Red light to the red beacon

Roshni Jacob
NSoJ Bureau
The car with the red beacon is a common sight on our roads. This is even more if you live in any state capital or the
power centre. Delhi. The common man had to on many occasions wait for the car with red beacon to pass. It was a daily wait for many who may be rushing to work or to school to helplessly wait and watch the VIP car drive past.
It was not just the common man but even ambulances had to wait to let the ‘very important person’ pass. In what is considered a landmark decision the union government has decided to give all this a closure by making all adhere to the same rule,  give up red beacon and the privileges associated with it.
“Every Indian is special. Every Indian is a VIP”, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explain the government’s decision
to ban the red beacon atop cars of all bureaucrats, dignitaries and politicians. The list also includes the Chief
Justice of India, the President and the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi himself.
This privilege was termed, “ridiculous and synonymous with power” by the top court, requiring the removal of these ‘lal
battis’ immediately.
However, ambulances and vehicles of the fire service, police, and army will be allowed to use blue flashing beacons in
emergency situations.
This move was initiated after the recent decisions taken by the Uttar Pradesh and Punjab chief ministers, Yogi
Adityanath and Captain Amarinder Singh, to discard beacons from official cars in their states.
Though there are different types of beacons, the red one grabs most of the attention since the time it was introduced
during the British Rule.
Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari called the decision historic and tweeted: “Usage of red beacon tied
us back to colonial legacy. With ‘lal batti’ removal Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of new India took a step forward.”
The cabinet was informed about the decision which was taken during a meeting of road transport officials at the Prime
Minister’s Office on the 15th of April.
 “We have decided to remove the clause from the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, that gave the Centre and states the
power to decide who should be allowed to display red beacons. The road ministry will shortly notify the amended rules,”
finance minister Arun Jaitley said.
Looking back at the history of ministers who have not used these beacons during their tenure, Delhi chief minister
Arvind Kejriwal took the lead in 2015 by removing the red beacon on his car.
Union ministers such as M Venkaiah Naidu and junior home minister Kiren Rijiju have never used one since they joined the
union cabinet. Mr. Gadkari and Mr. Jitendra Singh, junior minister in the prime minister’s office, removed theirs on
Wednesday urging their counterparts to follow suit.
India has been weighing under the weight of VIP culture over the years. The caste system and the British legacy ensured
that this abominable system is part of our society. One must welcome this bold measure taken by the government to make
ours a better and meaningful democracy.
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