New Delhi, Dec 30 (PTI) The Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath next month are likely to witness a number of changes including smaller marching contingents, shorter distance for the parade and fewer spectators compared to the previous years in view of the coronavirus pandemic, people familiar with the development said on Wednesday.
Every year, India displays its military might, rich cultural diversity and socio-economic progress during the Republic Day celebrations at the Rajpath -- the city's centrepiece boulevard.
The people cited above said though the overall hue of the Republic Day parade will be maintained, its scale and size will be restricted to an extent in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
India has invited British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the Chief Guest for the Republic Day parade.
The preparations for the celebrations are being made keeping in mind all COVID-19 protocols, said an official.
The people said around 25,000 spectators will be allowed to witness the celebrations as against a normal crowd of around 100,000 people and that children below 15 years of age will not be allowed entry.
Similarly, the size of the marching contingents is likely to be brought down from around 144 in each contingent to around 96.
The parade is likely to be of shorter distance. It will start from Vijay Chowk and end at the National Stadium instead of the Red Fort, the people said.
Sources said over 2,000 Army personnel have arrived in Delhi since late November for Republic Day and Army Day parades and they are being kept in a "safe bubble".
The "safe bubble", created in the Cantonment area, comprises a large number of camps and those selected to stay in them will have almost "zero connectivity" with the outside world till the Republic Day celebrations on January 26 are over, sources said.
The Army Day is celebrated on January 15. Similar arrangements have been made by the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.
Two contingents of the IAF have been selected for the parade and one of them will participate in it.