Prime Minister Narendra Modi has banned Lal Battis or red beacons on cars of VIPs. But that is not enough. Cut other privileges too.
The Narendra Modi Government has now cracked down on VIPs who love flaunting Lal Battis or red beacons as a symbol of power. Soon after a Cabinet meeting yesterday, the government announced abolishing red beacons for VIPs from May 1.
In a tweet, Modi said: Every Indian is a VIP and the culture of beacon should have gone long ago.
Every Indian is special. Every Indian is a VIP. https://t.co/epXuRdaSmY
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 19, 2017
But Mr Modi, if every Indian is a VIP, it is time to cut other privileges too. Like:
Make MPs, MLAs and other VIPs pay the paltry toll on roads, like other Indians.
If any politician destroys toll booths, make him pay for it.
Indians do not get wages if they do not work. Implement this rule in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha too. Start with Rekha and Sachin Tendulkar by cutting their salary for not attending Rajya Sabha.
For every day that Parliament or Assemblies do not function, cut the salary of MPs and MLAs.
Do away with subsidised food for MPs in Parliament and State Legislatures.
Do not allow Ministers, MPs, MLAs and other VIPs stop traffic unless for security reasons.
Cut privileges of ministers, MPs, MLAs on flights. Why should they travel First Class when every other `VIP Indian’ travels economy? Only then will every Indian feel like a VIP.
Do not allow MPs, MLAs go on foreign jaunts. If they do go for study tours, they must submit a report to the people and show progress on the ground.
Do not allow Ministers, MPs, MLAs and other VIPs go for health treatment/procedures if the same is available in India.
That’s for starters, Mr Modi.
Your red beacon decision is indeed a strong beginning, but keep the momentum so that every Indian will start feeling like a VIP.
Meanwhile, from May 1, no VIP, dignitary or official at Centre and states will be able to use any beacon – red or blue – on their vehicles. Even the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court are not exempted. Only emergency service vehicles like ambulances, fire brigade and police cars would be allowed to use blue beacons.
Modi tweeted the decision, noting “Every Indian is special. Every Indian is a VIP. It should have gone long ago. Glad that today a strong beginning has been made.”
This was one of the promises that Modi made and he has to be applauded for taking the bold step. Other governments failed to take such a long over-due decision.
The new directive on Lal Battis would deal a death blow to India’s notorious “VIP culture,” especially in Delhi and state capitals.
Modi informed the Cabinet of the decision to ban lal battis on Wednesday. This came after the PMO held a detailed meeting last week on options including doing way with the beacon culture submitted by road transport minister Nitin Gadkari after consultation with three other senior Cabinet ministers.
Formally announcing the decision, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the road transport ministry will scrap the provision in the central motor vehicle rules. These archaic rules had empowered central and state governments to notify “vehicles carrying high dignitaries” to use red beacons.
“This will mean Centre or states cannot nominate anyone to use red beacon from May 1,” Jaitley said adding this will end any such discretion or nomination by Centre or state.
Gadkari termed the decision as historic. “We will notify the new norms after inviting suggestions and objections. But I appeal to everyone to remove these beacons on their own,” he added.
Usage of red beacon tied us back to colonial legacy. With LalBatti removal PM @narendramodi‘s vision of New India took a step forward
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) April 19, 2017
But due credit should be given to the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi which was the first to withdraw the use of red beacons by ministers. More recently, the Amarinder Singh government in Punjab had abolished the red beacons, followed by the Uttar Pradesh government led by Yogi Adityanath, which also banned the notorious hooters on ministerial vehicles.