Security Cover to Bengal MLAs – UPSC GS2

  • The MHA has ordered a security cover of X- category security to 61 BJP MLAs while the remaining 16 BJP MLAs will get or are already enjoying a higher cover.
About Security Cover:
  • There are six kinds of central security covers: X, Y, Y plus, Z, Z plus, and SPG.
  • The Special Protection Group protects only the Prime Minister while the other type of securities can be provided to anyone based on the Centre’s assessment.
  • The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) are the two forces tasked with providing security to VIPs.
How is a security cover provided?
  • An MHA committee decides regarding the security cover.
  • It comprises officials from the Home Ministry, the Intelligence Bureau, Delhi Police, and senior officials of the Central Armed Police Forces.
  • The Intelligence Bureau prepares the list of persons under threat and the degree of threat. Whereas the committee decides on the force to be deployed depending upon the place where the person is located.
  • The threat perception of every person is discussed one by one and not collectively for any group.
Issues in the recent decision:
  • Degree of threat was not large enough to provide such a big security cover. For instance, such blanket covers were given in the past in the case of the Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir elections. These regions were witnessing militant unrest at that time.
  • Such actions deteriorate Centre-State relations as law and order is a state subject. Further, the order also questions the integrity of West Bengal police officers of being aligned to a particular political party.
  • Forces are already over deployed in the protection of VIPs. In 2019, 66,043 police and CAPF personnel were deployed to protect 19,467 Ministers, MPs, judges, and bureaucrats. Although the sanctioned strength was 43,556 personnel as per the Data on Police Organisations.
  • Constant deployment impacts the training schedule of CAPF personnel. After the initial eight-week training for VIP protection, the forces have to take a periodic two-week refresher training for improving their skills.
Way Forward:
There is a need to charge a fee for the security personnel deployed to protect legislators and other prominent persons. This would curb the tendency of unnecessarily demanding security personnel around themselves.

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