On 19 April, the Government announced that it had decided to remove the red beacon from the cars of all ministers, including the Prime Minister.
The move will come into effect from 1 May, 2017.
Following a Cabinet meeting, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said the beacon will be allowed only on emergency service vehicles (like ambulances, fire service trucks, police vans, army vans). The minister said, “In a historic decision, the Cabinet has decided that beacon lights will be removed from all vehicles, barring emergency services vehicles, from May 1.”
The ban on red beacons will extend to the vice-president, the chief justice of India, Union ministers, chief ministers, state cabinet ministers, bureaucrats, and judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court.
The Logical Indian take
The ban on red beacons is a welcome move. It strikes at the VIP culture that has for so long been prevalent in our country.
There is no doubt that politicians in India claim a cult of personality. They are not merely followed, they are revered and worshiped. Temples are built in their name, supporters bow down before them like disciples, massive statues are erected in their honor, public facilities are named (and renamed) for them, entire cities grind to a halt when they come visiting and inflict major traffic woes – all the while an elitist VIP culture thrives.
The consequences of this rabid hero worship are all-consuming, all negative and all unwanted.
In 2013, the Supreme Court dubbed the use of beacons by ministers and government officials as “ridiculous and synonymous with power”. The Supreme Court rightly said that they should be done away with it.
The move by the government is a welcome one. Hopefully, it will dent a serious blow to VIP culture and hero worship and avoid horrific traffic woes when politicians come visiting a town or city.