Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Hon’ble Union Minister for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, Government of India, has assured the Private Security Industry(PSI) that he will discuss with different departments of the government, to ensure that the long pending demands of the private security industry are given a close scrutiny. While hailing and appreciating the role of the industry in these trying times when the world is battling the COVID-19 crisis, the minister said he was aware of the sacrifices that the private security guards in particular and the entire industry in general had made.
Mr Gadkari was speaking in his keynote address during the webinar organised by FICCI on the subject of:
FUTURE OF PRIVATE SECURITY INDUSTRY, Atma Nirbhar Bharat: Boosting MSMEs for Quality Security Services & Manufacturing of CCTV & Fire Safety Systems: Supporting Job Creation & Early Recovery of Economic Activities.
The webinar, which attracted about 800 participants, was aimed at acquainting the minister with the issues that were plaguing the private security industry in not just these Covid times but even before that. The hour long webinar began with Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI, who gave an introduction on how the industry responded to the Covid 19 lock down with tenacity and dedication by ensuring that all private security guards were working when all other work had stopped.
Mr. Rituraj Sinha, Chair, FICCI Committee on Private Security Industry, & Group Managing Director, SIS India Ltd. who welcomed Mr Gadkari, hailed the minister for his achievements over the years and said that when everything was locked down, security guards, CCTV and cash vans were operating as usual. He said that the private security industry was amongst the top 5 job creators, and in GST contributions it was amongst the top 3. He informed the minister that during Covid lockdown over 50 lakh members of the PSI were on duty. Mr Sinha said that the government had solved a lot of problems in the industry, but there was more that needed to be done.
Some major players in the industry, including Mr Aditya Khemka of CP Plus, Mr Suresh Menon – President, FSAI, Mr NC Prakash – President of the Karnataka Security Association, Mr Gurcharan Singh Chauhan – President of the Security Association of India, and Mr Bhaskar Reddy – President of the Andhra Pradesh Security Association, were selected to apprise the minister about the issues ailing the industry.
Mr Khemka insisted that since CCTV was a basic need, taxation on it needed to be at par with the world. He said the GST on CCTV should be reduced from the current 18%. He also said that tenders were being rejected because of chinese components being used in CCTV cameras and said that since locally made components were not available almost all manufacturers used components from China, he also requested the minister to take a call on how much Chinese companies were to be allowed into India.
Mr Menon wanted that the GST on fire safety equipment should be removed completely since they were life saving products. Mr Gurcharan Chauhan wanted the GST to be reduced to 12% on guarding services. Mr NC Prakash said that the guards needed better coverage from insurance, especially in times of Covid, when they are doing frontline duties in potentially infectious environments such as hospitals etc.
Mr Gadkari began his address by hailing the industry while admitting that since the MSME definition had changed, he would have to study whether the PSI came under its gambit. The minister said that the guards needed to be trained more in technology and fire safety. On the issue of chinese components Mr Gadkari said that the need of the hour was to ensure that all components were made locally because India had the capability.
The minister said that the industry needed to send him a complete case of its demands, since its demands warranted involvement of multiple ministries, and who would ensure that he would interact with all to ensure that the industry that is so valuable gets its due. He also invited the industry to meet him in a delegation with the complete case of issues, including their taxation rates before and after GST was implemented, to enable him to get a clearer picture. He said that he and the government recognised and applauded the private security industry’s role in nation building and he would ensure that it operated under no stress.
Mr Rajiv Sharma, MD of G4S, delivered the ‘Thank You’ address, while assuring the minister that they would abide by his advice and work on for the betterment of the country.