Why in News:
- The Ministry of Home Affairs called “a major lapse in the security of the PM” when the Prime Minister’s cavalcade stranded on a flyover in Punjab due to a protest by farmers recently.
- Following the suggestions of the Birbal Nath committee report appointed by the Home Ministry, a special unit inside the Cabinet Secretariat was established. In 1985, this unit, formerly known as the Special Protection Unit, was renamed the Special Protection Group.
- Following that, the Parliament approved The Special Protection Group (SPG) Act, which was notified in June 1988 and “provided for the constitution and regulation of an armed force of the Union for providing proximate protection to the Prime Minister of India and for matters connected therewith.”
Features of the SPG act
- The Prime Minister and his immediate family members are secured by the Special Protection Group (SPG) under the Act
- The act defines “Proximate Security” as providing protection in close distance when the PM travels by rail, road, watercraft, aircraft or on foot. This includes his residence and other places of engagements and functions as well.
- The Union Government controls the SPG.
- No member of the group may resign throughout the course of his or her term of service.
- Members are not permitted to join a trade union, a political union, or any other union.
- They are not permitted to communicate with the press.
- Section 14 of the SPG Act mandates that the state government provide all support to the SPG during the PM’s travels.
- It offered protection to previous Prime Ministers and their immediate family members for a year after they left office. After 1 year , SPG security is supplied according to the level of threat determined by the central government.
- For the case of the incumbent Prime Minister, protection was also extended to family members in other places, even when they were not at the PM’s house.
- The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Act, 2019 modified this clause to read that the SPG will provide protection to the Prime Minister(always), and members of his immediate family who live with him/her at his official residence(protection only at his/her official residence).
- It will also offer protection for any former Prime Ministers and immediate family members who live with him/her at the house assigned to him/her. This protection will be given for a period of five years after he/she leaves the post of Prime Minister. If a previous Prime Minister’s SPG security is revoked, it will also be revoked for his immediate family members.
How is the Prime Minister’s security planned?
- Planning of the PM’s security during any visit is an elaborate exercise that involves both central agencies and state police forces. Broad guidelines are laid down in what is called the SPG’s ‘Blue Book’.
- The Special Protection Group (SPG), which is responsible for the PM’s security, holds a mandatory Advance Security Liaison (ASL) with everyone involved in securing the event, including SPG officials, Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials in the state concerned, state police officials, and the district magistrate concerned.
- The SPG only provides proximate security to the PM. When the PM is traveling to any state, it is the responsibility of the state police to ensure overall security. They have the responsibility of intelligence gathering, route clearance, venue sanitisation, and crowd management.
- Central intelligence agencies are responsible for providing inputs about any threat to security. However, it is the SPG that takes the final call on how the PM’s security is to be arranged. SPG usually allows the PM’s movement only when the local police give the go-ahead.