India’s privileged VIP culture, most notably symbolised by flashing red beacon lights on top of vehicles, is close to end as the government has scrapped a rule that allowed the Central and State governments to nominate dignitaries who could use such lights.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shaken up India’s privileged VIP culture by scrapping this rule.
The new order will be effective from May 1.
According to the new order, only emergency services vehicles such as ambulances, fire engine trucks, and police vehicles will be allowed to use blue lights. Red lights will not be permitted on any vehicle.Private vehicles will not be allowed to use either red or blue lights.
Moreover, States are also being stripped of their power to specify persons whose vehicles can use blue flashing lights.
“The PM made the decision to carry out far-reaching amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules of 1989, which he reported to the Cabinet on Wednesday,” said Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley after a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
A specific clause in Rule 108 of the 1989 regulations, which empowers the Centre and the States to designate some dignitaries as entitled to red lights on top of their vehicles, is being abolished.
“This is a central rule and the government is removing this rule from the rule book. Its abolition would mean that neither the Centre nor the States would have any dignitary that governments can nominate for the usage of red beacons,” Jaitley said.
“The government has decided to do away with beacons of all kinds atop all categories of vehicles in the country as it 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,” the Road Transport and Highways Ministry said in a statement later.