Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Wednesday (November 27) that there had been "dilution" in the SPG Act and the Bill brought by the government to amend the Act was aimed at making the specialised force more efficient. Shah moved the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 for passage in Lok Sabha, saying that the amendments were in keeping with the basic spirit of the Act.
The Union Home Minister said, "I have come here with an amendment in Special Protection Group (SPG) Act. After the amendment, under this Act, SPG cover will be given only to the Prime Minister and members of his family who live officially with him at the PM's residence."
He said that SPG cover will also be given to a former Prime Minister and his family, living at a residence allotted by the government, for a period of 5 years.
According to the Home Minister, a prime minister and former prime minister were assassinated leading to the "big loss" and Special Protection Group Act, 1988 was brought following recommendations of an expert committee and had seen changes in the past.
"It was diluted at different times," he said, adding that the Prime Minister is given SPG protection as he is the head of the government and has to take tough decisions concerning internal and external security.
He said, "It is aimed at neutralizing all dangers," while adding "The aim (of the bill) is that there is more efficiency (in the force) and there is no lapse."
Shah said the spirit of the bill was reflected in its title and the system of protection has been created according to the stature of the post. The SPG he said not only provides physical security to Prime Minister but also protects his office, communications.
He said the word `Special` in the Act refers to the security of prime minister. "The word `Protection` does not refer to only physical security but communications, office and is in accordance with the dignity and stature of the post.`
The word `Group` in SPG, he said, refers to specialized elite training where there is no dilution in its efficiency.
Congress MP Manish Tewari earlier said that "Reason given to remove SPG protection provided to former Prime Ministers is 'number of individuals to be provided SPG cover can potentially become quite large'. The same reason was given to remove the security cover of Former PM Rajiv Gandhi."
Tiwari said the SPG protectees were told in June that their threat assessment was increasing, adding "I want to ask that what changed between June and November that SPG protection was removed without amending the law."