Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said the purpose of the amendment in the Special Protection Group (SPG) Amendment Bill, 2019 is to enhance the efficiency of the elite black cat commandos.
Shah's remarks came while moving for consideration and passing the Bill in the Lok Sabha which seeks amendment to the SPG Act, 1988 that provides for the constitution and regulation of an armed force of the Union for providing "proximate security" to the Prime Minister and former Prime Ministers and members of their immediate families and for matters connected therewith.
"The purpose of the SPG Bill is to make the Special Protection Group become more efficient and there should not be any apathy in its work," Shah said.
Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy on Monday introduced the Bill.
Addressing the lower House, Shah said there have been amendments in the law in 1991, 1994, 1999 and 2003 and that he has come with another amendment in the SPG Act on Wednesday which is "in accordance with the basics of the law".
After the amendment of the Act, Shah said the new law would make it mandatory that the SPG protection is only provided to the Prime Minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence.
"Secondly, the SPG protection will be given to the former Prime Ministers and such members of his immediate family who reside with him at the residence allotted to him, for a period of five years from the date he ceases to hold the office of Prime Minister," he said.
The Minister said the SPG was set up in 1985 on the assessment of Birbalnath Committee which was formed after the assassination of Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984 to consider the security of Prime Minister.
From 1985 to 1988, SPG used to work on the basis of administrative order, said Shah, adding a law was made in 1988 under which the SPG started its work to provide security to the Prime Minister and his family members.
He said that the SPG protection is being provided to the Prime Minister in the wake of the killing of two Prime Ministers, which is a huge loss to the country.
So, SPG was created and a law was made to maintain the uniqueness of the elite group, Shah said.
Explaining the necessity of SPG cover for Prime Minister, the Home Minister said: "SPG is needed for the protection of the Prime Minister as he takes some tough decisions for the welfare of the country, security of the country and for the betterment of the society."
"SPG is necessary only to bring down to 'Zero' level of the threat perception to the life of Prime Minister. The SPG facility was made on the basis of the post and that the force provides security to Prime Minister, his office, his communication, and all."
Shah said that the "special" word in the Act means it is only for the security of the Prime Minister and former prime ministers.
"It is not only limited to the physical security of the Prime Minister but the security of Prime Minister's post, his dignity, his office, his institution, his health, and communication. All these things are monitored by the SPG because he is the head of the government."
Referring to Israel, France and England, Shah said there are various other countries in the world where such protection groups provide security to the head of their nations and the place where they work and stay.