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Terror attacks open areas for security business

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.

business Updated: Dec 07, 2008 21:54 IST

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 said.

“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.