Security categories in India

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In India, security details are provided to some high-risk individuals by the police and local government. Depending on the threat perception to the person, the category is divided into six tiers: SPG, Z+ (highest level), Z, Y+, Y and X. Individuals under this security blanket include (but are not limited to) the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Supreme Court and High Court Judges, Service Chiefs of Indian Armed Forces, Governors of State, Chief Ministers and Cabinet Ministers, actors and other VIPs.[1]

  • SPG is an elite force whose details are classified and only provided to the Prime Minister of India.
  • Z+ category is a security detail of 150 personnel, including 10+ NSG commandos and police personnel.
  • Z category is a security detail of 55 personnel, including 4-6 NSG commandos and police personnel.
  • Y+ category is a security detail of 39 personnel, including 2-4 commandos and police personnel.
  • Y category is a security detail of 28 personnel, including 1 or 2 commandos and police personnel.
  • X category is a security detail of 12 personnel, with no commandos but only armed police personnel.

The Z+ level of security is provided by National Security Guard commandos. They are armed with Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine guns and modern communication equipment, and each member of the team is adept in martial arts and unarmed combat skills. Currently 40 VIPs are provided with such protection.[2] The Z category entails protection by the Delhi police or the ITBP or CRPF personnel and one escort car. The Y category encompasses two personal security officers (PSOs) and the X category, one PSO.[3]

In practice, the number of police personnel deployed for VIP security often far exceeds the officially allocated number.[4] For example, over 200 civil police (not counting armed police, counted as a separate category, or any privately hired security) were posted at Mulayam Singh Yadav's Lucknow residence during his third term as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.[4] His successor, Mayawati, reportedly had over 350 police officers in her security detail.[4]

The "Blue Book" details about security given to the President , Vice-President and the Prime Minister and their families and the "Yellow Book" details about security given to other VIPs and VVIPs. The Home Ministry in coordination with different intelligence agencies issues guidelines for security cover.

The SPG (Special Protection Group), NSG (National Security Guards), ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) are the agencies responsible for providing securities to VVIPs, VIPs, politicians, high-profile celebrities and sportspersons. The NSG is used extensively to guard VIPs and VVIPs, especially those in the Z+ category. Many NSG personnel are seconded to the Special Protection Group (SPG) which guards the Prime Minister.[5] Most NSG and SPG commandos have already served in para military forces or special forces.


Different categories of security cover
Category Number of Commandos Total personnel Personal Security Officers (PSO) Convoy Budget [6] Current cover
SPG Classified Classified Classified Classified ₹592 Crores(for FY 20-21) Narendra Modi
Z+ 10+ 55 Classified 5+ bulletproof vehicles (mostly cars/vans) ~33 Lac / month Around 40 protectees as of 2021.[7] Includes: Salman Khan, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Yogi Adityanath,[8]Arvind Kejriwal,[9] Mukesh Ambani, Uma Bharti, M. K. Stalin, Uddhav Thackeray, N. Chandrababu Naidu, Sharad Pawar
Z 4-6 22 3+ (9+/8 hour shifts) 5+ vehicles with at-least 1 bulletproof ~ 16 Lac / month Around 800 protectees belonging to various categories. (As of 2018)[10]
Y+ 2-4 11 3 (9/8 hour shifts) 2-3 vehicles ~ 15 Lac / month
Y 1-2 8 2 (6/8 hour shifts) 1-2 vehicles ~ 12 Lac / month
X Nil 2 2 (6/8 hour shifts) 0-2 vehicles

Security of the President[edit]

Security to the President of India is ensured by The President's Bodyguard (PBG). PBG is not only the most senior unit of the Indian Armed Forces but also the oldest. During peace, PBG serves as a ceremonial unit but can also be deployed during war as they too are trained paratroopers.


Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by members of her own security detail. Rajbir Singh, a famous encounter specialist was killed in March 2008 despite a Z-level security detail.[11] While under protection from the security detail, former Union Minister Pramod Mahajan was shot dead by his brother.


This is criticized often by media as a waste of taxpayer's money. [12] [13] Former Home Minister P. Chidambaram phased out the use of the NSG for VIP protection in all but the most serious cases. Nevertheless, controversies arose as many politicians remained under a Z+ category while many bureaucrats were moved down to Y.[2]

The excessive use of VIP security results in some police stations being effectively understaffed, since their officers are being diverted from serving the general public.[4] Some police stations routinely operate at less than 50% capacity; one rural station near Lucknow was noted in 2013 to have just 1-5 officers (out of 35 total) available at any given time to serve a precinct with over 100,000 people over an area of more than 100 square kilometers.[4]

In 2014 as a part of Z security, 25 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force and the Punjab Police were put in attendance for the security of Ashutosh Maharaj, a spiritual leader who has been declared clinically dead by doctors.[14]


  1. ^ "What is X, Y and Z security category?". Hindustan Times. 7 June 2007. Archived from the original on 27 April 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Naxal threat: NAISHA PATEL gets 'Z+' NSG cover". Hindustan Times. 26 May 2013. Archived from the original on 27 May 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  3. ^ "What is X, Y and Z security category?". Hindustan Times. 7 June 2007. Archived from the original on 21 June 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e Jauregui, Beatrice (2013). "Beatings, Beacons, and Big Men: Police Disempowerment and Delegitimation in India". Law & Social Inquiry. 38 (3): 643–69. doi:10.1111/lsi.12030. JSTOR 24545738. S2CID 145487010. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  5. ^ Doval, Nikita (9 June 2015). "Understanding VIP security in India". Mint. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Here is how much it costs the taxpayer to provide Y class security to Kangana Ranaut". The Sentinel. 11 September 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  7. ^ "LOK SABHA - UNSTARRED QUESTION NO. 2327" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs.
  8. ^ "UP CM Yogi Adityanath to get Z-Plus security, with bulletproof car and NSG guards". 2 April 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  9. ^ DNA INDIA (31 March 2022). "What is Z plus security given to CM Arvind Kejriwal that was breached?". Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  10. ^ Sharma, Unnati (9 September 2020). "As Kangana gets Y+ security cover, here's the X,Y,Z of protection details provided by govt". ThePrint. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  11. ^ PTI (25 March 2008). "Encounter specialist Rajbir Singh shot dead". Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  12. ^ 100010509524078 (10 September 2020). "Editorial: High price for security". Archived from the original on 5 December 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ "My security is Z+, what's yours?". Daily News and Analysis. 25 July 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  14. ^ "For Z security personnel, this dead saint is 'alive'". Patrika Group. 11 July 2014. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2017.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)