republic day-1642502196009
Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) contingent march past during the rehearsal for the Republic Day Parade, at Vijay Chowk, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Image Credit: ANI

New Delhi: For the first time, the list of invitees to Republic Day celebrations includes autorickshaw drivers, construction workers, sanitation workers and frontline workers.

A senior Ministry of Defence official said that a special effort has been made to give opportunity who never get a chance to see the Republic Day celebration. This year people from all walks of life have been invited to Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the number of visitors to be substantially curtailed this year. We are looking at a range of 5,000 to 8,000 people but we have not yet finalised that. Last year, 25,000 visitors had taken part in it, he added.

For the safety of visitors, only double-vaccinated invitees are allowed. And in the enclosures, they request guests to maintain six-feet distance, wear masks and follow other Covid protocols. All guests will be thermally screened and medical support will be available in a closure, he added.

“We will telecast the Republic Day celebrations on the internet, television and other social media platforms for all viewers. We are encouraging people to be a part of the celebration from home,” he added.

Ten large LED screens have been installed on each side of the Rajpath for guests to have a better view of live performances in the event.

“The celebration will begin at 10.30am which is 30 minutes delay of its scheduled time. The delay has been done to ensure better visibility during flypast performances,” he said.

Before the parade begins, a band of Central Armed Police Forces will perform to build an atmosphere of patriotism.

“Total 75 aircraft will participate in flypast this year to mark 75 years of Independence. For the first time, visitors will get a glimpse of some unseen visuals from the cockpit of fighter planes performing manoeuvres on Republic Day,” he said. Tableaus of 12 states and Union Territories and nine Ministries will participate in the event.

The requests from West Bengal and Tamil Nadu to reconsider the inclusion of their tableaux in the Republic Day parade can not be revisited. They have been informed about the reasons (of their non-inclusion), said Senior Defence Ministry officials

The invitation cards have been specially designed that has been sent to invitees. The cards have medicinal seeds in them.

“We request guests to show the card in a flower pot or the garden after the event. It contains seeds of Ashwagandha, Alovera, and Amla,” he added.

Earlier, colleges or schools used to perform a cultural dance during the event but this year a nationwide competition was held to encourage more artists to participate in the event.

“We held ‘Bande Bharatam’ competition by Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Culture. At the districts level total of 3870 artists participated and after state, zonal and national competition, finally, 600 artists were selected who will perform at Rajpath on Republic Day,” he added.

The Rajpath that has been redeveloped under Central Vista has been opened between Vijay Chowk and India Gate for Republic Day celebration.