Friday, April 21, 2017
Why are some people cribbing about ban on red beacons?
All of us -- ok, or most of us -- don't like the so-called VIP culture, which is most visible in the form of red beacons on the vehicles of VIPs, mostly politicians and government functionaries.
On Wednesday, the Union government decided to amend the law regulating motor vehicles. Henceforth, governments, both central and state, can't designate people whose vehicles can have red beacons. No exception, it was stated, very clearly.
Given our near-universal abhorrence towards VIP culture, I thought the decision would be wholeheartedly welcomed. But I was surprised to see some cynical reactions saying this decision was a "meaningless tokenism" when many people were arrogantly flaunting their powers.
I don't know how the decision to ban red beacons can be tokenism. A privilege taken away for ever is not tokenism. It's a substantial deprivation of a perk that the powerful loved to flaunt quite unabashedly.
True, there are many "red beacons", in the form of officials who throw their weight around. That's a behavioral issue, and can't be banned by legislation. Hopefully, deprived of red beacons, they will get the message and would rein in their temperament.
So, can't we look at this abolition of red beacons as one step forward, even if it's a small one?