President Ram Nath Kovind, in his address, acknowledged the contribution of farmers in making the country self-reliant.

Republic Day 2021 LIVE Updates: Greeting the nation on the eve of India’s 72nd Republic Day, President Ram Nath Kovind, in his address, acknowledged the hardships of farmers and Army, who are working towards contributing to food security and border security. “Every Indian salutes our farmers, who have made our vast & populous country self-reliant in food-grains and dairy products. Despite adversities of nature, numerous other challenges & COVID-19 pandemic, our farmers sustained agricultural production,” he said.

“Similarly, from freezing cold at Siachen and Galwan valley in Ladakh with temperatures as low as -50 to -60°C to scorching heat in Jaisalmer with temperatures as high as 50°C – on land, in the skies and at the vast coastal areas – our warriors are vigilant every moment.” He also said that India faced an expansionist move on its borders. “But our valiant soldiers foiled it. Army, Air Force and Navy are adequately mobilised in well-coordinated manner to thwart any attempt to undermine our security,” he added.

With Covid-19 protocols in place and the protesting farmers’ tractor march scheduled in the national capital, Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi will certainly wear a different look this year. While gravity-defying stunts by motorcycle-borne men will be missing, the spectator size too has been reduced to 25,000 from around 1.25 lakh last year. The parade of children who receive bravery awards will also be missing. Keeping in mind social distancing, the size of marching contingents has been reduced from 144 to 96.  Also, all members of the tableaux contingents from various states, ministries and government departments have undergone Covid testing.

Delhi Police has granted the farmers, protesting against the three contentious farm laws, permission to carry out a tractor parade on January 26 inside Delhi, but with modifications in their planned route and on the condition that they will start only after the completion of the official parade on Rajpath. As per the agreement, the farmers will enter Delhi from all the three borders where thousands of them have been camping for the past two months, but stay in the adjoining areas and not venture towards Central Delhi.

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