Special Protection Group
|Special Protection Group
विशेष सुरक्षा दल
|Flag of the Special Protection Group.|
|Motto||शौर्यम् समर्पणम् सुरक्षणम्|
|Bravery, Dedication, Security|
|Formed||2 June, 1988|
|Annual budget||408.98 crore|
|Legal personality||Non government: Central Armed Police Forces|
|Countries||India and abroad|
|Legal jurisdiction||As per operations jurisdiction.|
|Governing body||Cabinet Secretariat|
|Constituting instrument||Special Protection Group Act, 1988|
|Specialist jurisdiction||Protection of international or domestic VIPs, protection of significant state asseets.|
|Overviewed by||Ministry of Home Affairs|
|Agency executive||Vivek Srivastav, Director|
The Special Protection Group (SPG) (Hindi: विशेष सुरक्षा दल) is one of the eight Central Armed Police Forces of India formed in 1988 by an act of the Parliament of India for "providing proximate security to the Prime Minister of India and former Prime Minister of India and members of their immediate families (wife, husband, children and parents)". Family members of a serving Prime Minister (PM) may decline security. Former PMs and their immediate family members may also, if they choose, decline SPG security.
The "general superitendence, direction and control" of the SPG is exercised by, the Central Government. The head of the force, called a Director, is appointed by the Central Govt. He is responsible for "the command and supervision" of the force. The director of the SPG since its inception has been an officer from the Indian Police service.
The Director of the SPG, an officer of IG and some times Director General rank, is assisted by number of Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors, Joint Assistant Directors. The SPG is divided broadly into the following four categories:
- Operations: Looks after the actual protection duties. In the Operations Branch, there are components like the Communications Wing, Technical Wing and Transport Wing.
- Training: Deals with the training of personnel on a continuous basis. The SPG imparts training in physical efficiency, marksmanship, anti-sabotage checks, communication and other operative aspects connected with close protection drills and having a bearing on VVIP security with a view to maintaining a high level of physical fitness and to fine-tune the operational skills of SPG Officers. The training programme is constantly reviewed and updated to effectively thwart threats from newer areas and in keeping with existing threat perception.
- Intelligence and Tours: Threat assessment, internal intelligence pertaining to personnel, verification of character and antecedents, tours and other allied jobs.
- Administration: Deals with personnel, procurement and other related matters.
Contact with the Media
Members of the SPG are barred by the SPG Act,1988, from contact with the media and from publishing or collaborating in publication of "any book, letter or other document".
Before 1981, the security of the Prime Minister of India at the Prime Minister's residence was the responsibility of the Special Security District of the Delhi Police under the charge of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP). In October 1981, a Special Task Force (STF) was raised by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to provide ring-round and escort to the Prime Minister in and out of New Delhi.
After the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in October 1984, a review was undertaken by a Committee of Secretaries and it was decided to entrust security of the Prime Minister to a Special Group under unitary and direct control of a designated Officer and the STF to provide immediate security cover both in New Delhi and outside. These decisions were taken as short-term measures.
Then on February 18, 1985, the Ministry of Home Affairs set up the Birbal Nath Committee to go into the issue in its entirety and submit its recommendation. In March 1985, the Birbal Nath Committee submitted its recommendations of raising a Special Protection Unit (SPU). On 30 March 1985, the President of India created 819 posts for the unit under the Cabinet Secretariat. The SPU was then re-christened Special Protection Group and the post of Inspector General of Police was re-designated as Director.
The SPG came into being on 8 April 1985 when Dr. S. Subramaniam, then Joint Director (VIP Security) in the Intelligence Bureau assumed office. Creation of the SPG required an elaborate exercise in order to clearly delineate responsibility of various agencies concerned with the security of the Prime Minister. The provisions contained in the Blue Book, which lays down security guidelines for the protection of the Prime Minister, had to be harmoniously blended with this new concept of proximate security.
IB and the State/UT Police concerned were responsible for coordination, collection and dissemination of intelligence affecting VIP security. State/UT Police and the SPG were responsible for providing physical security arrangements for the Prime Minister, while the IB was to provide the required intelligence inputs to these operational agencies. The SPG functioned as a security group purely on the strength of an Executive Order for three years without a legislation, from April 1985 to June 1988.
