The Central government has, in a big blow to VIP culture, chose to stop the use of red-beacon vehicles by government ministers and officials from May 1. He also went on to remove the red beacon light from his vehicle becoming the one of the first ministers to do so.
The decision to ban the use of red beacons is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of bringing in more transparency and putting an end to the "VIP culture".
A rule that empowers the Centre or state governments to allow use of red beacon lights to dignitaries will be altogether removed from the statute books, the minister said.
Jaitley acknowledged that the public debate over the VIP culture and red beacons perceived as a symbol of arrogance of the powerful were the reasons for taking the decision.
The rule goes into effect from May 1, he said.
The decision also intends to strengthen democratic values in the country, he said. How does he feel driving without a red light on his auto?
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"However, fire brigade, ambulance services, police vehicles and other emergency services will be permitted to use blue beacon, Jaitley added". ASP Traffic Sameer Yadav says that as emergency service vehicles have to make their way through crowded streets to reach the place where they are needed, such vehicles are permitted to use hooters.
The Indian government decided on Wednesday to ban red beacons atop cars of all ministers, politicians and bureaucrats, ending a privilege that was seen as the ultimate status symbol.
Minister of Textile Smriti Irani tweeted her official car's picture after removing the red beacon and said, "Removed "Lal Batti" from my auto".
The move is aimed at putting an end to the VIP culture, ubiquitous in India.
Soon after the cabinet meet, several Union ministers and other high dignitaries removed the red beacons from their vehicles. "If after three-and-a-half years the BJP is trying to do politics over this and blow the trumpet of morality, then there can be nothing more laughable", Manish Tewari, spokesperson for the Congress, said.
The decision not to use red beacons by ministers was first taken by the Aam Aadmi Party government after it first came to power in December 2013 and again in February 2015.