The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, December 3, passed the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which makes two major changes to the security provided. During his address, Home Minister, Amit Shah said the SPG security should not be used as a status symbol. Shah also mentioned that the last four amendments of the bill were made especially for the Gandhi family. The Congress MPs walked out of the Rajya Sabha in protest of the Bill.
Addressing the house, Union Minister Amit Shah said, "Security cannot be made a status symbol. Why demand only SPG? SPG cover is meant for only the 'head of the state', we cannot be giving it to everyone. We don't oppose one family, we are against dynasty politics."
Speaking about the previous amendments, Shah said, "It's not true that we've brought the SPG Bill by keeping only Gandhi family in mind. Security from Gandhis was withdrawn after the threat assessment analysis even before bringing this bill. This is the 5th amendment in the SPG Act. This amendment is not brought in by keeping Gandhis in mind, but, one thing that I can say for sure is that the previous 4 amendments were done by keeping only one family in mind."
The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha on November 27. The new SPG Bill states that only the Prime Minister of the country and the family that resides with him immediately will be given SPG security. The 2019 Bill also states that a former Prime Minister will be provided SPG cover only for a period of five years after he or she leaves the office. This means that only Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be under SPG cover currently.
The Act was amended in 1991, 1994, 1999 and 2003 to extend SPG cover to former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members as well, for different periods of time from the day the Prime Minister demitted office. It was last amended in 2003 to extend the SPG cover to former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members for one year from the demitting of office of the Prime Minister and thereafter based on the level of threat periodically assessed by security agencies.