Independence Day 2020: Ram Nath Kovind to address nation shortly; Doordarshan, AIR to broadcast speech
The country is gearing up for the 74th Independence Day celebrations amid the coronavirus pandemic this year, due to which, the event at Delhi's Red Fort is likely to be 'muted'
President Ram Nath Kovind will address the nation at 7 pm on Friday on the eve of 74th Independence Day, and it will be broadcast on the entire national network of All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan in Hindi, followed by the English version.
The statemented released by the Rashtrapati Bhavan said that Kovind's speech will also be broadcast in regional languages on Doordarshan channels after the Hindi and English versions. "AIR will broadcast regional language versions at 2130 hrs on its respective regional networks," it added.
The country is gearing up for the 74th Independence Day celebrations amid the coronavirus pandemic this year. This year, the event at Delhi's Red Fort is likely to be muted in comparison to previous years, reports said.
On 24 July, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines for the Independence Day celebrations at Delhi's Red Fort and said, "...while organising various programmes or Independence Day celebrations, it is imperative to follow certain preventive measures such as maintaining social distancing, wearing of masks, proper sanitisation, avoiding large congregations, protecting vulnerable people, etc."
Every year, a cultural programme in which children perform is organised at the Independence Day event, but it will not be organised this year.
"More than 2,000 children from various schools used to perform and stand in National Flag formation at the Red Fort ground. The event will either be limited to a few students or cancelled," a Delhi Police official was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
As part of the additional crowd-regulating restrictions, the two grounds on either side of the Red Fort, which are usually open to the public, will also remain closed.
This year, celebrations at the Red Fort on 15 August is likely to consist of only Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech, a 21-gun salute, the National Anthem, and the unfurling of the National Flag, The Hindu reported.
In addition to precautionary measures, the the home ministry also recommended inviting "COVID 'warriors' like doctors, health workers, santisation workers as a recognition of their noble service in the fight against the pandemic."
"Some people cured from COVID-19 may also be invited," the MHA's advisory added. As a break from tradition, school children will not be participating in the event this year.
However, National Cadet Corps members are likely to be a part of it, Hindustan Times reported. The report added that around 1,500 people who have recovered from coronavirus are likely to be "the highlight at the celebrations".
"The corona winners will include around 500 local policemen. The remaining will travel to Delhi from other parts of the country. The defence ministry, which plays a key role in organising the event, has asked the Union home ministry to implement the plan for inviting corona winners for the function," the report added.