Starting 1 May, red beacons, or the quintessential “lal batti” will be banned for everybody, including the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and the Speaker of Lok Sabha.
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. “Every Indian is special, every Indian is a VIP,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted yesterday evening on the “lal batti” ban.
“There will be no exceptions,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, regarding the ban. Only emergency vehicles like fire engines, ambulances and police vans have been exempted from the new rule. With this decision, the government calls a move to end the “VIP culture”.
“VIP culture” or “lal batti culture” has become a massive public inconvenience. We’re all used to painstakingly wait in our vehicles, as a “VIP” cavalcade is always given priority on the roads. With their flashing red lights and hooters, they slip by without any route restrictions, road blocks or traffic congestion.
Thankfully, all of that will end with this new rule. Two Chief Ministers – Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra and Amarinder Singh in Punjab – have already taken note of the rule and removed the red beacons from their vehicles.
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) April 19, 2017
Even Smriti Z Irani, Union Cabinet Minister of Textiles, has removed the red beacon from her official vehicle:
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) April 19, 2017