In Lok Sabha, Amit Shah says past govts ‘diluted’ SPG Act, brings in amendment
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, speaking in the Lok Sabha, on Wednesday said the Special Protection Group Act will be amended allowing the Prime Minister and his family to be given such security cover who live with him at his official residence.
The amended provision also makes a case for providing security to a former prime minister and his family for a period of five years.
Currently, former Prime Ministers and their family members are provided security based on a “security assessment” and there is no cut-off period for SPG security. The SPG Act , 1998 limited providing security cover to former Prime Ministers to one year after they demitted office.
Watch: Home Minister Amit Shah leads charge to amend SPG Act in Lok Sabha
The minister accused previous governments of amending the original 1998 law from time to time to “dilute” it, an apparent reference to the earlier decision to give the elite SPG cover to members of the Gandhi family, which included Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka.
SPG cover to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was withdrawn after an assessment downgraded the threat faced by him. However, the former Prime Minister now has Z-plus security cover provided by the CRPF. Similarly, the SPG cover of the Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi was also withdrawn. They have all been provided Z-plus security cover by CRPF.
Defending his government’s move to bring in an amendment, the minister said it will make the act more “efficient”.
SPG was created to protect prime ministers, the home minister said, many countries have similar elite units to secure their heads of government.
On Monday, introducing the SPG (Amendment) Act 2019 in the lower house, the government pointed to the need for the special protection group to focus on the Prime Minister’s safety, given the “geopolitical situation” and India’s “hostile neighbourhood”.