The Maharashtra Security Force (MSF) has been raised under the aegis of the Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) created by a special statute passed by the Maharashtra Legislature in April 2010. It is a statutory Corporation formed as per the Maharashtra State Security Corporation Act, 2010. In the aftermath of November 26, 2008, terrorist attack in Mumbai, the Ram Pradhan Committee was formed to analyse the situation to counter-terrorism. It suggested that the Government should form a security force on the lines of CISF to cater to the security needs of government organisations and private sectors in the State. The Committee suggested that the proposed force should be trained by police training schools, if necessary, by utilising retired police instructors. This would also provide an alternative for jobs to local youths whose antecedents are possible to be verified.
Based on these recommendations, Maharashtra Security Force (MSF) was created under this Corporation and governed by the Maharashtra State Security Corporation Act, 2010, to raise a security force for providing protection and security to the various offices, undertakings, institutions, etc. of the Central and the State Government and also certain other private establishments of vital importance and public places with high footfall. Presently, there are about 10,000 security personnel deployed at 211 establishments including government hospitals, railway stations, ports, courts, banks, expressways, etc. The security personnel are public servants, with powers to arrest.
The first case of COVID-19 being reported in Maharashtra on March 9, 2020, and the subsequent lockdown on March 23, 2020, resulted in a temporary disruption of duties of the MSF. The security guards found it difficult to reach their areas of deployment. Those on leave and at their native villages were unable to find any transport to report back to work. This adversely affected the working strength of the security personnel at various establishments.
Moreover, those on duty were stranded at their workplace with no food and accommodation. The situation worsened as a large number of deployed security personnel was infected by the coronavirus. Some were admitted and others were quarantined. Those deployed in government hospitals were severely affected. Manpower went down drastically during the lockdown, but the immediate, effective and timely welfare measures taken by the Corporation boosted the morale of the Force and helped the organization to hold the fort during the unprecedented crisis.
- Timely circulation of WHO advisory within the organization helped the security personnel take necessary precautions as per the protocol of COVID-19 while discharging their duties.
- A special medical allowance of Rs1,000/- p.m. was given to the security personnel who are deployed in high-risk areas such as hospitals and dumping grounds, which helped them to take better medication and precaution.
- A one-time interest-free advance of Rs10,000/- was given to those who were in financial distress due to the lockdown.
- A travelling allowance of Rs 1,000/- was disbursed to all guards on duty to compensate the extra expenditure on conveyance in absence of public transport, thereby helping them to reach their respective duty points smoothly without causing an extra burden on their pockets.
- Accommodation and food for the deployed force were arranged at various places in coordination with the management of the establishments where they are deployed, which helped them to attend their duties without any difficulty.
- Protective gears were arranged for the security personnel, especially for those working in high-risk areas, with the help of voluntary organizations.
- Distribution of preventive homoeopathic medicines like Arsenicum Album-30 and Vitamin C tablets to security personnel to increase their immunity power.
- Passing of special resolution in the Board of Directors for compensation of Rs 30 Lakhs in case a security staff personnel succumbs to the pandemic while discharging his/her duty.
- Setting up a control room to maintain a detailed record of the health issues reported by field officers. Timely medical attention ensured at the slightest inkling of infection and a regular follow-up of every case by the supervisory officers.
- Sanitization of all the workplaces and strict compliance of the various guidelines issued by the Government from time to time.
- MSSC paid Rs 3000/- to each COVID-positive personnel to meet the requirement of a special diet while being infirmed at the hospital.
- Despite the lockdown period (March-August), the salary was disbursed on time to all the staff.
- As per State Government GR. Dated 13.03.2020/pra.kra. 51/70/kosha Prasha, the Central Bank of India (CBI) handles all salary accounts of security personnel. This bank provides Rs 30 Lakh accidental death insurance to the MSF staff.
The above-mentioned steps had a tremendous effect on the morale of the personnel. The Force rose to the occasion and did a commendable job at all places of deployment, and with utmost sincerity. With organizations working from home during the lockdown period, the offices and buildings had almost zero staff presence. Our security personnel guarded and protected the clients’ property as their own.’ Several establishments have communicated their appreciation towards the Force for their service during the crisis.
As on September 20, 2020, confirmed positive cases of MSF personnel is 529, recovered cases stands at 459, active cases at 68, and deceased at 2.