Unfazed by the Opposition’s attacks, the government has intensified efforts to get more people to join its ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’campaign (hoisting of flag in every home) from August 13 to 15 to mark Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Sources in the government said that starting from August 1, around 500-750 top celebrities from different fields will start posting on social media platforms about their participation in the campaign and urge people to join in. Between August 13-15, these celebrities would post their pictures with a flag.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had issued a call for Har Ghar Tiranga campaign under the aegis of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to encourage people to bring the tricolour home and hoist it to mark the 75th year of India’s independence.

The Union Ministry of Culture is coordinating the campaign with state governments and a slew of agencies to ensure that in the 75th year of independence, the “hoisting of flag by targeted 20 crore households becomes symbolic of not only an act of personal connection to the Tiranga but also an embodiment of commitment to nation-building”.

To meet the unprecedented demand for the tricolour, the Centre on December 30, 2021 changed the Flag Code of India 2002 that governs the use, display and hoisting of the national flag in the country. The amendment allowed machine-made and polyester flags to be used for the national flag. In the notification, the government had replaced paragraph 1.2 of Part I of the Flag Code with “The National Flag shall be made of hand-spun and handwoven or machine-made, cotton/ polyester/ wool/ silk khadi bunting.”

A senior official in the Ministry of Culture said, “Khadi flag makers do not have the capacity to meet the huge demand for the flags. The entry of polyester material flags would ease the situation. This wouldn’t become an opportunity for Chinese manufactures as India is an exporter of polyester and domestic manufacturers would be in a position to supply the required numbers.”

Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla had earlier written a letter to secretaries of all central ministries and departments that included salient features of the Flag Code, including the changes made on 30 December, 2021 and FAQs about the making and display of the national flag.

The Flag Code of India was further amended through an order issued on July 20, 2022, tweaking the clause (xi) of paragraph 2.2 of Part-II of the Flag Code of India, 2002 to say that “where the Flag is displayed in open or displayed on the house of a member of public, it may be flown day and night”.

With these amendments, a member of the public, a private organisation or an educational institution is allowed to hoist the flag on all days and occasions, ceremonial or otherwise, consistent with dignity and honour of the national flag. Earlier, machine-made and polyester flags were not allowed and it could be displayed from sunrise to sunset irrespective of weather conditions.

A top official in the Ministry of Culture said, “We expect nearly 20 crore of the 26 crore households in the country to become part of the campaign, knowing that some in remote areas may not be in a position to do that .”

Interestingly, since use and upkeep of the national flag is governed by laws, the department of culture is likely to issue a SOP for mass collection and recycling of flags which people may want to give up after August 15. A FAQ is likely to be issued detailing what people can do.

The government is providing a lot of elbow room to the members of the public by softening the clauses of the Flag Code to ensure that hoisting the tricolour between August 13-15 doesn’t become a tedious exercise or invite legal troubles for the participating households. The Indian national flag is governed by the Flag Code of India, 2002 and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and people “found insulting the national flag” can face a prison term of up to three years and a fine for a first offence.

With the amendments, members of the public, educational institutions, organisations, companies and others have to follow the rule of lowering the flag at dusk only if there is a hoisting in the morning. Otherwise, the national tricolour of any size (but adhering to the 3:2 ratio) can be kept up at all times.

To ensure availability of flags, a list of domestic manufacturers, self-help groups and e-commerce companies has been drawn up. The flags can also be purchased from 1.6 lakh post offices across the nation.

Nearly 6-7 crore flags are being supplied to states by the Centre and states are organising another 7 crore from their own sources. The post offices and other outlets will sell the national flag in three sizes. To ensure affordability, the prices of different sized flags have been announced. A 20×30 inch flag would cost 25, 16×24 inch for 18 and 6×9 inch one at 9.

To improve participation of the private sector, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs on Tuesday issued a notification to all its regional directors, registrar of companies and stakeholders. The notification provides a clarification on spending of CSR funds for the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign.

The notification said that “spending of CSR funds for the activities related to this campaign, such as mass scale production and supply of the National Flag, outreach and amplification efforts and other related activities, are eligible CSR activities under item no. (ii) of Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013 pertaining to promotion of education relating to culture.”

The notification asks companies to undertake the “aforesaid activities”, subject to fulfilment of the Companies (CSR Policy) Rules, 2014 and related circulars/ clarifications issued by the ministry from time to time.

To meet the huge demand for national flags, traders’ associations are tying up with textile manufacturers across the country to increase supply. In a press release on Sunday, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had stated that people are already visiting markets in large numbers to buy the tricolour to join the campaign.

To make the campaign inclusive, a special web portal https://rashtragaan.in/ has been created. It has several activities to create a link between the participating members of the public and the government’s campaign. A participant can pin a flag hoisted by them on the website.

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