The Finance Ministry is actively considering FICCI's recommendation to reduce the GST rate on private security agencies from the current level of 18% to minimise the impact of the levy on the industry and capitalise on its job-creation potential. This assurance was held out today by Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Shiv Pratap Shukla, while inaugurating FICCI's Private Security Industry (PSI) Conclave-2018 on the theme, 'Job Creation & Skill Development'.
Mr. Shukla said that the government was fully conscious of the significant contribution of the private security industry in creating jobs for the poor, those that have migrated from the villages, and ex-servicemen. "We have received a FICCI representation on the issue and will do whatever is possible to reduce the 18% GST levied on the industry," he said and invited a FICCI delegation to North Block to discuss the matter.
On the occasion, Mr. Shukla released a FICCI-BDO report on 'Private Security Industry: Job Creation and Skill Development'. The report dwells on skill development and jobs creation in PSI, policy issues concerning the sector, GST and its impact, shift from unorganised to the organised sector and integration of manpower and technology.
Senior Vice President of FICCI & Vice Chairman and MD, HSIL Ltd., Mr. Sandip Somany, said that private security agencies, which are mainly SME segments, operate on very thin margins and find it challenging to cope with the requirements of the GST compliance provisions. He said that the high GST rate of 18% had created cash-flow problems for the industry.
The entire structure of charging GST was not optimal for the industry where the biggest component of costs is accounted for by wages, which were nothing but pass-through costs. GST should, therefore, be levied on the service component and not wage costs, he added.
Chair of FICCI Committee on Private Security Industry, Mr. Rituraj Sinha, pointed out that based on the Committee's discussions with the Finance Minister and the MoS for Finance, there is a conviction that there is genuine intent on the part of the government to give GST relief to the industry. Such relief, he said, would also greatly benefit the small players who have to bear the burden of interest costs, as they have to borrow to deposit GST in advance.
Cmdr. Gautam Nanda, Associate Partner, BDO India, the knowledge partner for the conclave, gave an overview of the industry, underlining the vital role of PSI in skill development and job creation. He said that the industry was the largest employer with 8.9 million personnel with a potential to employ 3.1 million more by 2022. The estimated market size of the industry was Rs. 57,000 crore and was expected to rise to Rs. 1.5 lakh crore by 2022.
The Co-Chair of FICCI Committee on PSI & Chairman, Peregrine Guarding, Maj. Manjit Rajain, also expressed optimism of the serious inclination on the part of the government to give GST relief to PSI.