India: New guards to be assisted by smart tech at airports; 3,000 government security posts abolished

This comes as a part of major overhaul to automate non-sensitive duties



Photo: AFP file
Photo: AFP file

By PTI

Published: Sun 4 Sep 2022, 2:50 PM

The government has abolished more than 3,000 Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) posts as part of a major security architecture overhaul at Indian airports under which non-sensitive duties will be rendered by private security personnel aided by smart technology tools for surveillance and protection, officials said.

A 2018-19 action plan, jointly initiated by the Union ministries of civil aviation and home along with their field offices is now being implemented across 50 civil airports.

The blueprint prepared by BCAS, the aviation security regulator, abolishes a total of 3,049 CISF aviation security posts to be replaced by 1,924 private security personnel and a parallel introduction of smart surveillance technology like CCTV cameras and baggage scanners.

"The new security architecture not only leads to generation of more than 1,900 jobs in the aviation sector, it also gives manpower boost for CISF to meet their increasing aviation security duty requirements at existing and new airports that come under their security umbrella," a senior security officer said.

The aviation security cost for airport operators will also stabilise as a manpower rationalisation analysis found that many non-sensitive tasks do not require armed CISF personnel and can be performed by private security guards even as certain areas within the airport terminal can be covered with the help of CCTV cameras, he said.

The private security personnel are being deployed at airports like in Delhi, Mumbai and others for non-sensitive duties like queue management, security assistance to airlines staff and passengers, and manning of certain entry and exit points within the terminal area, a second officer said.

The CISF will continue to render its core task of checking passenger credentials at entry, frisking of passengers, anti-sabotage drills, secondary ladder point checks and providing an over all counter-terrorist cover to the airports on the city and air side, he said.

"The decision was taken keeping in mind the availability of smart security technology at airports now and the architectural changes that can allow non-sensitive positions to be taken up by private security personnel," BCAS joint director general (JDG) Jaideep Prasad told PTI.

He said private security agencies and their personnel to be deployed at the airports will be approved by BCAS and they will be governed by rules framed by it for aviation security.

A senior CISF officer said out of the total 3,049 abolished posts from its 33,000 strong aviation security group (ASG) deployed to guard 65 civil airports at present, 1,924 will be taken up by private security personnel, while the rest 1,125 posts are being used to strengthen security at other airports which require additional manpower due to their expansion or other security needs.

He said the private security personnel will function under its command at the airports, as per the mechanism devised by BCAS.

"Henceforth, any new induction of CISF at the airports will factor-in these new BCAS guidelines so that there is an appropriate mix of trained CISF and private security personnel along with technology tools," the officer said.

Going forward, the security fee burden on airport operators and passengers would not be calculated solely on the basis of CISF deployment costs as private security personnel salaries are much lower and hence these expenses can be utilised to cater to better meet increasing load of passengers on existing airports and for the new ones coming up in the future without comprising on security, he said.  The about 1.63 lakh personnel strong CISF is the national aviation security force and it was first inducted at the Jaipur airport in 2000, a decision taken by the central government after the 1999 hijack of an Indian Airlines aircraft that was taken to Kandhar in Afghanistan.

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