Capital expenditure by central and state government agencies on homeland security presents potential of USD 2.73 billion for the year 2018-2019, noted a just-concluded ASSOCHAM-KPMG joint study. “Much of this potential is created due to police modernisation, critical infrastructure protection and counter terrorism efforts of the government,” said the study titled, ‘Modernisation of Homeland Security: Staying Safe in a Smart World,’ jointly conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and professional services firm KPMG.
Some opportunities are also present in the private sector and export markets, the report added. In 2018, the budgetary allocation to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was around USD 15.8 bn, a growth of 10 per cent over the previous year. Around eight per cent ($1.3 bn) of the total budget has been allocated towards modernisation of homeland security forces and up gradation of current infrastructure. The study also highlighted that while total budget earmarked by state governments for modernization of state police forces, and up gradation of state police infrastructure is USD 132 million (mn), an additional provision for security related expenditure (SRE) of USD 332 mn has been made for left wing extremism (LWE) affected areas. Further, the ASSOCHAM-KPMG study stated that increased government spending on infrastructure development and modernisation is the need of the hour as state and central police forces are facing multiple challenges.
With increased allocation of funds to homeland security, there is a pressing need for overhauling its physical, procedural and technological architecture, to address new and emerging threats.” Some of the issues in India’s homeland security sector are – emerging security threats due to use of smart technologies, greater exposure to terrorism threat, inconsistent information collection and sharing, and poorly equipped and trained state security forces.
The study thus suggested leveraging technological advancements to mitigate rising security challenges and ensure greater public safety using recent trends in technological innovation for homeland security – policing using social media analytics, biometric passenger screening at airport, use of unmanned surveillance aircraft, computerised behavioural pattern recognition and advanced detection devices.
It also recommended greater private sector participation for enhancing public safety. “Innovative private technology sector can deliver optimal results by securing nation’s interests, and creating India’s first internal security market, which will address long-term issue of imports of security equipment.” The report further said that private sector possesses a wide range of capabilities and assets that can be harnessed to enhance preparedness against security threats.