22 April, 2017
"In a historic decision, the Cabinet has decided that beacon lights will be removed from all vehicles, barring emergency service vehicles, from May 1". Red-beacon cars have also often stopped traffic, leading people to complain of VIP culture.
According to Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, the ban "is a huge democratic decision".
"From May 1 no one in the country would be able to have red beacons atop official vehicles".
Mr Jaitley said the government was "removing the rule which allows state and central government to specify who can use the red lights".
A decision to this effect was taken at a union cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.
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"And to celebrate such epic step for strengthening our democracy, I have stopped using the RedBeacon atop my auto", he said in another tweet. "The Congress welcomes the end of "Red Beacon culture" in India, a campaign that we launched and implemented in Punjab".
However, some state governments had already given up the practice of using beacon lights including Punjab, where CM Amarinder Singh ordered the removal of red beacons from all government vehicles, including those of the chief minister and other state ministers right after winning the polls. "Today my auto is without a red light, I feel really great pleasure and pride", the minister told NDTV. Chouhan had also admitted that many unauthorised persons were using red beacons.
This move is directly in line with the Prime Minister's vision of a transparent government, where no leaders enjoy additional benefits.
The red beacon had over the decades become an instrument of political appeasement in the country with state governments "granting" such beacons to functionaries of the ruling party even when they held no constitutional posts. "Neither the states nor the Centre will have power to give any special permission (for use of beacon lights)", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the Cabinet meeting.
Other chief ministers, who joined the bandwagons of dignitaries to remove red beacon include Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Odisha Chief Minister CM Naveen Patnaik and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh.