Mushrooming private security companies in the country, 75 per cent of which are unlicensed, may soon have to shell out more as wages as the Centre plans to announce categorisation of security guards as “skilled” and supervisors as “highly skilled.”

Announcing this at a FICCI event here, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said: “This would entitle such persons to receive a minimum wage of ₹15,000/month and ₹25,000/month, respectively. There are about 22,000 private security agencies operating in the country, with an estimated growth rate of 25 per cent a year.

He said this move will not only enhance wages for over 50 lakh security personnel currently engaged in the private security space, but will also enable private security agencies to recruit, train and employ quality workforce.

While labour is a State subject, private security guards hired by government, corporates, malls and residential complexes are paid as low as ₹5,000-6,000/month with hardly any or no social security benefits, as per a study.

Simplification exercise

Dattatreya said as part of the simplification exercise, the codification and amalgamation of 44 Central labour laws into four codes will be referred to the Cabinet shortly, a FICCI release said.

The four codes relate to wages, industrial relations, social security and working conditions & health and safety.

Calling for self-regulation by private security agencies, TVSN Prasad, Joint Secretary, Home Ministry, said a model bid document would be circulated in a month to discourage under-cutting and encourage hiring of licensed firms to ensure accountability.

“Private security is not just a manpower (chowkidar) issue, it is also an issue related to security,” said Prasad, calling for “voluntary compliance”, rather than “heavy-handed enforcement (of the Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act 2005).”