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India needs more civil engineers

According to a report in The Economic Times, India is facing a serious shortage of civil engineers -- one that is driving up salaries.


According to a report in The Economic Times, India is facing a serious shortage of civil engineers — one that is driving up salaries.

The report dated November 15 says “bright, well educated graduates are choosing careers in banking, consultantcy and computer technology instead of civil engineering…” As a result “many universities are closing down their degree courses in the subject.”

The World Bank estimates that India’s urban population will grow from 331 million to 500 million in 2017, and that this will put immense pressure on the country to develop infrastructure. The government plans to spend one trillion dollars on infrastructure between 2012 and 2017.

Yet a 2009 report on India’s construction industry written by Arnam Bandyopadhyay of the World Bank, said about a third of civil engineering courses in India had closed over the last 10 years. Bandyopadhyay reportedly said that the country needs about three times as many engineers as it has now in the road sector alone.

As a result of the shortage, civil engineers’ salaries have begun to rise. According to the Economic Times report, a civil engineer with three years’ experience is now commanding about 50,000 rupees per month (about US $1,300), whereas five years ago they were only earning 15,000 rupees.

Not only does the country face a massive shortfall in engineers, there are some who question the quality and standards of the civil engineering work being done now. A pedestrian bridge next to the main stadium built for the Commonwealth Games last month collapsed a few days before the event.