Who Gets Central Government Security, And Who Pays For It?

  • Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut has been accorded Y-plus category of CRPF security by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the wake of her spat with Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, and after she said she feared for her life.
  • Eleven commandos have been tasked with protecting Ranaut. Two of the commandos will provide her with mobile security, while one will guard her residence at all times across the country.

       So anyone who is threatened, and who expresses a threat to their life, will get central government protection?

  • No, they won’t. This protection is informally called “VIP security”, and it is generally given only to someone who holds a position of consequence either in the government or in civil society.
  • The Centre is generally reluctant to liberally give protection to individuals, and a large number of even “important people” whose lives have been found to have been in danger, are provided security by state police, based on assessments of the threat made by the state government concerned.

       In cases where the central government does decide to extend security to an individual, who decides the level of       protection that is to be given?

  • The level of security needed by any individual is decided by the MHA, based on inputs received from intelligence agencies which include the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).
  • The agencies mostly provide a subjective measure of the threat to life or injury to a person from terrorists or any other group, based on information generated from their sources.
  • The information can include intercepts of phone conversations, human intelligence, or a credible analysis of an open threat.

       What are the various levels of protection extended to individuals by the governments at the Centre and the states?

  • There are broadly six categories of security cover: X, Y, Y-plus, Z, Z-plus, and SPG (Special Protection Group).
  • While the SPG is meant only for the PM and his immediate family, other protection categories can be provided to anyone about whom the Centre or state governments have inputs of a threat.
  • The number of personnel guarding the protectee differ from category to category.
  • The X category is the most basic level of protection.
  • The X category on average entails just one gunman protecting the individual.
  • The Y category has one gunman for mobile security, and one (plus four on rotation) for static security.
  • Y-plus has two gunmen (plus four on rotation) for mobile security, and one (plus four on rotation) for residence security.
  • Z has six gunmen for mobile security and two (plus 8) for residence security.
  • Z-plus protectees have 10 security personnel for mobile security, and two (plus 8) for residence security.
  • There are various kinds of security cover even within these levels. These include security of residence, mobile security, office security, and inter-state security.
  • For VIPs other than the PM, the government has mandated the National Security Guard (NSG), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to provide security cover.

       And who pays for the cost of the security cover?

  • Anyone to whom the government provides security after assessment by intelligence agencies, gets the protection for free.
  • However, the government can choose to charge a private individual for their security cover even after assessing a threat to them.
  • Thus, industrialist Mukesh Ambani was provided Z category CRPF cover in 2013 after the IB assessed there was a threat to his life.
  • However, in its order, the government asked the CRPF to charge Ambani Rs 15 lakh per month for the cover.