On January 26, 2020, India celebrated its 71st Republic Day. The day honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect i.e. on 26 January 1950. The highlights of the republic day functions are as follows:71st Republic Day Celebrations:

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attended as a chief guest:
The President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations and attended the Parade ceremony at Rajpath in New Delhi along with Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind along with other leaders.  It is the 1st visit of Bolsonaro after assuming his office in January 1, 2019.

Key Points:

i.This is also the 3rd time a Brazilian president attended as a chief guest of the republic day. The last time a Brazilian President attended the ceremony was Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (former Brazilian president) in 2004.

ii.Shri Modi and the Brazilian president signed 15 agreements in areas of oil and gas etc.

2019 chief guest: In the year 2019, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was the chief guest of the 70th Republic Day event.

16 States and UTs along with 6 central ministries participated:
A total of 16 states and Union Territories(UTs) and 6 central ministers participated in the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath in New Delhi. Jammu & Kashmir participated in the parade for the 1st time as a union territory.

Tableaux showcased:
i.Some of the important tableaux(illustrations) during the parade were Start-up India, Jal Jeevan Mission, Financial Inclusion, 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Walled City of Jaipur in Rajasthan and Gujarat’s iconic stepwell in Patan, both UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) world heritage

Captain Tania Shergill led Corps of Signals Contingent:
4th generation army officer Captain Tania Shergill (26 years) who became the 1st woman officer as Parade Adjutant on Army Day Parade (15 January, 2020), led the corps of signals under the motto ‘Teevra Chaukas’ (swift and alert). The parade commander was Lieutenant General Asit Mistry.

Key Points:
i.16 marching contingents from the Armed Forces, Paramilitary Forces, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS) and also 13 Military bands showcased performance in the republic day celebrations.

Dhanush gun system Army Air Defence marching contingent took part for 1st time:
The artillery gun system Dhanush, short-span bridge system and a marching contingent of the Army Air Defence took part for the 1st time in the Republic Day parade.

Key points:

i.Newly-inducted helicopters Apache and Chinook were also showcased by India for the first time.

ii.Apart from the Dhanush gun system, K9-Vajra, the anti-satellite (A-SAT) test conducted under Mission Shakti, and Air Defence Tactical Control Radar (ADTCR) of the DRDO (Defence Research Development Organisation) were also part of the parade.

ASAT from Mission Shakti, ADTCR to be on display during Republic Day parade:
The Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile from Mission Shakti and Air Defence Tactical Control Radar (ADTCR) of the DRDO(Defence Research Development Organisation)was displayed for the 1st time during the republic day ceremony.

Key Points:

i.In March 2019,India successfully tested an anti-satellite missile by shooting down its own decommissioned satellite on a ‘Low Earth Orbit’ at a height of 300-km from the Earth’s surface.

ii.The satellite was destroyed in a “hit to kill” mode. This technology was used for the 1st time in India.

iii.ADTCR: It is used for volumetric surveillance, detection, tracking and friend/foe identification of aerial targets and is capable of detecting very small and low flying targets.

PM Modi paid homage to fallen soldiers at newly-built National War Memorial for first time:
Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi paid homage to the fallen soldiers at the newly-built National War Memorial here on the Republic Day for the 1st time instead of the Amar Jawan Jyoti beneath the India Gate arch in New Delhi. The national war memorial in the India Gate complex behind the canopy was inaugurated by Shri Modi on February 25 2019.

Key Points:
Amar Jawan Jyoti: It was built in 1971 to commemorate the soldiers martyred in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971.

‘Abide With Me’, the Christian hymn played in republic day:
The Ministry of Defence(MoD) decided to reinstate the Hymn, Abide With Me in the beating retreat ceremony at the republic day celebrations. It was also Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn. The Christian hymn has been played as the concluding piece of the Beating Retreat ceremony on January 29 every year at Vijay Chowk, since 1950.

Key Points:
i.The hymn was written in the 19th century by Scottish poet Henry Francis Lyte and was composed by William Henry Mon.

Honours during the function:

Jeevan Raksha Padak series of awards 2019:
The President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind, approved the conferment of Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of Awards-2019 on 54 persons on the republic day occasion. 5 awards were posthumously given. The series of awards under the jeevan Raksha Padak include:

  • Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak. (awarded to 7 persons).
  • Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak (8 persons) and
  • Jeevan Raksha Padak (39 persons).

