The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday issued instructions to the States and Union Territories for following necessary preventive measures while organising the Independence Day celebrations on August 15 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It would be appropriate that the theme of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ is suitably spread and publicised amongst the masses through various activities/messages in the functions and on social media during Independence Day celebrations,” said the Home Ministry letter to the authorities concerned.
The Ministry said the Independence Day would be celebrated in a manner befitting the occasion, but it was imperative to follow measures like social distancing, wearing masks, proper sanitisation, protecting vulnerable persons and adhering to the Health Ministry’s guidelines.
All programmes should be organised in a way that large congregations were avoided and technology was used in the best possible manner. The events could be web-cast, it said.
The ceremony at Red Fort in Delhi would include the presentation of the Guard of Honour by the Armed Forces and the Delhi Police to the Prime Minister; unfurling of the National Flag accompanied by playing of the National Anthem and firing of the 21-gun salute; showering of flower petals by Air Force helicopters; the Prime Minister’s speech; singing of the National Anthem; and the release of tri-coloured balloons at the end.
The “At Home” reception would be held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Certain guidelines have also been prescribed for celebrations at different levels in the States and Union Territories. “It would also be appropriate that COVID-19 warriors like doctors, health workers, sanitation workers, etc., are invited in the ceremony as recognition of their noble service in fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Some persons cured from COVID-19 infection may also be invited,” said the Ministry.
With regard to the “At Home” reception at Raj Bhawan/Raj Niwas, the matter has been left to their discretion of Governors and Lieutenant-Governors. However, in view of the pandemic, the Ministry has advised implementation of preventive measures.
“Performance of police/military bands may be recorded at places of historic importance associated with Independence movement; and recorded versions thereof may be displayed through large screens/digital media, during public functions and on social media,” it said.