The government has decided to significantly curtail the number of people who can physically be present at the parade. Until last week, the defence ministry was preparing to accommodate around 24,000 people. That number is likely to be trimmed down to 5,000 to 8,000 guests this year, senior officials said on Tuesday.
The Republic Day parade will begin half an hour later than usual this year. With foggy days predicted around January 26, the parade will start at 10.30 am instead of 10 am for better visibility, the Defence Ministry has decided.
"Since it is being predicted that it will be a foggy morning for a better viewing experience for spectators at the parade, 10 large LED screens - five on each side of Rajpath - will be installed," a senior Defence Ministry official said today.
Curated films combining footage from previous Republic Day Parades, short films on the Armed Forces and stories related to various events in the run-up to the Republic day 2022 will be screened before the parade begins. Later, the screens will beam the parade live.
The guest list and parade have been cut short this year due to Covid. Approximately 24,000 people will be allowed to attend the Republic Day parade this year, because of the Covid situation in Delhi.
"Out of the approximately 24,000 people who will be attending the parade this year, 19,000 are invited and the rest are the general public, who can purchase tickets," sources said.
Last year too, the parade took place amid the Covid pandemic and close to 25,000 people were allowed to attend it.
Like last year, there will be no foreign dignitary as chief guest at the Republic Day parade. Earlier India had invited the leaders of five Central Asian nations — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan — to be chief guests at the event.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar invited the leaders during the third meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue last year.
But after the recent surge in cases, fuelled by the Omicron variant of Covid-19, India decided not to host the leaders.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pulled out of the event last year after the UK was hit by the second wave of the pandemic.
Before the pandemic erupted, in the 2020 parade, around 1.25 lakh people were permitted.
For the second year in a row, the parade may not have any foreign dignitary as chief guest. But a number of firsts are lined up this time.
On January 26, a nationwide flagship programme of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) 'Shaheedon Ko Shat Shat Naman' will be launched as part of 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' to honour the supreme sacrifices of the fallen heroes in defending the Nation.
The family of some 5,000 fallen heroes will be presented with the Plaque of Gratitude by National Cadet Corp members all over the country around the same time as Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi pays homage to soldiers at the National War Memorial in New Delhi.
"This year's Republic Day falls in the 75th year of India's Independence being celebrated as Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. You will see many firsts during the main parade on Rajpath on January 26 as also during the "Beating Retreat" ceremony on January 29," an officer said.
As many as 75 aircraft are set to participate in the traditional fly-past that marks the end of the ceremony. Vintage as well as modern aircraft like Rafale, Sukhoi, Jaguar, Mi-17, Sarang, Apache and Dakota will be showcased. The Fly-Past will witness 15 different formations by these aircraft/helicopters
Security agencies have fortified the areas around Rajpath, the ceremonial road on which the parade takes place, with multilayer security after a bomb was found and defused at the Ghazipur flower market just days before the parade.
"We have installed 300 CCTVs with facial recognition systems to keep an eye on every movement in this area," a senior officer said.
This year, the parade will be held on a new-look Central Vista with changes for the first time to an iconic British-built part of Delhi. The government is racing against time to get the ceremonial road Rajpath partially ready for the annual January 26 show of India's military might and culture.
4 Comments British-style chairs, lights and new pathways connected with storm water drains are ready, officials say, adding that heavy rain in the past few days slowed down the work.