The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided prohibiting the use of red beacons on all vehicles except for certain exempted categories. The only five categories would be allowed to use it are -- President, vice president, prime minister, Chief Justice of India and the speaker of Lok Sabha. The decision comes into effect from May 1, 2017.
In effect, the ban applies to union ministers, chief ministers, state cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and judges of the high court and Supreme Court.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said, "A red light can be carried in vehicles of high dignitaries specified by the Central and State government. Now, neither in state or Centre the government will be able to nominate any members to use the red beacon. There are no exceptions," Jaitley said. Fire brigade, ambulance services, police vehicles and other emergency services will be allowed to use the blue beacon, Jaitley added.
The move comes weeks after the two chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab decided against the use of the red beacon or lal batti on their official cars. But interestingly, the pilot and escort vehicles of police moving with VVIP cars have beacons atop them.
Meanwhile, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari is the first minister to remove the beacon from his official vehicle. The minister said,"This government is a government of common masses and has decided to abolish VIP culture of beacon lights and sirens." The notification in this regard will be issued soon, he said, adding that the decision is a democratic one.