The Special Protection Group Act, 1988 enacted to provide for the constitution and regulation of an armed force of the Union for providing proximate security to the Prime Minister of India and the former Prime Ministers of India and members of his immediate family and for matters connected therewith.
The SPG is a special force, specifically raised for the protection of the country’s Prime Minister, former PMs and in certain cases their immediate family. The force has presently 4,000 strong cadres. Prime minister of India is only one under the SPG’s protection under the present incumbency.
Home Ministry in consultation with IB and RAW decides to multiple factors and required layers of protection of a person.
Whom SPG protects
As per section 4 :
(1) There shall be an armed force of the Union called the Special Protection Group for providing proximate security to
(i) the Prime Minister and the members of his immediate family; and
(ii) any former Prime Minister or to the members of his immediate family
(a) for a period of one year from the date on which the former Prime Minister ceased to hold office and beyond one year based on the level of threat as decided by the Central Government, so, however, that not more than twelve months shall elapse between two consecutive assessments made in regard to the need for proximate security:
Provided that while deciding the level of threat, the Central Government shall take into account, among other things, the following factors, namely:
(A) that the threat emanates from any militant or terrorist organisation or any other source; and
(B) that the threat is of a grave and continuing nature:
(b) on their visits abroad, based on entitlement to proximate security and the level of threat as assessed by the Central Government.
(1-A) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1),
(a) any former Prime Minister or any member of the immediate family of the Prime Minister or of a former Prime Minister may decline proximate security;
(b) where the proximate security is withdrawn from a former Prime Minister, whether before or after the commencement of the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Act, 1999 (35 of 1999), such proximate security shall also stand withdrawn from the immediate family members of such former Prime Minister:
Provided that where the level of threat faced by any member of the immediate family of a former Prime Minister warrants proximate security or any other security, such security shall be provided to that member.
(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Group shall be constituted in such manner as may be prescribed and the terms and conditions of service of the members of the Group shall be such as may be prescribed.
(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, any person or any member of any other armed force of the Union may be appointed to the Group by the Central Government by a general or special order and for such period as may be specified in such order and the person so appointed shall, during the period of his appointment, be deemed to be a member of the Group and the provisions of this Act shall, so far as may be, apply to such person or member.
Other VVIP Security Cover
The deciding Policy
- VVIP security is decided by a committee consisting of Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials, the home secretary, and the home minister.
- Depending on the level of threat, security is classified into four main levels.
- X, Y, Z, and Z+ category.
- Provided to VIPs and VVIPs.
- Has a security cover of over 36 personnel.
- Guarded extensively by NSG.
- NSG with Special Protection Group (SPG) guards the Prime Minister, former PMs and their immediate family members.
- Round the clock personal security.
- It contains 28 NSG commandos, an escort, a pilot and tailing vehicles, Cobra commandos and 12 home guards.
- Provided to low-profile individuals.
- Entails 2 Personal Security Officers (PSOs) and one escort car to an individual.
- Has a security cover of 22 personnel including a pilot.
- Provided to lower-key profile individuals.
- It also entails 2 PSOs but without an escort car.
- Has a security cover of 11 personnel.
- Provided to individuals with the lowest threat.
- Entails only 1 PSO.
- Has a security cover of 2 personnel.
- The SPG, with less than 4,000 personnel in its ranks and a budget of Rs 330 crore Apx in the year of 2017, is the most expensive VIP guarding security force considering the man-budget ratio.
- SPG, a force carved out from various para-military and state police forces, was formed in 1988 by an act of Parliament for “providing proximate security to the Prime Minister and former Prime Ministers and members of their immediate families. The need for such a force was felt after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. The force has only one protectee now after the withdrawal of the protection of Gandhis – Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- A total of around 450 VIPs in India gets high security and 17of them get Z+ security.
As per United Nations, Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that in 2013, India’s Police-Citizen ratio was 138 police personnel per lakh of population.