Terror attacks open up opportunity for security business

December 7th, 2008 - 1:43 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) The terror attacks on Mumbai and increasing security concerns spell boom time for at least one industry in India in a time of global meltdown - the business of security solutions.”Corporate houses hardly allocate 2-3 percent of their budget on security even when India has remained soft target for terror attacks,” Pramod Rao, managing director of Zicom Security Systems, a Mumbai-based security systems provider told IANS.

“In India, only 10 percent of corporate houses have proper security arrangements. Even top hotels, including the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel and Trident Hotel, do not have X-ray machines to screen bags. But they don’t mind spending on interior decoration,” Rao added.

The Taj Mahal Palace and Trident in Mumbai were two of the sites targeted by the terrorists.

However, following the terror attacks that left over 172 people dead in Mumbai, corporate houses have woken up to this new reality, a development that has enthused those engaged in the security business.

“Security agencies are in big demand from commercial establishments and corporate offices after the terror attacks and our business has increased manifold,” said Sagar Suman, assistant manager at Security and Intelligence Services.

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), the private security business is estimated at Rs.220 billion, which is expected to reach Rs.500 billion (over $10 bn) in the next four years.

“Corporate houses have already enhanced security budgets by at least 35-40 percent in a bid to plug security loopholes,” Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat told IANS.

Assocham estimates that over 200,000 security professionals would be required at various industrial installations over the next few years.

“Apart from volumes, we expect our customers to upgrade to more intricate and enmeshed security designs in the future,” said George Paul, marketing executive vice-president at IT and technology company HCL.

The company has already bagged orders to provide security and surveillance solutions for two major international airports, as well as various state police departments and for public places.

“With the recent incidents in India, the business houses in India are revisiting their current security arrangements with a more concerted focus.There will be shift from sourcing typical manned guarding services to a more matured service requirement in terms of an integrated secure solution,” said spokesperson of G4 Security, a global security provider company, who asked not to be identified.

Added Deepak Thakur, director of Honeywell Security (South Asia): “People will now think of security as a comprehensive solution and not just metal detectors and close circuit television (CCTV).”

Sophisticated security-related electronics market will touch Rs.18 billion in the next four to five years, Thakur told IANS, and identified video analytics-based surveillance equipment and IP surveillance equipment will be the most sought after.

Added Zicom’s Rao: “We have already started getting enquiries to upgrade the CCTV deployment to network-based installations. As network-based cameras enable consumers to remote-monitor their environments, this allows access even via mobile phones.”

“Ironically enough, rather than promoting it, the government has levied 12.5 percent VAT (value-added tax) on security equipment, in addition to 32 percent import duty. And Maharashtra is one of the states to levy the maximum VAT,” he said.

“Maybe now government will do something to promote the industry.”

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