The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 19 April 2017 decided to ban the use of red beacons symbols on the vehicles of VIPs. The decision says that Ministers and officials in the Central government will not be able to use red beacons on their official vehicles from 1 May 2017. The ban does not exempt even vehicles of the country’s top dignitaries such as the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India. However, a certain category of institutions is exempted from the ban and they are ambulances and vehicles of the fire service, police, and army. They will be allowed to use blue flashing beacons to cut through traffic.
During the cabinet meet the Rule 108 (I) and 108 (II) of the Motor Vehicles Act that allows central and state governments to permit red beacons for dignitaries was scrapped. As per the existing norms, the President, Vice President and Prime Minister along with several dignitaries like the Lok Sabha Speaker, Chief Justice of India, Chief Ministers, Governors, Chief Justices of High Courts, Supreme Court judges and Leader of Opposition were allowed red beacons. The move is aimed at eradicating VVIP culture in the country and was taken with the spirit of new India where every Indian is special and a VIP.
Earlier, the Supreme Court of India had asked all state governments to restrict the list of VIPs who are allowed beacons on their vehicles. After which some state governments barred the use of red beacons. Example, after winning the assembly elections, Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab namely Yogi Adityanath and Captain Amarinder Singh respectively decided to remove beacons from the vehicles of ministers as well as government vehicles. Even, they ordered that the beacons will not be available on the vehicles of the Chief Ministers.