Unified Security Force

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    In Context 

    • The government is considering the creation of a Unified Security Force for all airports in the country along the lines of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the U.S.  which will also combine immigration and customs.

    About Unified Security Force

    • Indian Scenario: The concept received a green flag from Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2023.
      • Discussions were held about expanding the scope of an Indian TSA-like force to include security for sea and land ports, as well as roads and highways.
      • In India, the proposal comes at a time when the country is pegged to be the third-largest aviation market in the world by 2024 and is already the third-largest domestic aviation market after the U.S. and China.
      •  It is also the world’s fastest-growing market at 9%, though it accounts for only 2% of the global passenger traffic.
    • Global Status: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created in the wake of 9/11 in the U.S. to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems while ensuring freedom of movement for people and commerce.

    Need and Significance  

    • The total number of airports in the country is also targeted to grow from the current 148 to 220 by 2025, and airlines have more than 1,000 aircraft on order.
    • Today, coordination with a multitude of agencies becomes difficult. 
      • Therefore, In a fast-growing aviation market, we need a robust system. 
    • There is a need for a unified security agency for aviation and also shipping, metro, road, rail, and land and sea ports.
    • The move would also help in integrating policy, regulations, and implementation by bringing them under one body. 

    Challenges 

    • Airports will have to procure security infrastructure and have often cited financial constraints and delayed upgradation. 
    • The proposal for a unified agency means it will also be tasked to buy security infrastructure such as x-ray machines and full body scanners.

    Way Ahead 

    • The exact contours of the proposal are yet to be finalised and the move could result in a merger of the CISF with the BCAS. 
    • Government must deliberate over “the move to a TSA-based concept across all airports in the next three to four years. 
      • We should have a seamless security system.
    • The Bureau of Immigration, which works under the Intelligence Bureau of the Union Home Ministry is responsible for immigration checks at airports, sea ports, and land borders. 
      • But once the TSA is a reality, the immigration functions will also fall under it. 

    Do you Know?

    • The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, which is the security watchdog for civil aviation, falls under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. 
    • The Central Industrial Security Force, which guards the airports, falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs, as does the Bureau of Immigration. 
      • The Central Industrial Security Force is deployed at 66 out of the current 148 airports to carry out security functions, State police oversee security at the remaining airports.
    • The Customs Department falls under the Finance Ministry.

    Source: TH