Free Press Journal

Let red beacon ban lead the way


It is praiseworthy that the Central government has decided to abolish the use of red beacons on any vehicle other than ambulances, police vehicles and fire brigade vehicles. What is particularly heartening is that there would be no exceptions and that the new rule would cover all dignitaries including the Prime Minister. The violations invariably happen when exceptions are allowed to be made. Rule 108 which says that the Centre or a State can notify categories of vehicles that can be driven with red beacons is being abolished. The Centre or any State cannot have a dignitary nominated for use of red lights from May 1. The Rule 108 (2) is being changed so that only emergency services can use blue flashing lights. One also fails to understand why the entire traffic must come to a screeching halt on roads when a VVIP vehicle is passing.

The withdrawal of beacon lights is a good first step but there are other VIP privileges that need to be reviewed. The big bunglows in Lutyen’s Delhi in which ministers, MPs and even senior bureaucrats reside with acres of land attached to them ought to be replaced by functionally-efficient accomodation that is austere, decent and utilitarian. In addition to their salaries, the members of Parliament get Rs 2,000 for each day of attendance but it is open to question why these must be given when there is boycott of the august houses. It is also questionable why the salaries of ministers and MPs must be tax-free. Among the perks of MPs is also the provision for unlimited train travel by first class and 34 trips by air for the MP and companion in a year. There is one policeman for 253 people in the national capital but there are 17 cops for each MP. There is also

There is one policeman for 253 people in the national capital but there are 17 cops for each MP. There is also heavy subsidy for MPs for food served in the Parliament canteen. A whopping 50,000 units of electricity is allowed every month to VVIPs. In addition to all these, there are many other hidden perks. There are numerous examples of austere living by VVIPs in many countries which are worthy of emulation. Why should the VVIPs of a developing country live like maharajas at the taxpayer’s expense?