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Last Updated : Aug 14, 2020 11:27 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

74th Independence Day: How August 15 will be celebrated this year amid COVID-19

Like every year, the celebration will take place amid multi-layered security arrangements, but this year there will be a mandatory adherence to social distancing norms due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unfurl the national flag and deliver a speech at the Red Fort in Delhi to mark India's 74th Independence Day on August 15. However, the celebration will be different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Like every year, the celebration will take place amid multi-layered security arrangements, but this year there will be a mandatory adherence to social distancing norms and hand sanitisation, considering the contagion.

What will be the itinerary of Independence Day 2020 in Delhi?

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The Independence Day celebration at the Red Fort shall consist of:

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> A guard of honour by the armed forces and the Delhi Police to Prime Minister Modi;
> Unfurling of the national flag and firing of the 21-gun salute;
> Prime Minister Modi's address;
> Singing of the national anthem immediately after his speech; and

> Release of tricoloured balloons.

How the I-Day 2020 celebration differs from previous years?

The ceremony held on the 74th Independence Day will be a curtailed affair this year with strict physical distancing norms and hand sanitisation amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what will be different this year:

> In a break from traditions, only senior union ministers will be reportedly present on stage along with PM Modi.
> All other Cabinet ministers would be seated in a separate enclosure below the upper dais. Other dignitaries such as judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts and Secretary-level bureaucrats would also have separate enclosures.
> ‘Corona warriors’ such as doctors and healthcare professionals have been invited and would have a dedicated seating area.

> To maintain social distancing, the guest list has reportedly been cut down considerably.

How protocols of the ceremony have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

> The Delhi Police has advised invitees to refrain from attending the event it if they experienced any COVID-19 symptom in the last two weeks and did not go for a test.
> The police have requested invitees to follow coronavirus-related guidelines issued by the home and health ministries during the Independence Day celebrations.
> Over 350 Delhi Police personnel, who will be part of the guard of honour, have been quarantined as a precautionary measure. These personnel are of the force of all ranks -- from constable to deputy commissioner of police -- have been quarantined at a newly built police colony in Delhi Cantonment.

> Usually at least 40 police personnel are ferried in a vehicle to parade rehearsals. But this year, owing to COVID-19, only 20 personnel are reportedly being ferried in a sanitised vehicle with strict adherence to social distancing norms.

What are the security arrangements on I-Day 2020 in Delhi?

Multilayered security arrangements are in place for the 74th Independence Day celebrations at the Mughal-era Red Fort this year. Take a look:

> A security ring, including NSG snipers, elite SWAT commandos and kite catchers, will be placed around the Red Fort from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation.
> Over 300 cameras have been installed for security and their footage is being monitored round the clock, police said. There will be around 4,000 security personnel at the Red Fort and they will stand in adherence with social distancing norms.
> The security in and around railways stations has also been intensified a couple of days ahead of the Independence Day.
> The Red Fort has already been closed for the public ahead of the Independence Day celebrations.
> The Delhi Traffic Police have issued an advisory for the function at the Red Fort to ensure safe and smooth flow of vehicles across the city. Eight roads -- Netaji Subhash Marg, Lothian Road, SP Mukherjee Marg, Chandni Chowk Road, Nishad Raj Marg, Esplanade Road and its Link Road to Netaji Subhash Marg, Ring Road from Rajghat to ISBT and Outer Ring Road from ISBT to IP flyover -- will be closed for the general public from 4 am to 10 am.

>  Flying of sub-conventional aerial platforms like para-gliders, para-motors, hang gliders, UAVs, microlight aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft, hot air balloons, small size powered aircraft, quadcopters or para-jumping from aircraft, etc. are prohibited over the jurisdiction of National Capital Territory of Delhi up to August 15.

A full-dress rehearsal of the 74th Independence Day celebrations was held at the Red Fort on August 13, in which personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force marched across the Mughal-era structure.

(With inputs from PTI)
First Published on Aug 14, 2020 11:27 am
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