Lok Sabha clears bill to amend SPG Act, elite security cover now reserved for PM, ex-PMs and families for 5 years

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Published: November 27, 2019 5:48:10 PM

The SPG (Amendment) Bill states that immediate families of prime ministers would not get SPG cover unless they stay in the official residence. It also puts a cap on the protection for former prime ministers and their heads of states to five years.

Amit Shah told the House that the SPG cover did not just provide physical security, but also covered the prime minister’s health and communications.

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill to amend SPG Act. The amendment removes other beneficiaries of the Special Protection Group and will ensure that the SPG protects only the Prime Minister. Speaking about the bill in the House, Union home minister Amit Shah asserted that the elite protection unit was raised for securing only the Prime Minister and the amendments were aimed at restoring the original intent of the Act.

The SPG (Amendment) Bill states that immediate families of prime ministers would not get SPG cover unless they stay in the official residence. It also puts a cap on the protection for former prime ministers and their heads of states to five years. The bill states that security would be provided to former prime ministers, and his/her immediate family members residing with him at the residence allotted to him for a period of five years from the date on which he or she ceases to hold the office.

The Modi government recently withdrew the SPG cover provided to the Gandhi family members and replace it with Z+ security. Speaking on the move, Amit Shah said, “An effort is being made to paint a picture that the government isn’t concerned about security of Gandhi family and that their protection has been withdrawn. Their protection has not been withdrawn but only changed, based on threat assessment.”

The BJP president told the House that SPG did not just provide physical security, but also covered the prime minister’s health and communications. The SPG was formed on the 1985 recommendations of the Birbal Nath committee and then a law was enacted in 1988.

Shah said that the various amendments made over the years had diluted the act. He added that the Modi government wanted to make the SPG more efficient and rule out any negligence.

 

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