Current and former Prime Ministers and their immediate families are eligible to receive protection by the elite force.

Manmohan Singhs daughters show the way voluntarily give up SPG securityImage source: By Gryffindor, via Wikimedia Commons
news Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 09:14

Former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh's daughters Upinder Singh and Daman Singh have reportedly decided to voluntary give up their Special Protection Group (SPG) security, after almost a decade. 

The Economic Times reports that they will be now be given a mandatory security cover by the Delhi Police force instead. 

Current and former Prime Ministers and their immediate families are eligible to receive protection by the elite force. 

While Daman Singh's cover was already withdrawn last month, Upinder Singh's SPG cover will also be soon withdrawn, a home ministry official told the paper. 

Daman Singh, who is a writer, told the ET, "I opted out of the SPG cover. It was not a government move. I was in a hurry to get it removed and really pushed hard. I and my family were not comfortable with the SPG cover. My sister Upinder has also asked for SPG's removal and I think the government is in the process of doing it."

"The SPG was replaced by Delhi Police cover since it was mandatory...If I had my way, I wouldn't want any security," she added. 

"At present they are still there but we have already told them to withdraw it. This will be done after completing the required procedures," Upinder Singh, who is a professor of History at Delhi University, told PTI. Amrit Singh, another daughter of Manmohan Singh who stays in the US was given SPG cover whenever she visited India, but now will be given security by the Delhi Police force, states the PTI report. 

An MHA official told the ET said that the SPG cover was withdrawn on the protectee's request and that "the threat perception for them was also not of grave or continuing nature.”

Only six people will be given the SPG cover now. They include PM Narendra Modi, Ex-PMs Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra. 

The report states, "The SPG, with less than 4,000 personnel in its ranks and a budget of Rs 330 crore this year, is the most expensive VIP guarding security force considering the man-budget ratio."

The SPG was formed in 1988 after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984.      

Robert Vadra, Priyanka’s husband, was recently removed from the no-frisking list at airports by the Civil Aviation ministry.

Though not a SPG protectee himself, he was entitled to SPG protection whenever he was travelling with SPG protectees, including Priyanka Vadra, mother-in-law Sonia Gandhi and brother-in-law Rahul Gandhi. This meant that though he had to undergo frisking at airports when he travelled alone, he was exempted from pre-flight security checks while travelling with SPG protectees. Vadra’s name was on a list of 33 constitutional authorities who enjoy the special privilege of being exempted from frisking at civilian airports in the country. Besides he is also given protection by the Delhi Police force. 

Vadra had earlier taken to Facebook posts to state that he did not consider himself a VIP and that his name should have be taken off the list.