In a response to a question by DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy revealed in the Parliament on Tuesday that the Special Protection Group (SPG) only has the prime minister under its cover while the CRPF secures 56 important people in the country.
Without naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy in a written reply in Lok Sabha said the SPG protects only one person.
According to a recent amendment in the SPG Act, the force now protects the prime minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence.
This question gains significance in the light of the increase in the budget allocation for SPGs in the Union Budget.
On February 1, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced an increased allocation for the Special Protection Group (SPG) in her budget in the Lok Sabha. The allocation was increased to ₹600 crore from last year's ₹540 crore.
In November last year, the government withdrew the SPG cover of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. They were provided with Z-plus security by the CRPF.
The Congress chief and her children were included in the VVIP security list following an amendment in September 1991 in the SPG Act of 1988, after the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE terrorists.
The Gandhis' SPG protection was removed after 28 years. The Act, enacted by Parliament in 1988, was initially supposed to provide security to only the prime minister and former prime ministers of the country. However, in August last year, the government withdrew the SPG cover of former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
The need for a separate force for guarding the prime minister of the country was felt after Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own security guards on October 31, 1984.
SPG protectees, under the rules, are provided with guards, hi-tech vehicles, jammers and an ambulance in their carcade.
The revelation of the enormous cost of the prime minister’s security has not gone down well with the netizens.
Criticising the exorbitant cost of the prime minister’s security cover, All India Mahlia Congress tweeted: PM Narendra Modi's ‘fakeeri’ is costing taxpayers 1.62 Crore rupees a day
“Does anyone have a Hindi version of this? About time we started sharing the awful truth with everyone we know: “ 1.62 crores a day: Cost of PM Modi's SPG security cover,” tweeted a user.
“JNU has over 8000 students and govt spends around Rs 400 crore/year in grant and subsidies from the exchequer for the institution. A self-proclaimed fakir’s SPG security costs ₹563 cr/year for the exchequer. This is his promised #NewIndia”, tweeted a Twitter user.
“Modiji stop spending on ur SPG protection its burden on every indian and exchequer is drying up bcoz of ur lavish style. Ur a fakir, simple man, jhoola utha ke nikal padenge guy, plz give up this security and roam freely,” tweeted another user.
“At Rs 592 crore, the cost of protecting the prime minister comes at about Rs 1.62 crore a day or about Rs 6.75 lakh an hour or Rs 11,263 a minute. Sab Changa Si!,” another tweet read
“Rs 1.62 crore a day: Cost of PM Modi's SPG security cover Means:
1.62×30 = 48.60 crore Per month
48.60×12= 583.20 Crore per year
And this Shameless liar Say Mai to Fakir hun Ji Jhola utha kar Chal dunga”, tweeted a user.
The cost of Water subsidy and DTC free rides in Delhi is 576 crore yearly. The cost of SPG protection to P.M Modi is 584 crore for a year. Meanwhile Sudhir : Delhi ki Janta Mufatkhor hai aur Modiji Fakir aadmi hai, tweeted another user.