New Delhi: Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday urged highway builders, contractors, and skill development institutions to come forward and train the local, unemployed youth in highway construction, and upgrade the skills of existing workers. In his address at a meeting of National Highways Builders Federation and several construction training institutions, he said that his ministry will pay Rs 15, 000 per trainee as a stipend to compensate for the loss of wage during the training period. "The payment would be made directly to the Aadhar linked bank account of the trainee. In addition to this it would also be made mandatory for every contractor who is awarded a highways contract, to train at least ten persons for every Rs 1 crore spent on the project," said Gadkari. The ministry is in active consultation with stakeholders to finalise and unfold the programme for skill upgradations of highway construction workers and drivers of commercial vehicles. "The programme, proposed to work on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, is aimed at upskilling both unemployed local youth as well as those already working under contractors. The National Highways Builders Federation, Original Equipment Manufacturers and NHAI would be the main programme partners," said a ministry statement. It also said that the Indian Academy of Highway Engineers will be the lead agency and will coordinate all activities pertaining to the training programmes. "Standards of training programmes, intake, syllabi, trainee-trainer ratio and other parameters for the training programmes, within the National Skill Quality Framework, will be finalised by IAHE with the approval of the Ministry. The training will be imparted in various trades related to highways construction such as masonry, concreting, machine operation and so on," said the statement. The programme aims to start with training 20,000 highway construction workers immediately and increasing the numbers so that the manpower requirement of the sector is fulfilled together with creation of employment opportunities for jobless youth.