6 Dec 2019

SPG Amendment Bill, 2019

Source: The Hindu

Manifest pedagogy: Security forces under Internal Security sections is an important aspect for Mains. Studying the forces which are in news becomes compulsory.

In news: Lok Sabha has passed Special Protection Group (SPG) amendment bill, 2019

Placing it in syllabus: Security forces and agencies

Dimensions:

  • What is SPG and who all are covered under it?
  • Why Gandhis were given SPG protection?
  • Other protection troops for VIP
  • SPG amendment bill provisions 

Content:

What is SPG and who all are covered under it?

  • Based on the Birbal Nath Committee recommendations the Special Protection Group (SPG) came into being in April 1985 in the wake of the killing of PM Indira Gandhi in 1984. 
  • It was raised with the intention to provide proximate security cover to the Prime Minister and his family members.
  • For three years , SPG functioned under executive orders. 
  • An SPG Act of the Parliament of India was enacted in 1988.
  • Then, the Act did not include former prime ministers. 
  • After Rajiv’s assassination in 1991, the SPG Act was amended to offer protection to all former PMs and their families for at least 10 years.
  • Then the Act was amended in 1994, 1999 and 2003.
  • Cabinet Secretariat of India is its governing body.
  • SPG adopts innovative methods and collaborates with the IB and State/ UT police forces to provide overall security arrangements.
  • At present, it provides security only to the Prime Minister of India and their immediate family members residing with them at the official residence.
  • The former prime ministers and their family members are given Z+ security cover.
  • The SPG protectees travel in special bullet proof or armoured cars and are entitled to use special choppers or aircraft of the Indian Air Force for transport. 
  • Under the SPG Act, the state governments are bound to meet the security cover demands of the SPG.

Why Gandhis were given SPG protection?

  • Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, were given the SPG protection because, two of their family members, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, both former Prime Ministers of India, were assassinated.
  • On 8th November 2019, Government of India decided to withdraw SPG Cover from Gandhi Family and accorded them with Z+ Security.
  • Now CRPF is in charge of providing security to Gandhis and former prime minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur as per Z+ security norms.
  • As of now, CRPF is using the vehicles, equipment and technical gadgets that were used by the SPG to provide security to these members. 
  • While an SPG protectee is guarded by nearly 100 SPG commandos, the one with Z+ cover is guarded by a team of 55, which includes at least 10 National Security Guard (NSG) commandos. 

Other protection troops for VIP:

  • The Home Ministry takes the decision of level of protection an individual needs, based on inputs of threat from intelligence agencies.
  • Certain individuals, by dint of their position in government, are automatically entitled to security cover like the Prime Minister and his immediate family, Home Minister and officials such as the National Security Adviser. 

There are largely six types of security covers: X, Y, Y plus, Z, Z plus and SPG. 

  • The X category on an average entails just one gunman protecting the individual.
  • Y has one gunman for mobile security and one (plus four on rotation) for static security.
  • Y plus has two policemen on rotation for security and one (plus four on rotation) for residence security.
  • Z has six gunmen for mobile security and two (plus eight) for residence security.
  • Z plus has 10 security personnel for mobile security and two (plus eight) for residence security.

The various kinds of cover within these levels include security of residence, mobile security, office security and inter-state security. 

National Security Guard (NSG) is a special commando unit for surgical strikes against organised terrorist attacks within the country. It has two groups of personnel and officers: Special Action Group (SAG) and the Special Ranger Group (SRG). Out of these two, SRG is used for VIP security.

SPG bill, 2019 provisions:

  • The SPG will provide security to Prime Minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence.
  • It will also provide security to former prime ministers, and his immediate family members residing with him at the residence allotted to him for a period of five years.
  • When the proximate security is withdrawn from a former Prime Minister, such proximate security shall also stand withdrawn from members of his or her immediate family.