New Delhi: After e-commerce site Amazon was barred from selling products with the Indian Flag on them in January, the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued a fresh directive “to ensure strict compliance of the provisions contained in the Flag Code of India, 2002.”
The home ministry also directed that mass awareness programmes be carried out in order to propagate the importance of the national flag.
“The National Flag represents hopes and aspirations of the people of our country and hence should occupy a position of honour. There is universal affection and respect for, and loyalty to, the National Flag. Yet, a perceptible lack of awareness is often noticed amongst the people as well as organizations and agencies of the government, in regard to laws, practices and conventions that apply to display of the National Flag,” the home ministry directive said.
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Just short of Independence Day, in 2016, the home ministry issued a directive to central government departments and state governments, saying that only flags made of paper were to be used by the public.
Wednesday’s order said the ministry had recorded several cases where norms pertaining to the flag and the safety of the environment had been flouted.
“It has been brought to notice of the MHA that on important events, the National Flags made of plastic are also being used in place of paper Flags. Since, the plastic flags are not biodegradable like paper flags, these do not get decomposed for a long time and ensuring appropriate disposal of National Flags made of plastic commensurate with dignity of the flag, is a practical problem,” the directive added.
A senior home ministry official, on condition of anonymity, said the reiteration of the Flag Code had not come about as a result of any violation but “it is necessary to remind the people of the importance of the national flag and what it represents. So the MHA issues this directive before Independence Day and Republic Day and once in the new year as well.”
The advisory also says that any show of disrespect to the flag would invite a jail term of “up to three years, a fine, or both” under Section 2 of The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971,