At industry body Ficci’s Private Security Industry (PSI) Conclave-2018 which began on Friday, the personal security sector urged the government to increase its focus on the sector, amid rising crimes and unemployment.

Inaugurating the event, Shiv Pratap Shukla, minister of state for finance, said the government was actively considering the industry body’s recommendation to reduce the GST on private security agencies from the current 18% to capitalise on its job-creation potential.

It is just as well, since according to a report FICCI released at the event jointly with accounting and tax advisory firm BDO, the organised Indian personal security market was pegged at Rs 57,000 crore in 2016 and is expected to reach Rs 99,000 crore by 2020 and Rs 1.5 lakh crore by 2022. The industry is growing at nealry 20% every year. The theme of the event is job creation and skill development industry.

“There’s a long list of things that we want government to look into. Skill is one of them. Apart from construction and logistics, the private security industry is among the top five sectors to create jobs in the country,” Rituraj Sinha, managing director of the SIS Group, a private personal security company, told Fortune India.

On the demand for a cut in GST rate, Sinha said that such a relief would greatly benefit the small players who have to bear the burden of interest costs, as they have to borrow to deposit GST in advance.

Sinha, who is also the chair of the FICCI committee on private security industry, elaborated that the sector had about 53 million security personnel registered with the government's provident fund scheme.

The findings of the report suggest that the industry employs nearly 9 million people, and has the potential to employ another 3.1 million in the next four years.

“The government needs to increase the support to the industry to boost the availability of trained manpower,” the report says.

In order to bring the fragmented sector into mainstream, the government has launched the Recognition of Prior Learning initiative. Under this, those with prior informal skills are assessed on decided parameters and conferred with certificates, which bring them to the mainstream certified skilled force.

The initiative is part of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and has a budget of Rs 1,500 crore to train 2.4 million blue-collared workers in different sectors.

The report says that allowing service providers to establish training centres would enable “faster assimilation of the skilled 'uncertified' manpower into the mainstream".

It should be noted that the government, through the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), plans to skill at least 10 million-blue collared workers by 2020, with an outlay of Rs 12,000 crore.

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