India currently has approximately 5.5 million security guards employed by about 15,000 security companies; as an industry, this sector is now the country’s largest corporate taxpayer, according to Col. Jagat Trikha, executive director of the Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI).
It is likely to continue to grow. Even before the attack last year, the industry was experiencing an annual growth rate of 25 percent due primarily to the country’s infrastructure development, Trikha says. The association now estimates an annual growth rate of 40 percent.But in many ways, this industry is still in its infancy.
Capt. Percy Jokhi, CPP, head of security and vigilance at First Source Solutions Ltd. in Mumbai, compared the private security industry in India to the same industry in the United States 40 years ago, saying that the average security guard in this country is often under screened, undertrained, under supervised, and underpaid, just as was reported to be the case in the U.S. in a 1971 RAND Corp. study.
Despite increased investment, private security’s end users have not yet seen a change in the quality of officers, Jokhi says, “though we have expressed a desire as clients to see a better- trained work force.” Jokhi acknowledges that there has been some progress, “but it will probably take a little time for us to feel the results,” he says.
India’s Private Security Agencies Regulation Act, 2005 (PSAR), was created to improve private security standards in the country by issuing licenses to security companies. It also sets minimum standards for security guards, such as 160 hours of training before deployment. CAPSI advises that providers view PSAR as a floor, not a ceiling, however. It recommends that security companies train guards for two months before deployment.
The law also requires that owners and major shareholders of private security companies in the country be citizens of India. But it does not prevent outside firms from entering into business relationships with local firms.