Firms engaged in making security equipment—from bulletproof jackets and metal detectors to X-ray machines—have profited from a boom in demand for their products amid a perceived escalation in the security threat following a string of terrorist strikes last year and in the run-up to the general election.
Take, for instance, Anjani Technoplast Ltd, which makes bulletproof jackets and helmets. The company received a bulk order for 20,000 bulletproof jackets from the procurement division of the ministry of home affairs in January, the first bulk order in five years. It recently supplied 2,000 hard plastic shields to Gujarat Police and won a similar tender from Delhi Police.
“It’s natural that every time threat perception increases, everybody from the home ministry, paramilitary forces and the states go on a buying spree,” said Bhuwanish Kunwar, Anjani Technoplast’s deputy general manager.
Safety measures: Paramilitary forces on guard at an election material distribution centre in Udaipur, Tripura. The security market in India is estimated to be worth Rs22,000 crore. Jayanta Dey / Reuters
The market is estimated to be worth Rs22,000 crore and expanding at the rate of 25% annually, fuelled by the threat of terrorism. Manufacturers and importers, both big and small, who provide a range of equipment for both personal safety, such as bullet-resistant jackets, and those used at public rallies, such as hand-held and door-frame metal detectors, have benefited.
Jalandhar, Punjab-based Laggar Industries Ltd has received orders to bullet-proof 10 sports utility vehicles this year, up from three in the previous general election.
Sanchit Sobti, the company’s managing director, won’t disclose the names of his clients, but said he recently overhauled a Mitsubishi Montero with anti-blast steel panels, tough window glass and tyres to ward off shrapnel sprays. The interior of the car was layered with anti-blast, poly-carbonated sheets.
Laggar produces 1,000 tonnes of bullet-resistant steel a year and executes projects for the defence forces and state governments as well.
Candidates who perceive a threat on the campaign trail are also fortifying their vehicles. Private security agency Premier Shield Pvt. Ltd has received half a dozen requests from individuals seeking specific security solutions. “Candidates fear opponents with criminal background, especially in the Hindi belt,” said Pawanjit Ahluwalia, its managing director.
According to a survey carried out by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India, the security industry is expected to grow to Rs25,000 crore by 2012.
“More security you provide, the more fair and secured elections will take place. Security banishes fear in the minds of people,” said Devender Singh Rawat, secretary general of the industry lobby.
Compiled by Mint reporters