Security: a sunrise sector creating jobs

The private security sector in India has been creating specialised jobs for a sizable population for decades. Owing to the growth in urbanisation, retail boom and increased concerns regarding the security of people, asset and premises, the future for the industry looks even more promising today.

One of the key drivers of this trend is the fact that India has the lowest police to citizen ratio in the world. As per the Bureau of Police Research and Development, compared to the global median of 3:1000, India has a police to citizen ratio of 1.3:1000.

According to the recent FICCI-PwC report, titled Indian private security industry: Preparing for the next leap, the industry is valued at Rs 57,000 crore and is likely to scale upto Rs 99,000 crore by the year 2020. Recent government initiatives like 'Smart Cities', 'Make in India' and the rapid growth in industrial complexes, public infrastructure and residential complexes have been the catalysts for this growth.

Globalisation and digitisation have brought innovation to this manpower-driven industry. Security service providers today are moving towards a semi-automated environment with the integration of traditional manned guarding and electronic surveillance. They offer numerous technological solutions to their clientele such as cybersecurity, data security, artificial intelligence and analytics. However, the security industry predominantly remains a major employment provider in the country with manned guarding as the key service.

The FICCI-PwC report states that the Indian security industry currently employs 8.5 million people. Security providers in India have a pan-India presence but are prominently present in tier I and tier II cities. With the rapid development of tier III cities and metropolitan districts, this sector will witness significant growth in the coming years. This will lead to the creation of more jobs in rural India, thereby easing the pressure on urban infrastructure.

The security industry has the potential to become one of the largest employment generators in the country and a major source of revenue for the exchequer in terms of taxes. However, even today, a large part of this industry is still in the unorganised sector.

The recent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) order of increa-
sing foreign holding of up to 74%
in private security agencies will help bring in global players along with the associated know-how and global best practices in the security sector. A January 2017 gazette notification by the Ministry of Labour and Employment has re-categorised security industry workers under the Central Minimum Wages Act and modified the minimum rate of daily pay. This is a good move to make the industry lucrative for our youth. Higher wages will attract better talent and enhance the quality of the services provided.

Focus on training

According to an NSDC report, manpower in this sector is largely sourced from the East and North-Eastern regions of the country such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Assam. In most cases, it is observed that the security guards may not be adequately trained to perform the tasks assigned to them.

While the lack of premium attached to skills remains a challenge, the introduction of the Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act, 2005, has influenced more private agencies to adopt in-house training practices. This will also help increase the number of female security staff in the sector. Further, the labour ministry's notification that security guards across the country need to be treated as skilled labour has ensured that the unorganised security service providers adhere to the minimum wages act.

Increasing urbanisation has led to the growth of organisations willing to pay a premium for the safety of personnel and property from compliant and quality-conscious security providers. Trained security guards today are not just manning private offices but are also being employed by various government organisations for sensitive installations. Gated residential communities, educational institutes and the hospitality sector are also demanding high-quality security due to increasing security threats.  

The new age security market is all set for a digital transformation in the times to come. Organisations are providing cutting-edge solutions enabled by IoT and analytics. Remote monitoring from command centres is enabling proactive and real-time risk mitigation.

A rising need for compliance and transparency has also influenced security providers to adhere to regulatory standards. Together, these transformations are changing the future of this industry, paving the way for a promising new era.

(The writer is CEO, Terrier Security Services (India) Pvt Ltd)

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