On I-Day, invite COVID warriors to function: Centre tells states

Centre asks states to webcast Independence Day celebrations and ensure people follow social distancing and wear masks at events

The unfurling of National Flag by the prime minister at Red Fort will be held as usual. Photo: iStock

The Centre has instructed all states to avoid large gathering and make optimum use of technology to webcast events related to Independence Day celebrations.

In an advisory to state chief secretaries, the Home Ministry said those participating in Independence Day celebrations should ensure social distancing and wear masks.

“It is imperative to follow certain preventive measures such as maintaining social distancing, wearing of masks, proper sanitisation, avoiding large congregations, protecting vulnerable persons etc. and follow all guidelines related to COVID-19 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs of Health and Family Welfare,” the advisory said.

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“Therefore, all programmes should be organised in a way that large congregation of people is avoided and technology is used in the best possible manner for celebration befitting the occasion,” the statement read.

It said the ceremony by Red Fort will consist of a presentation of Guard of Honour by the Armed Forces and the Delhi Police to the Prime Minister, followed by the unfurling of the National Flag and the playing of the National Anthem. It will be followed by a 21-gun salute, and the speech by the Prime Minister. An “at home” reception will be held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

While laying stress on minimal participation of people at the flag hoisting ceremony by chief ministers in state capitals, the advisory, however, said that COVID-19 warriors like doctors, health and sanitation workers should be invited to 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.

The Centre directed all administrations to ensure that the National Flag is hoisted all at state capitals, districts, blocks, and panchayats.

The statement also said the performances of police/military bands could be recorded at places of historic importance associated with the Independence movement, and the recordings could be displayed through large screens or digital media during public functions, and on social media.

The statement mentioned other activities that could take place on Independence Day, including planting of trees, inter-school/inter-college debates on digital platforms, online quiz contests, patriotic essay-writing and poetry competitions, singing patriotic songs/delivering patriotic speeches by select boys and girls on the social media.

“Other innovative ways to celebrate the Independence Day may be considered, like propagating patriotic or national integration messages/songs through digital and social media platforms, sound shows/lighting of important public buildings, waving of National Flags by people at rooftops/balconies, etc.” the statement noted.

Other activities mentioned included illumination of government buildings/state Bhawans, thematic webinars, online campaigns by NSS and NYKS on patriotic themes, or any other activity deemed appropriate by the State Government/Union Territory Administration befitting the occasion.

The statement also said important schemes too could be launched as a way of highlighting the Independence Day.

It concluded on the note that it would be appropriate that the theme of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat is suitably spread” and publicised amongst the masses through various activities/messages during functions and on social media during Independence Day celebrations.

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