New Delhi: The Centre has increased allocation for the Special Protection Group (SPG) – tasked with protecting the Prime Minister – from Rs 540 crore to approximately Rs 600 crore. In the 2019-20 Union Budget it was increased from Rs 420 crore to approximately Rs 540 crore.
Currently the Prime Minister is the only person protected by the 3000-strong Special Security Group (SPG).
The security for three others – Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra – was revised in November last year and SPG protection was withdrawn. Sources in the government had pointed to the numerous security protocol violations by the Gandhi family. Rahul Gandhi, sources said, was violating ‘one security rule each day’.
SPG for former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also withdrawn in August. It was also withdrawn from two other former Prime Ministers HD Deve Gowda and VP Singh earlier.
The SPG was formed in 1985, a year after the assassination of Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The force was tasked with protecting the Prime Ministers.
In 1991, after the assassination of Rahul’s father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the SPG protection was extended to the entire family.
In 1999, the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee decided to review SPG’s operations, and withdrew protection from former Prime Ministers PV Narasimha Rao, HD Deve Gowda, and IK Gujral.
In 2003, the Vajpayee government amended the law to bring down the minimum period of automatic protection from 10 years to one, keeping a provision that it could be revised yearly and extended depending on the threat level.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee had SPG cover till he died in 2018.
Last year, then SPG Act was revised again, under which only the Prime Minister – current and former – and their immediate families living with them – would get SPG protection for five years after leaving office.