'No large I-Day gatherings; honour Covid-19 warriors'
New Delhi: The Centre has asked all states to avoid large congregation, ensure social distancing and webcast the Independence Day events as the Novel Coronavirus cases continue to spiral unabated.
In an advisory, the Home Ministry said COVID-19 warriors like doctors, health and sanitation workers should be invited in the ceremony as a recognition of their noble service in the fight against the pandemic. It said some people who recovered from the infection might also be invited.
"Therefore, all programmes should be organised in a way that large congregation of people is avoided and technology is used in a best possible manner for celebration befitting the occasion," the advisory said.
The events organised could be webcast in order to reach out people at large, who are not able to participate, it said.
The ministry said it would be appropriate that the theme of 'Aatma Nirbhar Bharat', announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a self-reliant India, was suitably spread and publicised through various activities and messages in the functions and on social media during the Independence Day celebrations.
Every year, the Independence Day is celebrated with grandeur, gaiety, fervour and enthusiasm. This year also, the Independence Day will be celebrated in a manner befitting the occasion, it said. On Friday, India's COVID-19 tally rose to 12,87,945 and the death toll mounted to 30,601.
In its advisory, the Home Ministry said it was imperative to follow certain preventive measures while organising various programmes or activities for the Independence Day celebrations amid the pandemic.
The measures include maintaining social distancing, wearing of masks, proper sanitisation, avoiding large congregations, protecting vulnerable persons and follow all COVID-19 guidelines issued by the ministries of health and home, it said.
The event in Delhi's Red Fort shall consist of a guard of honour by the armed forces and the Delhi Police to the prime minister, unfurling of the national flag and firing of the 21-gun salute, speech by the prime minister, singing of the national anthem immediately after the speech and release of tricoloured balloons at the end.
The 'At Home' reception will be conducted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The home ministry said certain guidelines had been prescribed for celebrations of the Independence Day at different levels in the states and Union territories.
At the state level, a ceremony in the morning (after 9 am) in the state and Union territory capitals, consisting of unfurling of the national flag by the chief minister, playing of the national anthem, presentation of guard of honour by the police, including paramilitary forces, home guards, NCC, scouts, speech by the chief minister; and singing of the national anthem.
"It would also be appropriate that COVID-19 warriors like doctors, health workers, sanitation workers are invited in the ceremony as a recognition of their noble service in fight against Covid-19 Pandemic," the advisory said. "Some persons cured from COVID-19 infection may also be invited." A similar ceremony as mentioned for the state level should also be held at the district, sub-division or block level and panchayat headquarters or large villages.
The national flag at the district level level can be hoisted by a state minister or district magistrate, at the sub-division level by a sub divisional magistrate and at the panchayat level by the head of the panchayat or village head. As regards to holding of 'At Home' reception at Raj Bhawan and Raj Niwas by the governor and lieutenant governor, the matter is left to the discretion of the governors and lieutenant governors.
However preventive measures like maintaining social distancing, wearing of masks, proper sanitisation, avoiding large congregations, protecting vulnerable groups and other measures as prescribed and recommended by the Health Ministry should be followed.
Performance of police and military bands may be recorded at places of historic importance associated with Independence movement; and recorded versions thereof may be displayed through large screens and digital media, during public functions and on social media, the advisory said.