The SPG was constituted and trained specially to provide protection to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in view of the threats to him from several sources. But, the organization created for the proximate security of Prime Minister Gandhi, did not contemplate provision of protection to him when he ceased to be Prime Minister, and faced magnified threats. SPG cover for Rajiv Gandhi was withdrawn once he ceased to be Prime Minister. After the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991, the SPG Act was amended in 1991 to provide security to former Prime Ministers and their immediate families for a period of 10 years from the date on which the former Prime Minister ceased to hold office.
The Prime Minister's cavalcade comprises a dozen odd vehicles, including two armoured BMW series 7 sedans, six BMW X3 and a Mercedes Benz ambulance. A Tata Safari jammer also accompany the PM's convoy, besides a few more escort vehicles.
The SPG manages these vehicles & may, go for slight changes or decide to go for a new one as per the new Prime Minister's choice. The vehicle, is believed to be able to secure the occupants from landmine blasts to Kalashnikov's bullets. It can run for kilometers even on flat tyres and are fitted with advance heat sensors to ward off missiles and bombs. While the fuel tanks are made such that they don't explode during an attack, its cabin also turns into a gas-proofchamber and ensures oxygen supply to secure the occupant in cases of gas attacks.
The custom- made BMW XSeries is a 4,799cc sports utility vehicle(SUV) with a twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 engine delivering 547 bhp. The hatchback is bulletproof, mineproof and carries an armour plating.
The virtually armoured cars carry secure phone and on- board monitor with TV function. They guzzle a litre of petrol for about every seven kilometres. The basic model costs Rs 78.60 lakh. Customised versions can cost up to Rs 15 crore, depending upon the security features. Initially, only two such cars were purchased, but the fleet continues to grow from six 7-series sedans to 15 new SUVs.
- Tata Safari variants
On cutting down government expenditure Prime Minister Narendra Modi had shot down a proposal from the Special Protection Group (SPG) to upgrade his convoy, specially the car in which he travels.
Air India One (also referred to as AI-1 or AIC001 ) is the call sign of any Air India aircraft carrying the Prime Minister of India, President of India or the Vice President of India. Air India is the national airline of India. The aircraft is operated as VIP flights by the Indian Air Force (IAF)
Apart from the Boeing 747-400 owned by Air India and used on international state visits, the IAF currently owns four 14 seater Embraer 135 and three customized 46 seater Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) that have a VIP cabin and are used for VIP movement. Of these the Boeing 747s are used by either the Prime Minister,President or Vice President when on official overseas visits.
- Mi-8 helicopters
The Defence Ministry has approved the "conversion" of six new Mi-17 V5s into VVIP helicopters to replace the old Mi-8 helicopters with IAF's elite Communication Squadron to ferry the President and PM within the country. This has become necessary after India in January this year scrapped the 556 million euros contract for 12 swanky AW-101 helicopters, which was inked with AgustaWestland in February 2010, due to allegations of bribery. Mi-17 V5s have advanced avionics, on-board navigation systems and night-vision devices, but they cannot really be a substitute for VVIP helicopters. The SPG wanted the VVIP helicopters to have "high tail booms" to allow cars to come right next to the rear exit staircase without "exposing" VVIPs to a threat from anyone in the vicinity, additional transit range, better crash- worthiness and armour protection.
Used once while transporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to INS Vikramaditya, the aircraft carrier. However it was operated by the Indian Navy
The elite force is wary of being perceived as rude bodyguards. In fact, the SPG men dress in the trademark safari suits and formal suits to appear refined and graceful.
- "Budget 2014 focuses on women safety, creating infra in Naxal states". Financial Express. 18 February 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- Section 6, Special Protection Group Act, 1988
- The Gazette of India (June 7, 1988). "THE SPECIAL PROTECTION GROUP ACT 1988 [AS AMENDED IN 1991, 1994 & 1999]". No. 30. New Delhi: The Government of India. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "Mayawati not entitled to SPG cover under law - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
- "Prasad's appointment as SPG chief stuns many". Times of India. Nov 3, 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
- Why Intel Agencies Are Wary Of Hiring Muslims And Sikhs
- Unnithan, Sandeep (2008-08-22). "If looks could kill". India Today. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- Unnithan, Sandeep (September 01, 2005). "SPG Gets More Teeth". India Today (ISSN 0254-8399).
- Swami, Praveen (8 April 2009). "Mumbai Police's Modernisation Programme Built Around Outdated, Inappropriate Weapons". Chennai, India: The Hindu: Online Edition of India's National Newspaper. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- SPG. "Special Protection Group".: Official Website of SPG
-  Gazette notification of Special Protection Group Act
-  new wing of SPG.