Indian officials to lose red beacon lights atop their cars

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In an attempt to put an end to the VIP culture in the country, the Union Cabinet decided that none of the VIP vehicles will have red beacon lights after May 1.

Immediately after the cabinet meeting Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari got the red beacon atop is auto removed and appealed to his colleagues to follow suit.

"It's a huge democratic decision", the national road transport minister, Nitin Gadkari, said.

India now has six categories of beacon lights but mainly red, blue and yellow are in use.

He said no dignitary anywhere in India will use beacons on vehicles.

In a historic decision, the Narendra Modi-led government on Wednesday chose to do away with the VIP culture with effect from 1 May.

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The decision, he said, was taken to strengthen "healthy democratic values" in the country. "The Congress welcomes the end of "Red Beacon culture" in India, a campaign that we launched and implemented in Punjab". The rule also excludes emergency services vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks, police, and the army. "We can issue the notification under respective rules and before that, a notice will be issued for public hearing", he said. "From today the red beacon in my vehicle is being removed", he said, adding, his cabinet colleagues will follow suit.

"The lights were often used as a show-off status symbols".

The decision to ban the VVIP auto culture was a result of a meeting chaired by PM Modi.

In the past months the newly elected chief ministers of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh banned the beacons for state officials.

PM Modi demonstrated his own conviction for ending this culture last week, when his convoy moved "in normal traffic" - without any route restrictions or road blocks-to the Delhi airport to receive Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi was the first to withdraw the use of red beacons by ministers. Transport departments officials said presently the use of red beacons was not illegal in the state provided the person concerned was authorised to use it under the rules now in force.

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