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NEW DELHI: In a bid to usher in a new culture of governance and put an end to VIP culture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to ban red flashing lights on the cars of of ministers, chief ministers, officials and judges. 

Come May 1, even Prime Minister Modi and other ministers will not use beacons or “lal battis” anymore. Only emergency vehicles will be permitted to use blue beacons. As a step to show the way, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari removed the “lal batti” from his own car and told reporters that the Modi government "is a government of common masses and has decided to abolish VIP culture of sirens and beacon lights" 

Later, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that no one at the Centre or in states can announce any exceptions to the new rule.  "Blue lights, used often for the escort car preceding VIPs, will be allowed only for emergency vehicles," he said. 

Mr. Gadkari said the government was of the view that beacons had been perceived by the people as being symbols of VIP culture and have not place in a healthy democratic set up in the country. 

However, vehicles like ambulances, fire service, relief and emergency services will be allowed to have beacons. A detailed notification in this regard will be issued soon by the government. 

Recently, Prime Minister Modi had driven down to the Delhi airport to receive Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and his restricted convoy moved in "normal traffic'' with no restrictions throughout the route from his 7 Lok Kalyan Marg residence to the airport. As per provisions of the Blue Book on VVIP security, police puts up barricades and block route that the top dignitaries take. Often common people have to wait for a long time for normality to be restored on the roads. Many a times ambulances and children rushing to their examination centres have been put to inconvenience. Social media videos of such incidents have evoked anger and resentment from the people.

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