Sunday, August 12, 2007

Opportunity in insecurity!

We suffer from bigger internal insecurity threat than external

Not very long ago, hiring of Private Security Services for personal protection was more of a conspicuous consumption, as it made the person feel important and added more to his/her snob value, even if the threat of internal insecurity was not so high! But over the years, like everything else, this trend too seems to have changed and that too at a brisk pace. Such is the state of internal insecurity today that the men/women in blue uniforms have become ubiquitous.
Reports state that there are around 50,000 private security agencies that are currently operating in the country, employing around 5 million people. And it is also reported that this industry is growing at the rate of almost 25% to 30% annually and is slated to employ a whopping 10 million people in the next five years. This unprecedented growth has been fuelled by mass scale unemployment in the country but more than that it has been stimulated by the increasing sense of insecurity within Indian corporates and wealthy Indians. Almost all noted offices, markets, malls and cinema halls are dotted with men/women in blue making it evident, the extent to which establishments and individuals are suffering from the sense of insecurity. If numbers are to be considered of any significance, it can be stated for sure that today the magnitude of internal insecurity is more than that of external insecurity. Though ironical but the fact is that the total number of people employed in Indian Army, Navy and Air force, put together does not even come close to the figure employed by these private security agencies.

In all, Indian Army employs 1.3 million people; Navy employs around 55,000 and Air force around 155,000, which makes it to 1.5 million in total. These 1.5 million people, on one hand, guard the entire nation from external threats and on the other we are employing around 5 million people to guard us from internal threat, minus the state police and general administration! For that matter even if one has to include all the people who are employed with various para-military services like the CISF which employs around 103,000, CRPF - 2, 00,000, BSF- 2, 00,000, NSG- 7,500, ITBP - 25000 SSB- 40000, Assam Rifles - 65000, RPF- 65000, Coast Guard- 55,000, India Reserve Battalion – 103,000 (which is jointly owned by the Center and the State), then also the figure falls short of the numbers employed by the private security agencies currently. This relative comparison makes it apparent that today unfortunately the fear is more within the geographical boundaries of the nation than outside it. It also goes to indicate the extent to which people have lost faith in general administration as far as, among other things, internal security is concerned!

In fact the only silver lining in this internally insecure environment is the quantum of employment these private security agencies are able to generate, particularly for that strata of society who are least employable. It is a happy haunting ground for them, as just like internal security, the State has also failed to create an enabling environment to ‘secure’ productive engagement for millions, particularly for that strata of society!


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