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Gen VK Singh asks private security agencies to modernise, fill gaps in security requirements

NEW DELHI :  Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (retd.) V K Singh asked private security agencies to upgrade their skills and adopt modern technologies to make India a safer place. "Our security environment is changing fast. Our streets may not be as safe as it is today. Therefore, it is important that private security agencies wake up to growing challenges related to public safety and security. They need to fill the gaps in our security requirements," he said while addressing the annual conference of the Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI) and the Association of Private Detectives and Investigators (APDI).

Gen. Singh said the sphere of private security agencies has increased many times and so has the challenges. "Our internal security environment needs better trained personnel. The industry need to look into the challenges of providing better trained and better equipped manpower. As government cannot meet all the requirements of security, particularly those being demanded by private people, private agencies should take on this task. We are becoming more dependent on private security. There is growing demand for private security personnel. The private security agencies should wake up to this growing demand," he said.

Speaking at the conference, CAPSI Chairperson Kunwar Vikram Singh raised the issues concerning the sector, particularly related to imposition of GST which is putting financial burden on agencies and also new regulation which puts onus of crimes committed by a guard on his employer. "I have apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi about these two important issues which could kill this sector which is not only the largest private sector employer with 72 lakh personnel but also top corporate tax contributor. The Prime Minister has asked Union Home Ministry to look into our concerns on urgent basis," he said.

Mr. Singh, who also heads the Security Sector Skill Development Council (SSSDC), said the sector currently employs 70 lakh people in 22,000 private security agencies. But still it is neglected. "We have urged the Prime Minister to save the sector which could prove crucial for the success of 'Skill India' and also in generating jobs. We have demanded that for security agencies GST should be made on reverse charge basis so that service taker is made to pay GST and not the service providers. Our payments are delayed but we make timely payment of salaries to our personnel. It is not possible for us to make upfront payment of GST...we cannot take this extra burden of 18%. Already many agencies are closing down due to this burden. If this continues, our sector will be in distress and lakhs of people will become jobless,' Mr. Singh warned.

Mr. Singh further said there is a need for amendments of the Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act in consultation with the security agencies. A recent provision that for any crime committed by a guard, his employer will have to face severe penal action is draconian and needs to be withdrawn immediately. "This is highly objectionable rule which will lead to chaos. Similarly, there are also other provisions which need amendments so that our industry could grow and give more employment. We also need a fair tender process by government or public sector undertakings (PSUs) was necessary to promote competition," he added.

Speaking at the event, former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said the government should spend on private security as providing security and giving a safe environment is necessary for unhindered growth and progress of the country. He urged owners of private security agencies and security providers to adopt modern technologies, upgrade skills, use latest gadgets and deploy latest e-surveillance techniques  to make streets and public places more safe and secure.

“In India police-population ratio is not adequate and it is difficult for the government to meet all security requirements of the country. Therefore, the role of private security agencies is very crucial. Private guards can provide important assistance to state police and security agencies in beefing up security. We need forward-looking policies to ensure growth of the sector and not to strangulate it,” Mr. Patil added.

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