Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead the nation in marking the 77th Independence Day as the stage is set for celebrations at the historic Red Fort on August 15.
Around 1,800 people from different vocations, with their spouses, have been invited as "special guests" from across the country to be a part of the celebrations at the Red Fort, the defence ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
Modi will unfurl the national flag and deliver the customary address to the nation from the ramparts of the historic monument.
This year's Independence Day will also see culmination of the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', which was launched by the prime minister from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad on March 12, 2021 and will, once again, usher the country into 'Amrit Kaal' with renewed vigour to realise the dream of making India a developed country by 2047, it said.
A large number of guests have been invited as compared to the figures last year.
The invitation to about 1,800 'Special Guests' has been extended in line with the government's vision of 'Jan Bhagidari', the ministry said.
These 'special guests' include over 400 sarpanches of more than 660 vibrant villages; 250 from farmer producer organisations scheme; 50 participants each of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana; 50 Shram Yogis (construction workers) of the Central Vista Project, including the New Parliament Building; 50 each Khadi workers, those involved in construction of border roads, making of Amrit Sarovar and Har Ghar Jal Yojana, as well as 50 each primary school teachers, nurses and fishermen.
Some of these 'special guests' are scheduled to visit the National War Memorial and call on Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt as part of their stay in Delhi, the statement said.
Seventy-five couples from each state and Union Territory, in their traditional attire, have also been invited to witness the ceremony at Red Fort, it said.
Selfie points dedicated to different schemes and initiatives of the government have been installed at 12 locations, including National War Memorial, India Gate, Vijay Chowk, New Delhi Railway Station, Pragati Maidan, Raj Ghat, Jama Masjid Metro Station, Rajiv Chowk Metro Station, Delhi Gate Metro Station, ITO Metro Gate, Naubat Khana and Sheesh Ganj Gurudwara, the ministry added.
As part of the celebrations, an online selfie contest will be conducted by Ministry of Defence on MyGov portal from August 15-20. All official invites have been sent online through aamantran portal, and 17,000 e-invitation cards have been issued through the portal, the statement said.
Upon his arrival at the Red Fort on August 15, the prime minister will be received by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, his deputy Ajay Bhatt and defence secretary Giridhar Aramane, the ministry said.
The defence secretary will introduce the general officer commanding, Delhi Area, Lt Gen Dhiraj Seth to the prime minister, it said.
The GOC, Delhi Area will then conduct the PM to the Saluting Base where a combined Inter-Services and Delhi dolice guard will present general salute to the prime minister.
Thereafter, the prime minister will inspect the guard of honour, the ministry said in the curtain-raiser statement.
The Guard of Honour contingent for the prime minister will consist of one officer and 25 personnel each from the Army, Air Force and the Delhi police and one officer and 24 personnel from the Navy.
The Army is the coordinating service this year. The Guard of Honour will be commanded by Maj Vikas Sangwan, it said.
After inspecting the Guard of Honour, Modi will proceed to the ramparts of the Red Fort where he will be greeted by the defence minister, minister of state for defence, Chief of Defence Staff
Gen Anil Chauhan, Army Chief Manoj Pande, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari.
The GOC, Delhi area will conduct the prime minister to the dais on the ramparts to unfurl the national flag, the statement said.
"After being unfurled, the tricolour will receive a 'Rashtriya Salute'. The Army band, consisting of one JCO and 20 other ranks, will play the National Anthem during the unfurling of the national flag and presenting of the 'Rashtriya Salute'. The Band will be conducted by Naib Subedar Jatinder Singh," it said.
The unfurling of the national flag will be synchronised with the 21-Gun Salute by the valiant gunners of the elite 8,711 Field Battery (Ceremonial), the statement said.
The National Flag Guard comprising five officers and 128 other ranks from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Delhi Police will present 'Rashtriya Salute' at the time of unfurling of the national flag by the prime minister, it added.
As soon as the national flag is unfurled, flower petals will be showered at the venue by two Advanced Light Helicopters Mark-III Dhruv of the Indian Air Force in the Line Astern Formation.
After the showering of flower petals, the prime minister will address the nation.
At the conclusion of the speech, the cadets of National Cadet Corps will sing the National Anthem and 1,100 boy and girl NCC cadets (Army, Navy and Air Force) from different schools across the country will take part in this festival of national fervour, the statement said.
Bleachers have been installed at the Gyan Path, on which the cadets would be seated in official white dress, it added.
In addition, NCC cadets in uniform will be seated at the Gyan Path as part of the celebrations. Another highlight would be the G20 logo, which will be part of the floral decorations at the Red Fort, the ministry said.