The Mumbai attack of 26/11 brought the Indian private security industry or the manned guarding industry in the focus. The security guards of Hotel Taj were the first ones to encounter the terrorists and many experts commented that had the guards been trained and armed to face the situation, the story would have been less tragic. The industry was born in the 1960’s with a handful of players. According to industry sources, the domestic private security services industry aims at registering over 20 per cent growth in the next few years and expects to double its market size to Rs 80,000 crore by 2020. The industry growth could be attributed to the key drivers like growing urbanization and increasing insecurity, mushrooming of shopping malls and self contained townships, frequent terror attacks, shortage of police personnel and last but not least security agency itself being a profitable business. A more economic justification for engaging private security is that insurance companies particularly fire insurance carriers will give substantial discount to sites as presence of security reduces odds of incidence As early as 2006, it was reported that the industry was paying Rs 10,000 crore to the exchequer by way of service tax, provident fund, contributions to employees insurance etc. The private security agencies (PSAs) have become an important segment of the economy, by not only contributing to the government but also by generating employment opportunities for urban and BPL youth. The industry’s most notable growth has been in the past six-seven years, with a CAGR of over 25 per cent. The number of companies operational is approximately 15,000 including both unorganised and organised. There are over five million private security guards available as compared to 3.2 million police officers contributing to one of the major factors in boosting the demand in the industry. Today the industry is perceived to be growing at 40 per cent.
The measure of security these guards provide came under question after the Mumbai attacks in 2008. Terrorists were able to store ammunition in the Taj Hotel, and enter it and two other hotels with arms, despite a sizable private security contingent at all three places. For nearly three days terrorists were able to wreak havoc and kept scores of people as hostage. In many areas of India, a police presence is almost nonexistent but adding more guards and more people is not a solution. Many guards are farm workers in small villages of the country. Through job fairs and local offices in rural states like Rajasthan, Bihar and Punjab, companies sign on thousands of young men at a time, put them through training camps, and then send them to urban centers. Those who are recruited must provide police verification of their identity, pass routine medical tests and tests for literacy and basic math. But there is little vetting of their character or their background. Before the training, most of the recruits have never been to an office park, ridden an elevator, used a fire extinguisher or, often, seen a gun.
In about a month, they are supposed to be able to determine who should and should not enter the malls, corporate office parks, apartment blocks and even public transportation in India’s urban areas. They are also the first on the scene in accidents and fires because fire and ambulance services are slow in their response time.
In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the “National Skill Development Mission” asserting that his government has declared a war on poverty and is determined to win it and each poor, underprivileged youth is a soldier in this war. Noting that India will have a surplus manpower of 4 to 5 crore over the next decade, the Prime Minister emphasised the need to provide this youthful manpower with skills and ability to tackle global challenges, and warned that the demographic dividend would otherwise become a challenge in itself. He said that if the 20th century saw India’s foremost technical institutes – the IITs – make a name for themselves globally, the 21st century required that India’s ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes), acquire global recognition for producing quality skilled manpower. The Prime Minister called for constant updating of training programmes and syllabi to ensure that the youth is exposed to latest technology and industry environment. He said the Government would work to promote both apprenticeship and entrepreneurs. He said it is important to predict the possibilities of the future, and prepare for them today itself.
The Private Security Sector (PSS), which is the second largest employer of manpower after the Agriculture Sector, lies in the unorganized sector of our economy and is perhaps not optimally motivated, trained or equipped to successfully take on the challenges that confront it. This sector employing approximately seven million people and growing at an annual rate of 25 per cent comprises youth lacking in education and hailing from the weaker sections of our society. Honing their skills, therefore, falls within the ambit of Prime Minister’s vision of up skilling the youth of our country in preparing them to take their rightful place in India’s growing economy.
To achieve this up skilling, institutional arrangements have been finalised at the national level which consists of the National Council for Skill Development chaired by the Prime Minister, a National Skill Development Coordination Board under the Planning Commission and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) funded by the Ministry of Finance for promoting skill development in the private sector. NSDC set up in July 2008, is in the process of setting up Sector Skill Council (SSC) in different sectors of the economy. One of the first such councils set up through the lead provided by Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI) is the Security Sector Skill Development Council (SSSDC) for addressing issues related to PSS.
In accordance with the National Skill Development policy of the government, SSSDC was constituted. It was jointly formed by CAPSI and NSDC. As per the SSC formation term sheet of the NSDC , top 10 companies of the Private Security Sector along with the representatives from State-based associations, CII, FICCI, Ministry of Defence, MSMEs, were invited to join the Board of Directors. Among the Top 10 guarding companies following, extended support and joined the NSDC initiative. Tops Grup Ltd, Checkmate , G4S Security Solutions ,BIS Ltd, SDB-ISS, Eagle Hunters Security, Premier Shield, SSMS, Securitas, SLV, SIS & Peregrine joined as special invitee. Chapter Chairman of Delhi State Chapter of CAPSI represents MSME of PSS. Ministry of Defence deputed Managing Director of Army Welfare & Placements Organisation to be on the Board. State based industry associations like Karnataka Security
Services Association and Security Association of India. End users of Private Security Services like CII and FICCI joined Board and extended total support in the formation of the Sector Skill Council.
SSSDC envisions achieving uniformity in the standards of training, assessment and certification in the PSS; at par with world standards, to empower Indian private security personnel through knowledge, skills and proficiency enhancement, for their better employability and career prospects, both within the country and abroad. With the whole-hearted support of industry, SSSDC’s journey has been path-breaking and has seen history in the making. The emphasis has been on skilling the youth on security skills to make them job ready.
Protocols have been developed for affiliating TPs, ABs and for certification of the existing workforce under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). In this regard, SSSDC has made substantive all-round progress in drafting QPs, NOSs and curricula, training of trainers & assessors, affiliating TPs & ABs and putting on ground a credible assessment and certification process. Besides this, SSSDC has been actively involved in the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) project for introducing Security as a vocational subject in secondary schools across India.
SSSDC was the first sector skill council to have drafted the QP & NOS for Unarmed Security Guard. Subsequently QPs and NOSs for other job roles like Armed Security Guard, Security Supervisor, CCTV Supervisor, Personal Security Officer, Security Officer, Assignment Manager and Investigator were drafted and validated by PSS. Work is to prepare standards for Cash-in-transit operations and job role of Fireman. Short courses are also being developed to equip the workforce to handle specialized tasks in different sectors of deployment with required expertise.
For the first time in 70 years of Independence, a ministry for Skill Development& Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has been formed to focus on enhancing employability of the youth through skill development. The skill ecosystem in India, is seeing some great reforms and policy interventions which is reinvigorating and reenergising the country’s workforce today; and is preparing the youth for job and growth opportunities in the international market. The Prime minister’s flagship scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) alone, has till date seen close to 20 lakh people get skilled and prepared for a new successful India.
Skill India harbours responsibility for ensuring implementation of Common norms across all skill development programs in the country so that they are all standardised and aligned to one objective. The ITI ecosystem has also been brought under Skill India for garnering better results in vocational education and training. The success of a nation always depends on the success of its youth and Skill India is certain to bring a lot of advantage and opportunities for these young Indians.
(By Uday India Bureau)