Modi govt bans use of red, blue beacons by VIPs, including President, PM, from May 1
However, emergency vehicles, like ambulance, can continue to use only blue beacons.
New Delhi: In a significant move to end VIP culture, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided that beacon light will be removed from all vehicles, including that of Prime Minister, from May 1.
However, emergency vehicles, like ambulance, can continue to use red or blue beacons.
"In a historic decision, the Cabinet has decided that beacon lights will be removed from all vehicles, barring emergency services vehicles, from May 1," Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
Gadkari showed the way by becoming the first minister to take the beacon off his official vehicle after the Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The minister said, "this government is a government of common masses and has decided to abolish VIP culture of beacon lights and sirens".
The government has taken the decision with a view to strengthening "healthy democratic values" in the country.
"The government is of the considered opinion that beacons on vehicles are perceived symbols of VIP culture and have no place in a democratic country. They have no relevance whatsoever," Gadkari reasoned.
Beacons, however, will be allowed on vehicles concerning emergency and relief services, ambulance, fire service etc. In light of the decision, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will make necessary provisions in the law.
According to Gadkari, this is the start of a healthy culture and tradition as blaring of sirens and blazing of beacons used to anger the masses.
In many states, even MLAs blatantly used beacon lights, he said, adding that some of them had the practice of using detachable beacons. Even use of sirens by ministers is not legal as these can be used only by pilot police vehicles, he pointed out.
The step is bound to increase faith and respect of common masses in the Narendra Modi government, he hoped.
Asked what will be the punitive measures in case of violations, the minister said action will be taken as per provisions.
He said a detailed notification in this regard will be issued soon and there is no need for any amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act.
"We can issue the notification under respective rules and before that, a notice will be issued for the public hearing," he said.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters: "From May 1 no one in the country would be able to have red beacons atop official vehicles. There will be no exceptions".
Jaitley also said that a rule which gives the Centre and state governments the right to use blue beacons with flasher has also being changed.
"Only defined emergency services will be allowed to carry blue beacons with flasher," Jaitley said.
The newly-formed governments in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab under the leadership of yogi Adityanath and Captain Amarinder Singh respectively, have already shunned the use of red beacon lights on vehicles.