Explained: What is Flag Code of India, the amendments and the controversy around it?

Amendments to the Flag Code of India of 2022: As India prepares to celebrate its 75th Independence Day on August 15, a debate is raging over the changes made by the Centre to the Flag Code of India of 2002. The Flag Code of India, which went into effect on January 26, 2002, serves as a comprehensive framework that unifies all laws, customs, guidelines, and directions for the usage, exhibition, and hoisting of the Indian national flag.

What does India’s flag code mean?

The Flag Code of India 2002, which is divided into three sections, offers general information on the National Flag, how it should be displayed by members of the public, businesses, educational institutions, etc., as well as how the federal and state governments and their agencies should use it.

Flag Code of India

Following the dignity and honor of the Tricolor, the National Flag may be flown on all days and occasions by a representative of the public, a private organization, or an educational institution.

The Flag Code of India of 2002 begins with the following clause: “There shall be no restriction on the display of the National Flag by Members of the General Public, Private Organizations, Educational Institutions, etc., except to the extent provided in the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1950 and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act 1971… “
What modifications has the Center made?

The Flag Code of India, 2002 was revised on December 30 by the Center to permit the creation and use of machine-made and polyester National Flags. Earlier, the Code did not permit them. According to the modified flag code, national flags made of cotton, polyester, wool, silk, or khadi bunting may also be used. They may also be hand-spun, hand-woven, or machine-made.

Another change on July 20, 2022, permitted the National Flag to fly both during the day and at night as long as it was exhibited in the open or in a public figure’s home. The Tricolour could only be flown under previous regulations between sunrise and sundown.

Why did the Center change the Indian Flag Code?

Before the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, in which the government urged people to raise the Tricolor at their homes to commemorate the 75th Independence Day, the flag code was amended. Before India’s 75th Independence Day on August 15, the government claims it would use this program to reach out to more than 20 crore homes across India.

The government believes that changing the flag code will enable the general public to access and purchase the National Flag readily.

Why are the changes to the Indian Flag Code controversial?

Congress has criticized the change made in December 2021 to enable the use of machine-made and polyester flags because it thinks the Centre has encouraged the import of Chinese-made Indian flags by allowing the import of polyester flags.

Along with the Opposition, some activists and Khadi weavers have started a protest against the modification proposed by the Center. For instance, the Karnataka Khadi Gramudyog Samyukta Sangha (KKGSS) has suspended operations in response to the modification and has called for a general outcry.

Following the change, the KKGSS, the department that spins the cloth used to produce the National Flag, reports a sharp decline in the number of orders it has received. The facility, which asserts to be the sole Khadi unit for the fabric used to produce the Tricolor that has received BIS approval, has also written to the Prime Minister to raise the Center’s attention to their predicament as a result of the adjustment proposed by the Centre.

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