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VIP Security in India

  • 10 Sep 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has provided Y-plus category of CRPF security to an actress.

Key Points

  • VIP Security:
    • This protection is informally called “VIP security”, and it is generally given only to someone who holds a position of consequence either in the government or in civil society.
      • Certain individuals, by reason of positions they hold in government, are automatically entitled to security cover. They include:
        • The Prime Minister and his immediate family.
        • The Home Minister.
        • Officials such as the National Security Advisor.
    • In cases where the central government decides to extend security to an individual, the level of security needed by any individual is decided by the MHA, based on inputs received from intelligence agencies which include the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).
      • Confidential Inputs: The intelligence inputs that these agencies generate, particularly in cases where VIP security is involved, is neither put out in the public domain nor is it open to scrutiny by any other agency.
      • Concern due to lack of Accountability:
        • Indian intelligence agencies are not accountable to any statutory body, and are subject only to the internal oversight of the MHA and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
        • Because of this opacity in functioning, and the fact that there is virtually no accountability except to the government in power, VIP security is open to manipulation by the executive.
        • A large number of protectees, it has been alleged, are under security cover purely for political or “prestige” reasons, and not necessarily because of any genuine threat.
  • Levels of Protection:
    • There are broadly six categories of security cover: X, Y, Y-plus, Z, Z-plus, and SPG (Special Protection Group).
    • The SPG is meant only for the Prime Minister and his immediate family, other protection categories can be provided to anyone about whom the Centre or state governments have inputs of a threat.
    • There are various kinds of security cover even within these levels. These include
      • Security of residence,
      • Mobile security,
      • Office security, and
      • Inter-state security.
    • The number of personnel guarding the protectee differ from category to category.
      • The X category on average entails just one gunman protecting the individual. The X category is the most basic level of protection.
      • Z-plus category protectees have 10 security personnel for mobile security, and two (plus 8 on rotation) for residence security.
  • Different Forces Involved:
    • Protectees get residence security from state police, but mobile security from a Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
      • Central Armed Police Forces of India is a group of forces (under the Ministry of Home Affairs) for internal security. It includes the CRPF, CISF, ITBP, etc.
    • For VIPs other than the PM, the government has mandated the National Security Guard (NSG), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to provide security cover.
      • The government has intended over the years to reduce the burden of VIP security on the NSG, because the core function of the NSG is counter-terrorism operations, not providing VIP security.
      • It is for this reason that the Home Minister and NSA have been given CRPF and CISF cover respectively.
  • Paying for the Protection:
    • On Assessment by the Intelligence Agencies: Anyone to whom the government provides security after assessment by intelligence agencies, gets the protection for free.
      • However, those who have an elaborate security cover such as those in the Z and Z-plus categories, may have to consider accommodation for these security personnel on their own.
    • Private Individuals: Those who apply for the security but their case is not having consequences on the government and civil society, the government can charge a private individual for their security cover even after assessing a threat to them.

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