No red beacons on official vehicles from May 1: Jaitley

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Indian officials to lose red beacon lights atop their cars

In the past, there have been reports of ambulances and emergency services being kept waiting in the traffic to facilitate the movement of vehicles sporting red beacon lights.

Soon after the Cabinet decision red beacons of Gadkari's official vehicles were removed.

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 April 2017 made a decision to ban the use of red beacons symbols on the vehicles of VIPs.

This new government decision, taken on Wednesday, means that every "VIP", including chief ministers, judges, and bureaucrats have to unscrew that red beacon from their cars.

In its first Cabinet meeting, chaired by Captain Amarinder, the newly formed Punjab Government chose to completely shun the VIP culture by removing the red, yellow and blue beacons from their official vehicles.

In 2013, the Supreme Court (SC) had noted that the use of beacons by ministers and government officials should be ended immediately as they were ridiculous and synonymous with power.

How rampant and deep-rooted is the "batti" (beacon) culture in country's biggest state can be gauged from an incident where in a defiant PCS officer ordered putting up a yellow beacon on his auto when the transport department launched a drive against unauthorised use of red and blue beacons.

Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari made the announcement after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday and said this was done to check "VIP culture".

Vehicles used in emergency services would need to use a blue beacon with a flasher. As per the rule 313 of the AP Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, which the youngest state follows, the red beacon can be used on top front of the vehicle of the governor, vehicles escorting the governor's auto, chief secretary, chief justice of the high court, jud ges of the high court, Lokayukta. chairman, Administrative Tribunal, vice-chairman, Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

"Maharashtra welcomes Prime Minister Narendra Modi's. step towards ending VIP culture by stopping the use of red beacons atop VIP vehicles", Fadnavis said in a tweet.

The red beacon had over the decades become an instrument of political appeasement in the country with state governments "granting" such beacons to functionaries of the ruling party even when they held no constitutional posts.

Calling the decision "historic", Gadkari said that beacons on vehicles have been perceived as symbols of VIP culture and have no place in a democratic country. Last week, the Prime Minister's Office had deliberated on the issue with officials from the Road Transport Ministry.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis removes the red beacon from his auto.

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