The use of red beacons which symbolise power, a sense of entitlement and VVIP culture in the corridors of Delhi and state capitals has come to an end from May 1. There is an eerie silence among the civil servants but some are enthused and welcome the change. Ashok Khemka, an IAS officer of Haryana cadre, took to Twitter to say that, “some other privileges must go too. “Use of British honorifics, ‘Sir, His Excellency, My Lord’ like the use of red beacon light on car also need a review.” IAS-turned politician Jayaprakash Narayan says banning red lights on cars for ‘VIPs’ is long overdue. After welcoming the move, he added: “All other trappings of VIP culture in our democracy should go.” Haryana State Election Commissioner Dr. Dalip Singh uploaded a photo on Facebook removing the “red beacon” from his car. Significantly, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had not used vehicles with red beacons even before the decision was taken. Air India Chairman and Managing Director and 1980-batch Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineering (IRSME) Officer Ashwani Lohani said that the VIP culture had always disturbed him since the time he had joined bureaucracy. In a Facebook post, the senior bureaucrat went beyond the red beacon to argue that the culture of officials accepting and expecting “bouquets, special arrangements, protocol, slew of subordinates to receive and see off and to top it all gifts and freebies” must also end along with red beacons. “A reminder of the raj era, such conduct that diverts focus away from deliverance would hopefully also diminish considerably,” he wrote in his Facebook post. “The red beacon now has gone for good but nobody can say with certainty that the same in the mindset has also disappeared,” the PM said in his recent ‘Mann ki baat’. Clearly more is on the anvil.
VOL. 11 | ISSUE 2| MAY 2017