry. Based on the Census 2011 and National Sample Survey Office data (68th Round), it is estimated that 104 million fresh entrants to the workforce will require skill training by 2022, and 298 million of the existing workforce will require additional skill training over the same time period. Acknowledging the formidable scale of the challenge, the Government of India has created a platform and awareness of a new skilling ecosystem, with closer coordination across the public and private sectors. More specifically, in 2015, the National Skill Development Mission was officially launched, to create convergence across sectors and states in terms of skill training activities.

Today, India is the world’s second-largest producer and third-largest user of stainless steel. There is a transformation going on with the end use of stainless steels in various sectors such as Automotive, Railways and Transport (ART), Architecture, Building and Construction ABC), and the process industry including the metal goods sector. The government’s emphasis on building smart cities and expansion of infrastructure has opened up good potential for various applications where stainless steel and its products fit the theme of sustainable growth for future generations. Stainless steel fabrication in the country has also seen a huge transformation in the last few decades. Good fabrication practices are vital for the service life of stainless steel products and related projects. In India, a large number of small and mid-size fabricators involved in making products related to architecture, building and construction require proper training and improvement in knowledge and skill to maintain the quality of fabrication and compete both nationally and internationally. In tune with the Government of India’s initiative, the Indian Stainless Steel Development Association is supporting its member companies to enhance the knowledge and skills of people dealing with fabrication of stainless steel.

Stainless steels can be fabricated by methods similar to those used for carbon steels and other common metals. However, changes may be necessary to the extent that they differ in yield strength, rate of work hardening and welding and finishing practices. It is very important that right fabrication practices are adopted while dealing with stainless steel.

In these training programmes, emphasis is placed on the basics of stainless steel, right practices of design & fabrication, and innovative ideas on the possibilities of new product design are also shared. This helps fabricators and other programme attendees not only to improve product quality and productivity, but also to match international standards. Today, when the Indian stainless steel industry is poised for growth, such skill development activities will help actualise the potential.

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