No red beacons on official vehicles from May 1: Jaitley

No red beacons on official vehicles from May 1: Jaitley

The government has asked all VIPs, excluding the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, and the Speaker of Lok Sabha, to lose the red beacon atop cars. On the other hand, emergency vehicles, like ambulance, can continue to use red or blue beacons.

"It s a huge democratic decision", said road transport minister Nitin Gadkari.

He said the use of red beacons atop vehicles has been a matter of discussion and debates for long as to why certain people have special privileges on road.

The decision intends to strengthen democratic values in the country, the Finance Minister said, and added that the consequential changes required to be made in other rules will be made.

"And to celebrate such epic step for strengthening our democracy, I have stopped using the RedBeacon atop my auto", he said in another tweet.

"So, we decided in the Cabinet meeting that red beacon will be used only in emergency services like fire brigade, ambulances etc".

Hailing the step, Khandu said, "This is a very bold and historic decision of the Prime Minister".

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Mr Gadkari was the first to take the red beacon off his official vehicle after Wednesday's cabinet meeting where other union ministers were told about the big step. With this decision, the government calls a move to end the "VIP culture".

Responding to numerous tweets bu netizens who hailed Prime Minister's move, PM Modi said that he was glad that a strong beginning had been made with the decision.

Days ago, Modi went to the Delhi airport to receive Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina "in normal traffic", which means no traffic restrictions were in place throughout the route.

In the past months the newly elected chief ministers of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh banned the beacons for state officials.

The red beacon had over the decades become an instrument of political appeasement in the country with state governments "granting" such beacons to functionaries of the ruling party even when they held no constitutional posts.

"The Chief Minister returned to his residence from the state secretariat after removing the red beacon from his official vehicle", a communication received from the Odisha Chief Minister's Office said. The minister got the red beacon removed from his own vehicle too and said that these have no relevance in a democratic country.

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