The state general administration department on Monday issued an advisory on the August 15 celebrations, making it clear that large congregations were to be avoided and that it would be imperative for those attending official functions to follow social distancing norms and wear masks.
In place of big assemblies, the department asked district authorities to explore other innovative ways to celebrate, including waving of the National Flag on rooftops and balconies.
With schools and colleges closed, the advisory said that official functions would be limited to divisions, districts and talukas, while mandating the hoisting of the National Flag at all government and semi-government premises.
Acting on directives issued by the Centre, the department said that this year’s celebrations would be themed around ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. It further asked divisional commissioners and collectors to ensure live webcast of official functions. While Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will hoist the Tricolour at Mantralaya in Mumbai at 9.05 am, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari will preside over an official event in Pune. Guardian ministers will do the honours in other districts. In the event that a minister cannot make it to the event, the advisory stated that divisional commissioners will preside over the function.
Apart from freedom fighters and their families, elected representatives, doctors and people who have defeated Covid-19 can be invited to physically participate in official functions.
Other functions that could be taken up during the day include tree plantations, inter-school and inter-college debates on web platforms, online essay and poetry contests, online songs and speeches by selected students and illumination of government buildings, among others.
The government, meanwhile, said that the 15,000 gram panchayats where elections were deferred due to Covid-19 would allow newly-appointed administrators to host the National Flag. Where administrators have not been appointed, freedom fighters would do the honours. The orders were issued by Rural Development Minister Hassan Mushriff on Monday.
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