The state government of Punjab during a recent cabinet meeting reached a consensus to put a definitive end to the VIP culture in the state.
In a significant move, the state will be doing away with the red, amber and blue beacons from official vehicles that belong to state ministers, political appointees, bureaucrats and other government vehicles. From now on beacons will only be allowed for emergency services like ambulances and fire brigades.
They will also be used during visits from the chief minister and for the judges from the Haryana High Court and Punjab High Court.
Image for representation. Photo source: Wikimedia
In a meeting that is said to have lasted three hours, the cabinet also decided to put a two-year ban on state government funded foreign travel of ministers and members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) unless otherwise mandated by the government.
Yet another way that the state is combating VIP culture is through a decision to no longer pay for banquets and dinners. However, exceptions will be made for events held in honour of the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Speaker, State Governors and foreign diplomats and dignitaries.
According to a report in Indian Express, the practice of laying foundation stones in order to inaugurate public projects will also be put to an end. The newspaper quoted a government spokesperson as saying, “The protocol of laying foundation stones and inauguration by legislators and ministers would be clearly defined and laid down, ensuring respect for all citizens. Only the President of India, Vice President of India, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Union Cabinet Ministers, Chief Minister, Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha and state cabinet ministers were entitled to lay foundation stones in Punjab.”
Putting an end to the VIP culture is one of the ways the state government is trying to curb the extravagant usage of tax payers’ money.