NEW DELHI: In a move to end the VIP culture, Cabinet today decided to do away with beacons of all kinds atop all categories of vehicles, including that of President and Prime Minister. Emergency vehicles like ambulance and police have been exempted and can carry blue beacon with flasher.
The move comes after a meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) last week. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had initiated the move to do away with red beacons about a year and half back but and union transport ministry has held series of meetings with states and central ministries on the matter over the period.
Earlier, there were plans to exempt top five central dignitaries – President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and Lok Sabha Speaker and Chief Minister and Chief Justice in High Courts in states from the order.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that prime minister decided on the matter and reported it to the cabinet. It will come into effect from May 1, 2017.
To implement it, Centre will amend Section 108 sub-rule (I) and (III) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rule, 1989. Section 108 deals with red, white and blue beacons while two sub-rules provides authority to Centre and States to nominate dignitaries to carry red beacons.
“This rule is being removed/abolished with that central and state cannot nominate dignitaries for carrying red beacons atop vehicles. There is no exemption and none can carry red light starting May 1, 2017,” said Jaitley.
He said only emergency and relief vehicles like fire, ambulance, police will be allowed to carry blue beacon with flasher.
The states will also have to implement it as Section 108 of Central Motor Vehicle Rule, 1989 deals with certain powers of State Government exercisable by the Central Government. States can bring out a list of emergency vehicles that can use blue beacons.
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said the historic step was taken with a view to strengthen healthy democratic values in the country. Showing the way, Gadkari was the first one to remove red beacon from his car.
“The government is of the considered opinion that beacons on vehicles are perceived symbols of VIP Culture, and have no place in a democratic country. They have no relevance whatsoever,” said Gadkari.
In the light of this decision the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways will make necessary provisions in the central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989.
States like Delhi, Punjab and UP have already done away with red beacon culture supposedly started during British era.