Related Topics: Security Agencies, Internal Security
Why in News
The Special Protection Group (SPG) protection given to former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has been withdrawn following a review by multiple security agencies.
- The SPG was set up in 1985 after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and Parliament passed the SPG Act in 1988 dedicating the group to protecting the Prime Minister of India.
- At the time, the Act did not include former Prime Ministers.
- The SPG has various wings such as technical, training, communication, motor transport, workshop and administration to form a comprehensive security cover for its protectee.
Amendments in SPG Act
- When P. Singh came to power in 1989, his government withdrew SPG protection to the outgoing PM Rajiv Gandhi.
- After Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991 the SPG Act was amended.
- The amendment offered SPG protection to all former Prime Ministers and their families for a period of at least 10 years.
- In 1999, PM Vajpayee’s government conducted a major review of the SPG’s operations, and decided to withdraw SPG protection to former PMs P.V. Narasimha Rao, H.D. Deve Gowda, and I.K. Gujral.
- In 2003, the Vajpayee government also amended the SPG Act to bring the period of automatic protection down from 10 years to “a period of one year from the date on which the former Prime Minister ceased to hold office and beyond one year based on the level of threat as decided by the Central Government.”
Difference between SPG and NSG
- The Special Protection Group guards the prime minister and immediate family, former prime ministers and their immediate families.
- National Security Guard (NSG) was established in 1984, to protect states against internal disturbances and terrorism.