Security
Here's everything you need to know about the security categories in India
Image: Wikimedia Commons/Brehmemohan

With all the talk about protection from the government, here's everything you need to know about the security categories in India.

Security is provided to VVIPs/VIPs/Politicians/ High-profile celebrities and sportspersons by a few agencies, namely the SPG (Special Protection Group), NSG (National Security Guards), and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) 

Who gets security cover and who decides?

The President, Vice-President, Prime-Minister, Supreme Court and High Court judges, Governors of states, Chief Ministers and cabinet ministers automatically get security cover, so do the service chiefs of the Indian Armed Forces.

Who decides? VVIP security is decided by a committee consisting of Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials, the home secretary and the home minister.

There have also been instances where security was provided on recommendations of the state government.

The X,Y,Z of security

Depending on the level of threat, security is classified into four main levels.

X,Y,Z and Z+ category. While Z+ is the highest security level, additional SPG coverage is provided to the most important people in the country, including current and former Prime Ministers.

The X category of security entails the most basic protection and has a security cover of two personnel with one personal security officer (PSO)

The Y category entails 11 personnel standing guard and also includes two PSOs.

The Z category really sets things a notch up with the security going up to 22 personnel and extra security by the Delhi police or the CRPF and one escort car.

The Z+ category is considered only second to SPG cover and involves 36 personnel for security along with advanced weaponry, and the latest gadgets and gizmos.

Persons under this category of security are entitled to round-the-clock personal security, which include, 28 National Security Guard commandos, an escort, a pilot and tailing vehicles, Cobra commandos and 12 home guards. 

The SPG was formed in 1988, a few years after the assassination of Indira Gandhi which occurred in 1984. It provides security to the Prime Minister and former Prime Ministers and members of their immediate families.

Reports state that "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."

However, the strength of the security cover remains classified.

For former Prime Ministers and their families, SPG cover cannot be extended beyond a year of leaving office unless an assessment on their threat perception warrants it.

The same is said to have been done in respect of Manmohan Singh and his family members recently, and a decision has been taken to continue the security, the report adds.

As of now, only six people in the country get SPG protection - Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former PMs Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Vadra.