Special Protection Group (SPG)
- January 7, 2022
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN Topics
Special Protection Group (SPG)
Subject – Defence and Security
Context – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security breach in Punjab wherein his cavalcade was stuck on a flyover for almost 20 minutes due to a blockade by protesting farmers
- The Prime Minister’s security is the domain of the Special Protection Group or SPG that is described as an “armed force” in the SPG Act.
- The SPG Act came into being in 1988 and the body functions under the cabinet secretariat.
- The Act has provisions for “providing proximate security” to the Prime Minister of India as well as those who have previously held the post.
- It was created after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Parliament passed the SPG Act (1988) dedicating the group to protecting the Prime Ministers of India.
- After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination (1991), the SPG Act was amended, offering SPG protection to all former Prime Ministers and their families for a period of at least 10 years.
- The SPG comprises of the personnel from the CRPF, Border Security Force and other Central and State forces.
What is Proximate Security?
- Proximate security is defined as “protection provided from close quarters, during a journey by road, rail, aircraft, watercraft, or on foot, or any other means of transport and shall include the places of functions, engagements, residence or halt and shall comprise ring round teams, isolation cordons, the sterile zone around, and the rostrum and access control to the person or members of his immediate family”.
- The Act clearly mentions that ring round team, isolation cordons and access control are a mandate of the SPG as part of proximate security defined above.
SPG under Central Govt
- “The general superintendence, direction and control of the group shall vest in, and be exercised by, the Central Government and subject thereto and to the provisions of this Act and the rules, the command and supervision of the Group shall vest in an officer to be appointed by the Central Govt. as the Director of the Group,” the Act reads.
States Mandated to Assist SPG
- The Act also makes it clear that state governments must assist the protection group whenever required.
- Section 14 of the SPG Act makes the state government responsible for providing all assistance to the SPG during the PM’s movement.
The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019
- Ministry: Home Affairs
- Passed by both the Houses of Parliament
- The Bill amends the Special Protections Group Act, 1988.
- Under the Act, the SPG provides security to the Prime Minister and his immediate family members. It also provides security to former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members for a period of one year from the date on which they cease to hold the office. Beyond this period, the SPG security is provided based on the level of threat as decided by the central government. The threat must: (i) emanate from a military or terrorist organisation, and (ii) be of a grave and continuing nature.
- The Bill amends this provision to state that the SPG will provide security to the Prime Minister, and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence. It will also provide security to any former Prime Ministers, and his immediate family members residing with him at the residence allotted to him. This security will be provided for a period of five years from the date on which he ceases to hold the office of Prime Minister.
- The Act provides that if the SPG security is withdrawn from a former Prime Minister, it will also be withdrawn from his immediate family members, unless the level of threat faced by the immediate family member warrants such security. The Bill removes this condition to state that if the SPG security is withdrawn from a former Prime Minister, it will also be withdrawn from his immediate family members.