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Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram (she passed away in December 2016) seen in the front passenger seat of a government vehicle in Bangalore on Sept. 27, 2014. The car can be seen with a red beacon on top. (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — India's officialdom is set to come down a notch.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet announced April 19 that the red beacon lights that announce the presence of a very important person on the road will be taken off the cars of all government officials starting May 1.

For decades, the blinking red light atop government cars has been the bane for millions of regular Indians. They're seen as a display of the power and importance of the official riding the car. The cars would run a red traffic light with impunity and cut off regular vehicles at will.

Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari says the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government wanted to abolish the culture of VIPs throwing their weight around and using red beacons and sirens to disrupt traffic.


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