The Lok Sabha has approved the changes that have been suggested for the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill 2019. As per the changes, SPG cover will be provided only to the PM and his immediate family residing with him at his official residence for a period of five years. It also covers former PMs along with their immediate family residing with them, for a period of five years from the time he/she ceases to hold the post of the PM.
There was large scale resentment earlier in the month when the SPG cover for Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi was degraded to Z+ category.
As a victim of terror, India has formulated a graded security coverage for its VIPs. Security cover for the President, Vice President and PM is separate from other VIPs. The PM gets the SPG whereas the President’s security is the responsibility of Indian Army and is called the President’s Bodyguards.
For other VIPs, the security cover has grades such as Z+, Z, Y and X. This is done basis individual threat perception as assessed by the Home Ministry.
SPG is a critical element of PM’s security cover. Like in many other countries, this exclusive cover is provided to the head of the State. It should remain contained within that definition. Also, the training, maintenance costs are extremely high and hence the status should be accorded to people with a perceived and known threat. This assessment is done by the Home Ministry. The original act was also made with this in mind.