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No 'lal batti' cars from May 1, Pema discards red beacons

No More Red Beacons Atop Cars Including The Prime Minister — Effective May 1

"The decision would further strengthen the democracy", he said, after he directed the government staff to remove the red beacon from the official vehicle of the CM.For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now.

The notification in this regard will be issued soon, he said, adding that the decision is a democratic one.

The government has taken this step to eliminate the lal batti culture now prevailing in the country.

The move means beacons - the blue flasher - will be allowed only on vehicles belonging to the fire service, police, army and ambulances, to ensure passage through traffic.

In an effort to do away with VIP culture in India, the government on Wednesday announced official vehicles of dignitaries across the country - including the President, the Prime Minister and Union ministers - would not flaunt red beacons from May 1.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the son of a tea-seller who takes pride in his humble beginnings, often breaks protocol to shake hands and pose for photos with the public.

A rule that empowers the Centre or state governments to allow use of red beacon lights to dignitaries will be altogether removed from the statute books, the minister said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while briefing the media about the cabinet decisions, said the matter was under discussion for some time and "the prime minister took the decision and informed the cabinet".

In many states, even legislators blatantly use beacon lights.

In light of the decision, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will make necessary provisions in law. Soon after the announcement, several ministers removed the red beacons from their vehicles.

"The very temperament of the honourable Prime Minister is to go closer to people, he has made an attempt to get rid of the British or Colonial reminiscences which was there through red lights or beacons". This was emulated this year by the Amarinder Singh-led government in Punjab and the Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh.