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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rs 180 Crore to protect each Maino-Gandhi but only Rs 158 Crore to protect One Billion Indians

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So exuberant and profuse is the security of these politicians that the Delhi high court was recently provoked into saying, "Politicians are not national assets that need to be protected."
While they seem unable to protect ordinary people from terrorist attacks, politicians, cutting across party lines, spend hundreds of crores of tax-payers' money to protect themselves. Some of them may be at genuine risk, but there are numerous politicians who surround themselves with gun-toting commandos to flaunt their `status' and end up harassing ordinary people by blocking traffic and pushing vehicles off the road.

Over Rs 250 crore is spent on VIP protection — including VIPs like Deve Gowda, Amar Singh, Ram Vilas Paswan, Sajjan Kumar, B L Joshi, R L Bhatia, Sharad Yadav, Rameshwar Thakur, E Ahmad, Murli Manohar Joshi, Brij Bhushan Sharan and Pramod Tiwari. Most of these worthies are said to be facing little real risk. It's also questionable whether lakhs of rupees should be spent on the protection of some others, like Sajjan Kumar, who have murder cases against them.

The explosion of VIP security has led to a ridiculous situation in which commandos meant for anti-terror operations have been diverted to protect politicians.

This is in addition to the Special Protection Group (SPG) that is exclusively meant for providing security to the PM, former PMs and members of the Gandhi family. Interestingly, the SPG budget for 2008-09 is Rs 180 crore, up from Rs 117 crore the previous year, while the 2008-09 budget for NSG, which is meant to protect over a billion people from terror, is Rs 158 crore, down from Rs 159 crore the previous year.

It's not only the SPG and NSG that protect our netas. In addition to them, every state diverts a sizeable number of policemen for VIP security. In Delhi, where the number of self-important politicians is highest, as many as 14,200 policemen have been deployed on round-the-clock VIP security duty.

The pyramid gets wider at the lower level of security — 68 VIPs get Z category protection, 243 get Y category and 81 X category. Of course, all of them get to flash red lights on their cars and flaunt their status, generally viewed as a nuisance by the aam admi.
Read more here "People at risk but hundreds of crores to protect netas"

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