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Agnipath Scheme: A Game-changer For the Private Security Industry This scheme will provide a vast pool of qualified officers which will help the private security agencies to deliver high-quality security professionals

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Over the last few months, the country has witnessed a widespread debate around the Agnipath scheme. Many raised questions regarding its relevance and usefulness for both the armed forces and job-seeking youth.

After a nationwide hue and cry against the scheme, the central government issued clarifications and offered job opportunities to Agniveers in several other government bodies.

While the central and state governments have promised jobs to these Agniveers in several paramilitary forces and police departments across the country, there are plenty of job opportunities these trained soldiers can look forward to once they return after a four-year stint in the armed forces.

Agnipath scheme is an aggressively structured programme for our youth. The appreciation coming from several top-notch corporate houses is evident, and never before the Indian industry had supported a scheme of this nature. They see a readily trained group of people they can absorb and become productive from the first day instead of investing in training freshers in their company. Those who think that after four years of work in the armed forces, Agniveers will become unemployed are wrong. The trained Agniveers will secure superior training compared with many other training programmes in the private sector. It looks so intense that the candidates can fit into many jobs in any industry.

The fast-growing e-commerce, logistics and warehousing sectors offer immense job opportunities to these trained soldiers. They can also look for managerial positions in the corporate sector. The armed forces provide them with many opportunities to study and acquire degrees while in service.

The private security agencies are among many others that offer jobs to these trained soldiers.

The private security industry in India is estimated to be worth anywhere between $10 billion and $12 billion. The industry is still nascent and likely to see exponential growth of CAGR of 20 per cent in the coming years in manual guarding and electronic security due to rapid infrastructural and economic development. There is an increased need for prevention, detection and protection of assets and citizens against criminal acts such as fraud, terrorism, theft, drug-related offences, financial fraud, and violent crimes.

The private security industry (PSI) is one of the largest employers in India. With an estimated workforce of 8.9 million people, the industry is looking to employ more than 5 million people in the coming years. Currently, the industry faces a shortage of about 30 per cent in human resources. It can generate many jobs for the rural and urban poor. Manual guarding continues to be the service line with maximum employment. It is also the highest revenue generator for the private security industry, contributing to 80 per cent of the revenue, followed by other services. With a high level of technology, services such as electronic security services, security architecture and consultancy will see greater prominence in the coming years.

The industry also faces a challenge due to a shortage of certified trainers and the lack of established training standards. A big challenge in the PSI is the high attrition rate. Current attrition levels stand at 40 per cent for untrained guards and 15 per cent for trained guards. It is due to the poor benefits and compensation packages, improper understanding of the operating environment, and lack of development opportunities to allow employees to grow.

The Agnipath scheme allows security agencies to access a trained workforce from the vast pool of talent available in the country. The private security agencies require many qualified officers for quality service delivery to corporates. Without a doubt, it will bring a fresh lease of 'Josh' whilst bringing about a transformational shift towards a more tech-savvy workforce which is the need of the hour. Therefore, Agniveers will have bright prospects in various states and the private sector.

The Agnipath defence recruitment scheme is strategically planned and will prove to be a game-changer in strengthening the security of our nation. The project will also generate employment opportunities for youth and help our country in a new socio-economic environment for the rural poor and middle-class communities. The Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI) has already announced employment opportunities for Agniveers as security officers in the private sector on a priority basis.

The Agniveers will get a hands-on experience and training from the armed forces. Undoubtedly, they will become more disciplined and skilled at the end of their service. There will be a paradigm shift as the quality of training will be superior with no compromise in physical, medical and professional standards. Hence this scheme will provide a vast pool of qualified officers which will help the private security agencies to deliver high-quality security professionals.

Guruprasad Srinivasan

CEO, Quess Corp.

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