How much money does govt save by withdrawing SPG cover to Gandhi family

How much money does govt save by withdrawing SPG cover to Gandhi family

India

oi-Vicky Nanjappa

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New Delhi, Nov 08: The Centre has withdrawn the Special Protection Group (SPG) security cover that was given to the Gandhi family.

They would now be covered with the CRPF Z Plus cover instead. The decision was taken by the Home Ministry based on intelligence inputs from the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing.

It may be recalled that the Government had increased the allocation for the SPG earlier this year. The allocation was increased from Rs 535 crore in 2019-20, while it was Rs 411.68 crore in the previous fiscal.

Former PM, Manmohan Singh loses SPG cover

Of the Rs 535 crore, Rs 115 crore had been earmarked for capital expenditure while the remaining is under the revenue head. The last fiscal the SPG was allocated Rs 372 crore under the capital expenditure and Rs 39 crore under the capital head.

Between 2004 and 2013, the amount spent to protect the members of the Gandhi family, Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Rs 1,800 crore.

It may be recalled that the centre had withdrawn the SPG cover that was given to former prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.

The government had in 2017 itself started reviewing the SPG cover to several persons including Sonia Gandhi.

With the burden on the on the security and exchequer getting heavier, the government had decided to review the security cover to former prime ministers and their family members. The list of persons whose security covers which was reviewed were former Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi among others.

The move was aimed at reducing the burden on the special protection group or SPG. The SPG which was set up in 1985 is tasked with protecting the Prime Minister, former prime ministers and their families. The decision is taken based on the threat perception to each of these persons.

In 2017, those who were under the SPG cover included the Prime Minister, former PM Manmohan Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur, ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his foster-daughter Namita Bhattacharya, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi.

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