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VIPs to pay for security

The Union Home Ministry is considering suggestions to make VIPs pay for their security, writes Aloke Tikku.

india Updated: Jun 05, 2006 11:13 IST

A posse of policemen on guard and ready to take orders. Politicians often flaunt this khaki circle of personal security officers as a status symbol, the public insignia of being a VIP. But soon they may have to pay a price for it.

The Union Home Ministry is taking a relook at the VIP security system. The suggestion: make people pay - fully or partially -- for their security.

There are two options on the table. One, all those who are protected - except those threatened by criminals and terrorist outfits - bear a part of the cost of security. This can be along the lines of Uttar Pradesh where public representatives get additional protection from the government by making a payment

Two, make all those who need personal security -- no matter where the threat comes from -- pay for it. The VVIPs and "high dignitaries" will, however, be exempted.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil had ordered the review about two years ago. When the process is complete, the ministry also plans to put an end to the frequent complaints by politicians that they are not given sufficient security in their respective states because they are in the opposition. The ministry is willing to spare personnel from the central police organisations but is wary of the controversy that may follow. It is the state government's job to provide security for those under its jurisdiction and an initiative by the Centre will be seen as undue interference.

In North Block, this is the second such exercise in the past decade. The first one brought in a policy six years ago and made a promise to depoliticise the process. That remains, at best, a grand sentiment.