Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not use beacons or lal batti on his cars anymore and neither will other ministers. From May 1, officials, ministers, chief ministers and judges are banned from using the red flashing lights on their cars. Only emergency vehicles will be allowed to use beacons, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said today, removing the lal batti from his own car.
Mr Gadkari made the announcement after a cabinet meeting today and said this was done to check "VIP culture".
In recent meetings, the Prime Minister had reportedly been emphatic about ending 'lal batti culture' that has come to symbolize VIP arrogance at the cost of public convenience.
Two newly elected chief ministers - Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh and Amarinder Singh in Punjab - had already given up use of beacons on their official cars.
Recently, PM Modi's convoy went to the Delhi airport to receive Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina "in normal traffic", which means no traffic restrictions were in place throughout the route.
Usually, policemen put up barricades and block every route that dignitaries are to take, leaving people waiting interminably for the roads to open. The video of an ambulance carrying a wounded child being blocked by policemen in Delhi earlier this month went viral online.
In 2013, a court order said the use of beacons should be restricted and only constitutional authorities should be allowed to use it.
The PM reportedly called a meeting last week to discuss how to pare down the use of beacons.