Security Cover As Status Symbol

It’s admittedly weird. But, for many Indians, the level of security provided by the state is a prestige issue, to be worn like a badge of honour.
The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary, in a written reply to a question by Om Birla in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, July 22, 2014, gave details of people provided varying levels of security by the Central government. Here are the details provided by the minister:
“Z+” category – 31 
“Z” category – 77 
“Y” category – 136 
“X” category – 31 
Total – 275 
I feel that the number of people provided “Z+” cover at 31 seems to be quite high. I wish the government discloses who these people are and places its “assessment-of-threat” in the public space. I don’t want to sound too indelicate, nor question the security cover provided to the President, the Vice-President or the Prime Minister; but it’s my gut feeling that many have been provided “Z+” as a mark of honour, to provide them with a higher perch on the slippery social totem pole. 
People’s representatives: Former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav (above) and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati; (pix courtesy Reuters & Livemint) 
In recent times, Manohar Bhagwat, chief of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (with the official title of “Sarsanghchalak”), was provided “Z+” cover based on an fresh risk assessment. 
Ordinarily, “law and order” is a state subject, according to the federalism formula provided in the Constitution. But, the Centre also makes its own assessment and also provides security cover, based on “…assessment of threat to some individuals. The security provided is subject to periodic review, based on which security is continued/ withdrawn/ downgraded/upgraded. Thus the number of protected in the Central List varies from time to time.”
And, the cost? This what the home minister’s statement in Lok Sabha said, “…(it) is difficult to determine precisely as it would include salary and allowances to security personnel, communication, transport vehicles etc. which are acco
unted for under respective budget heads of different security agencies, including State Government agencies, involved in providing security cover. Such details are not compiled centrally and so cannot be provided.” 

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