Key Points:
i.The award is given to a person for his/her meritorious act of human nature in saving the life of a person.

Service Medals/Gallantry Medals awarded:
The maximum gallantry awards were given to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police. They won a total of 108 gallantry medals and were followed by the Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF) for secured 2nd place with 76 medals. The President’s Medals to Fire Service, Home Guard and Civil Defence personnel was given to 104 personnel being awarded Fire Service Medals. The awards given by President include

  • President’s Police Medal for Gallantry (PPMG)- 04 awards
  • Police Medal for Gallantry (PMG)- 286 awards
  • President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service- 93 awards
  • Police Medal for Meritorious Service- 657 awards. Click here to know more

Army’s 15 Corps commander K J S Dhillon awarded UYSM:
Indian Army’s (IA) Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir) based 15 corps commander Lt Gen Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon was awarded with Uttam Yudh Seva Medal (UYSM). He was awarded in recognition of his service to the families in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370(removing special status given to Jammu and Kashmir).

Key Points:
i.K.J.S Dhillon had also launched ‘Operation Maa’ initiative in which Dhillon and his field commanders engaged in helping the children who joined terrorist groups.

Indian Navy’s Comm Jyotin Raina awarded Nao Sena Medal:
Indian Navy’s commodore Jyotin Raina was awarded the Nao Sena Medal (gallantry) for his operational preparedness post the Pulwama terrorist attack in February 2019. Raina is the current Fleet Operations Officer of the Navy’s Western Fleet.

Key Points:
i.At least 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF) were killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14, 2019 when a suicide bomber of the JeM(Jaish-e-Mohammed) terrorist group rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into their bus.

6 Army personnel awarded Shaurya Chakra & 2 pilots get Vayu Sena medals:
6 Shaurya Chakras, total of 151 sena medals, 8 Yudh Seva Medals were awarded in the republic day ceremony. 19 Indian Army officers, including Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, have been awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal.

Awardees:

i.Shaurya Chakra: Naib Subedar Sombir who fought against terrorists in an operation in Jammu and Kashmir was awarded Shaurya Chakra Posthumously. Lt. Col Jyoti Lama, Maj. Konjenbham Bijendra Singh, Naib Subedhar Narender Singh, Naik Naresh Kumar and Karmdeo Oraon were also the recipients of the Shaurya Chakra award.

ii.Vayu Sena medal: Squadron Leaders Ninad Mandavgane and Siddharth Vashisht were awarded Vayu Sena awards. These 2 pilots who were killed in the friendly fire from Mi17 V5 helicopter in February 2019.

iii.Sena Medal: Sena Medals (gallantry) were posthumously given to Havildar Baljeet, Naik Sandeep, Naik Buta Singh, Naik Kuldeep Singh and Rifleman Anil Kumar Jaiswal

Key Points:
i.President Ram Nath Kovind approved, 5 Nao Sena Medals (gallantry), 4 Bar to Sena Medals (devotion to duty), 36 Sena Medals (devotion to duty), 8 Nao Sena Medals (devotion to duty), 1 Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (devotion to duty) and 13 Vayu Sena Medals (devotion to duty).

IAF adjudged best marching contingent among 3 services and CISF first among paramilitary forces at R-Day parade
The marching contingent of the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been adjudged the first among the marching contingents of the three services, while the Central Industrial Security Force has bagged the first prize among paramilitary forces. Flight Lieutenant Shrikant Sharma led the contingent of the Indian Air Force comprising of 144 air warriors. The CISF contingent consisting of 148 personnel was led by Deputy Commandant Prabh Simran Singh.

About Republic day:

Fact1- After India’s independence from the British rule on 15th August 1947, India was headed by King George VI until the constitution of India came into force on 26th January 1950.

Fact2- On this day, India was declared as a democratic republic nation and Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as its first president.

Fact3- On 29th August, 1947 passing one resolution the Constituent Assembly appointed a ‘Drafting Committee” with the seven members headed by Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar for preparing a draft of the Constitution of independent India. Dr. Ambedkar also known as Babasaheb Ambedkar,is called as the father of the Indian Constitution.