Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Governance [Paper-I]: Public Policy and Governance
- Parliament passed Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bill amends the Special Protections Group Act, 1988.
- The Bill aims to reduce the financial burden of VIP security on the state exchequer.
- Special Protection Group is an elite agency that is charged with the proximate security of the Prime Minister of India.
- SPG was set up in 1985 after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was killed by her own bodyguards in 1984.
- The SPG Act was enacted in 1988 to provide for the constitution and regulation of the SPG as an armed force to provide proximate security to the Prime Minister and his/her immediate family members.
- The Act was amended in 1991, 1994, 1999 and 2003 to extend SPG cover to former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members for different periods of demitting office.
- The existing Act provides security to former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members for a period of one year from the date on which they cease to hold the office.
- Beyond this period, the SPG security is provided in case the person concerned is apprehended by grave and continuing threat by a military or terrorist organization
Why amending the Act?
- In the existing Act, there is no cut-off period for providing SPG protection to former Prime Ministers or members of their immediate families.
- Thus, the number of individuals to be provided SPG cover can potentially become quite large.
- In such a condition, there can be severe constraint on resources, training and related infrastructure of the SPG.
- This can also impact the effectiveness of the elite force in providing adequate cover to the the Prime Minister in office.
Key Features of the Bill
- SPG shall provide proximate security to the Prime Minister and his immediate family members residing with him at his official residence.
- The family members of a former Prime Minister who do not reside with him at his official residence will not be guarded by SPG commandos.
- SPG will also provide security to any former Prime Ministers, and his immediate family members residing with him at the residence allotted to him.
- This security will be provided for a period of five years from the date on which he ceases to hold the office of Prime Minister.
- If the SPG security is withdrawn from a former Prime Minister, it will also be withdrawn from his immediate family members.