Security guards in their uniform with the non existent power creates a false notion about them as belonging to formal sector/organized sector of labour category having all financial benefits like decent pay with bonus etc. but the fact seems to be that working and living conditions of majority of these workers are even worst than a daily wage labour. These working force which is meant to protect lives and property of others find themselves totally unprotected. Behind every security guard standing before you in stylish and well stiched uniform there is story of exploitation perpetuated by their employers including large private and public sector companies. These companies in their books show heavy payments to various security agencies for deputing large number of security force in their premises but in true sense these payments do not reach to these innocents security guards because large amount is siphoned off by agencies in collusion with corrupt officials . These security guards are made to sign for a amount which is not given to them in actual sense. They are given only a part of the amount they have signed for. It is not a small amount which siphoned off in the name of security but involves a large racket with amount running into hundreds of crores monthly. It is a very sorry state of affair that our government department and public sectors companies are also involved in this racket. Security through private guards has become a common phenomenon especially in urban part of India. Similarly it is very common in mega city like Delhi. One can easily spot a private security at all nook and corners of Delhi in their variety of colorful uniforms. In the last decade the number of such guards and agencies employing them had grown with an accelerated pace. Delhi is no exception to that. During the last decade there has been mushrooming growth of security agencies in Delhi and other major urban centres of the country. As per one estimate there are more than 5,000 registered and semi-registered security agencies in Delhi it self engaging more than 2,50,000 security guards. Apart from providing security to multinational companies, consulates, corporate offices, industrial units, residential apartments and VIP residences, they also engage themselves in areas of fire protection, surveillance services, cash van services, training services, security audits, house keeping services, utility services etc. These security guards constitute a major part of unorganized sector Though unorganized sector constitute 80 % of total work force in India the unfortunate part of this sector is that they are not represented by way any credible leader or unions , associations etc. . Left or other national parties do have workers unions but that too in organized sector which constitute only a small fraction of total work force. The organized sector employees get all sort of benefits like bonus, medical , education etc. by doing just less than half of physical work against their counter part in unorganized sector. Frankly speaking nobody is there to hear their grievances and problems. When organized sector employees get regular pay hike with every increase in inflation rate those in unorganized sector are worst hit with no compensation whatsoever available to them from the government Even though government has prescribed minimum wage for any type of worker but there are thousands of security guards who are denied even the minimum wages prescribed by government of India. Many security agencies though pretend to pay minimum wage to their security guards but they pay only part of total amount payable. Bound by law these security agencies get full payment from their principal employers but they end up paying only half of claim. One can imagine how hundreds of crores rupees is swindled by these agencies in league with corrupt officials. For many lucky security guards their survival and livelihood revolves round the minimum wages prescribed by the Delhi Government that is Rupees 2592 per month. Looking at the number of security agencies and security guards as also their role in providing security to different sections of society, it is astonishing that there is no specific government department to register, provide direction and regulate these agencies. There is hardly any law or ordinance to safeguard their interest.Workers drawn from different states are engaged in this profession and hence majority of them are migrant. The basic difference between those employed as security guards from other workers is their socio-economic and educational background. A good number of security guards are educated up to graduate and postgraduate level. Besides, a significant number of them are retired defence officials but they are hardly paid full amount of their due. Majority of security agencies does not follow the basic rules and regulations of labour departments while employing security guards. The terms and conditions related to employment are based on very ordinary contract, which leads to continuous oppression and dismissal. In a large number of cases security guards are not being even provided uniform by their employers. They work upto twelve hours a day, for a meager amount as low as Rupees 2000-2500 a month. They are rarely allowed to take leave even for a day in a month. Single day leave in emergency period without prior intimation often leads to dismissal from the service. They are not given any benefits under ESI and PF Act. Before joining an agency security guards have to pay Rupee 1000 on an average for dress, which has the market price of not more than Rupees 400. A guard is often dismissed from service just to recruit another one to grab Rupees 1000 of dress money, which fetch rupees 600 average for every new recruitment. Once dismissed from service they have to run from pillar to post to clear their dues with the respective agency. SDJ( Society for Development and Justice - Home ) plans to unravel these horrifying working conditions of private security guards and have come out with suggestions and recommendations to improve their working and living conditions. It is as follows: There is urgent need of a viable act , legislation and a regulatory authority to safeguard the right and bring improvement in the working environment of these security guards. This will provide a shield to them so that they put forward their grievances at a suitable platform.A proper directive and guideline should be given to all the security agencies employing these guards so that any discrimination may be avoided. Seeing the mammoth growth in the size and number of these private security guards and the agencies employing them, there should provision for their stay and living facility.There should a compulsory provision so that all the private security guards should get a minimum salary as prescribed and enacted by the government .. Although, Minimum Wage Act is in force but a few security agencies are following it. There should agencies to monitor the payment of minimum wages by security agencies to their security guards . It may be ensured that security guards get full payment against their monthly wage bill. Payment through cheque/ECS may be one of option of payment. It may be ensured by a regulatory body that all security guards are registered with ESI , PF and get all benefits as per law . In order to ensure transperancy , working of ESI and PF department requires major changes like compterisation etc. A smart card consisting their ESI/PF and other personal particulars may be issued to all security guards . Principal employers mostly of them PSUs should ensure that the security guards employed in their premises through various agencies get all their dues in time and as per law. Strict monitoring on there part is essential. They should interact with ESI/PF authorities frequently to enquire whether amount paid by them towards ESI / PF etc. is being deposited regularly.
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