|Published : 20 Apr 2017, 12:19:41|
India bans use of red beacon lights on VVIP cars
Indian government has decided to ban the use of red beacons on all VIP vehicles, including those of the President, Vice-President and Prime Minister, from May 1.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said "no vehicle will have a red light" from 1 May, and "there will no exceptions".
Under the new rule, only emergency vehicles, ambulances, fire engines and police cars can use flashing blue lights.
Critics say VIPs often use red beacons as a status symbol, leading to traffic chaos for commuters.
Status-conscious politicians and government officials are also accused of using the beacons to bypass the gridlocked city traffic on official business and show off their importance.
Jaitley said the government was "removing the rule which allows state and central government to specify who can use the red lights".
Correspondents say the government's move comes as a blow to India's fabled "VIP culture" that privileges politicians and officials above ordinary citizens.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to twitter to respond to messages from his followers about his government's decision.
“Every Indian is special. Every Indian is a VIP,” Modi twitted.
He wrote, “It should have gone long ago, Glad that today a strong beginning has been made”
In 2013, India's Supreme Court had said that only those holding constitutional office - the president, the prime minister, cabinet ministers, senior judges and some other officials - could have red beacons on their cars, according to BBC.