VVIP security cover: 450 on the list despite complaints by forces
New Delhi, July 26: Today there are 450 people who are under the list of India's highly protected. Nita Ambani, wife of Mukesh Ambani was given Y-category security and she became the 450th person under this elite list. She would be provided 10 armed guards along with an escort. Her husband was given Z category security in 2013.
In India there are 4 categories of protection apart from the Special Protection Group which guards the Prime Minister and the former Prime Ministers. The categories are Z Plus, Z, Y and X. As per the Home Ministry, there are 55 people who have been given the Z plus security cover while 60 are under the list of Z.
As of now there are 15 politicians under NSG protection. This list includes home minister Rajnath Singh and former deputy prime LK Advani. Under this cover, the politician is protected by NSG commandoes. To top it all, a bullet proof vehicle, 40 personnel and two escort vehicles are also provided.
Complaints by NSG
However, there have been complaints from the NSG to downsize the number of those protected by the NSG. Some have said that the job is a demoralising one and hence a review should be held regularly to downsize the number of politicians on this list.
In India there are four categories of protection. Officers in the NSG have said that VIP security is not their core competence. The NSG is already a lean force and if more of its men are pushed into VIP duty then a 100 per cent cannot be granted to counter-terror operations which the NSG specialises in.
The NSG had in 2012 decided to pull out 900 of its men from security duty and train them in specialised operations.
The NSG was raised in 1984 to counter terror and hijack operations. NSG officials have been complaining to several governments about taking them away from VVIP duty, but the response has been slow.
NSG officials, on condition on anonymity say that for many VIPs it has become a status symbol and they would want NSG cover even if the threat perception is not high.
As of February 1, 2016 there were 515 NSG commandos protecting 16 VIPs in the country. Rajnath Singh, L K Advani, Mulayam Singh Yadav J Jayalalithaa, Akhilesh Yadav, CM Raman Singh, Tarun Gogoi, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and Mayawati feature in this elite list.
Recently the protection review group recommended to the Home Ministry to withdraw Z Plus security cover to M Karunanidhi, Akilesh Yadav, Tarun Gogi and Laloo Prasad Yadav.