How to Become a SPG Commando and Join Special Protection Group
How to Become SPG Commando : Established in 1988, the Special Protection Group, commonly known as the SPG, is a highly skilled organization dedicated to offering close security to India’s VIPs. These VIPs typically include both current and former Prime Ministers, as well as their immediate family members.
History of SPG :
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Following the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the government recognized the necessity for establishing a specialized force exclusively tasked with safeguarding current and former Prime Ministers of India, as well as their immediate family members.
Prior to the creation of the SPG, security was previously managed by local police forces, municipal authorities, and various armed forces, but there was a notable lack of coordination among these entities. This security arrangement was referred to as the Special Task Force (STF) and was overseen by the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
Initially, the Special Protection Group (SPG) began with 819 vacant positions, and the Director of the SPG held the rank of an Inspector General of Police.
The SPG was established with a specific focus on safeguarding then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi due to perceived threats in his vicinity. The SPG terminated its protection after Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi lost subsequent elections, which heightened security concerns surrounding him. Following his tragic assassination in 1991, the SPG Act underwent an amendment to extend security coverage to former Prime Ministers and their immediate families.
Initially, the protection for former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members was proposed to be provided for a period of 10 years from the date they left office. This has since been revised to a duration of 1 year, with periodic reviews based on the assessment of threats.
Since then, the primary mission of the SPG has been singular: to protect the Prime Minister and their family.
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Special Protection Group Budget
As per sources, there was a significant rise of approximately 40 percent in the allocation for the Special Protection Group (SPG) in the 1997-98 Union Budget. The allocation for the SPG in the previous budget was Rs. 46 crores, which had increased to Rs. 54.39 crores in the revised estimate for 1996-97. In the 1997-98 budget, Union Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram allocated Rs. 75.59 crores. This increase in funding reflects the heightened demands on the SPG and the expansion of security coverage provided by the SPG.
How are Members of SPG Selected ?
Unlike other security forces, the SPG doesn’t have a separate, dedicated entry pathway. Both senior and junior officers are selected from various sources, including the Indian Police Service (IPS), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Border Security Force (BSF), and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
SPG personnel undergo yearly rotations within the group, with no individual serving for more than one year. Once their tenure is completed, former SPG personnel are reassigned to their respective parent units. The Ministry of Home Affairs compiles a vacancy list and forwards it to these organizations. Subsequently, this list is distributed down the hierarchy to lower-level units, allowing many personnel to apply for various positions within the SPG through this process.
SPG Commandos Selection Procedure
Similar to the SSB (Service Selection Board), the SPG’s selection process includes personal interviews (PI), psychological assessments, and physical tests. In the initial stage of the selection process, a personal interview is conducted by a team of officers, including an IPS officer holding the rank of Inspector General (IG), along with two Deputy IGs and two Assistant IGs. Following the interview, candidates undergo a physical examination, a written test, and a psychological evaluation.
Training of SPG Commandos
Candidates undergo a three-month probation period, during which they are subjected to weekly assessments. Those who do not meet the requirements during this probationary period are given another opportunity in the next batch. If they still fail to meet the standards, they are sent back to their parent unit. SPG members are routinely rotated from one duty assignment to another as part of their regular deployment.
Branches of SPG :
The SPG is primarily organized into four branches:
- Operations: This branch is responsible for actual protection duties. Within the Operations Branch, there are various components, including the Communications Wing, Transport Wing, and Technical Wing.
- Training: This category focuses on personnel training in areas such as physical fitness, marksmanship, anti-sabotage checks, communication, and other operational aspects.
- Intelligence and Tours: This branch is responsible for threat assessment, internal intelligence related to personnel, character and antecedent verification, managing tours, and other related responsibilities.
- Administration: This category handles personnel matters, procurement, and other related administrative functions within the SPG.
Education Qualification , Age Limit and Allowances
To be eligible for a position in the SPG, candidates must meet the following criteria:
- The candidate should be a citizen of India.
- The candidate’s age should not exceed 35 years.
- The candidate should have successfully completed the 12th standard from a recognized board.
- Serving members of the IPS, BSF, ITBP, and CRPF are eligible to apply.
Regarding allowances, SPG members receive 50% of their basic pay. However, members in the administrative section receive an additional hike of 25%.
How Special Protection Group Functions :
Standard operating procedures are established to ensure the protection of the Prime Minister during both domestic and foreign tours. These procedures encompass a wide range of measures, including anti-sabotage checks, venue sanitization, and the coordination of personal security details.
Detailed operational procedures are meticulously defined, specifying various aspects such as the number of personnel accompanying the Prime Minister in the car, at public events, and so forth. The SPG maintains strict control over who is permitted to meet with the Prime Minister.
Moreover, the SPG assumes responsibility for managing the Prime Minister’s incoming phone calls, enabling the Prime Minister to make decisions regarding whom to meet. The SPG’s primary function is to create multiple security rings around the Prime Minister. The innermost ring is dedicated to swiftly evacuating the Prime Minister to safety in the event of an attack, while the second level is typically manned by the SPG Counter Assault Team, responsible for providing cover fire to ensure the Prime Minister’s safe retreat.
Additionally, there may be a third cordon that includes the National Security Guard (NSG), Indian Air Force (IAF), and local security forces, serving to fortify perimeter and aerospace security.
In light of these stringent security measures, contemplating any breach of security is ill-advised.
Frequently Asked Questions :-
1. What is the role of SPG (Special Protection Group) Commandos?
SPG Commandos are responsible for providing close protection to the Prime Minister of India and their immediate family members. Their primary role is to ensure the safety and security of these high-profile individuals. They also provide security during the Prime Minister’s official and personal events, both within India and during foreign visits.
2. How are SPG Commandos selected and trained?
SPG Commandos are selected from various Indian security forces, including the Central Armed Police Forces and the Indian Armed Forces. They undergo a rigorous selection process that includes physical fitness tests, written exams, and interviews. Once selected, they receive specialized training in VIP protection, counter-terrorism, and other security-related skills. This training is conducted at the SPG Training Center in Manesar, Haryana, and is known for its high standards and intensity.
3. Are SPG Commandos only responsible for the Prime Minister’s security?
While the primary duty of SPG Commandos is to protect the Prime Minister and their immediate family, they may also provide security to former Prime Ministers and their family members based on the threat assessment by the government. Additionally, SPG Commandos have occasionally been deployed to secure other high-profile dignitaries and events, such as visiting foreign heads of state or major international summits held in India.