7th December is observed as the Armed Forces Flag Day, since 1949 throughout the country to honor the martyrs and the men in uniform who valiantly fought on our borders to safeguard the country's honor. There cannot be a nobler cause than laying down ones life for the country.

At the same time, our admiration for the martyrs should not mean that we have little time for the living heroes who were wounded while doing their duty towards their motherland or their widows and children whom they left behind to fend for themselves.

The armed forces flag day derives its inspiration from Armistice Day on 11th of November held in commemoration of first world war. It was named as Poppy Day as poppy souvenirs were operated to benefit the retired soldiers and their relatives. After independence, the Indian Government decided under the special commission of August 28 in 1949 that a Flag Day would be celebrated annually on 7th of December. It is in August 1949 that the then PM Pt Jawaharlal Nehru thought of distributing flags to the general public and collecting funds from them in return for the forces. What signifies flag day is the fact that it is the responsibility of the Indian citizens to take care of the personnel who fight for the country and their dependents. This would aim to collect funds from the common public by selling the flags of India. These funds will be used for well-being of the staff of armed forces. Through this, Indians express their gratitude to the serving and retired soldiers of India and the martyrs by donating towards flag day fund.
The requirement of keeping our Armed Forces young necessitates the release of our service personnel at 35-40 years of age when they are still young, physically fit and have qualities of discipline, drive and leadership. Every year about 60000 Defence personnel are compulsorily retired. Caring for these ex-soldiers and their families is therefore a national responsibility. Many brave and gallant heroes from the Armed forces have laid down their lives in the service of the country. Ongoing counter-insurgency operations have also left many broken homes without a breadwinner. Flag Day brings to the forefront our obligation of looking after our disabled comrades-in-arms, widows and dependents of those who have sacrificed their lives for the country. It is for these reasons, we observe the Armed Forces Flag Day.

Significance of the Day: The significance of the Day is brought home through electronic and print media. In some places, Armed Forces formations and units also arrange variety shows, carnivals, dramas and other entertainment programmes. Token Flags and Car Stickers in red, deep blue and light colours, representing the three Services are distributed to the public throughout the country by the Kendriya Sainik Board.

Role of Citizenry:  Government measures at the Centre and the State level alone are inadequate to provide support to the disabled, non-pensioner, old and infirm ESM, their families, war widows and orphaned children. It, therefore, becomes the collective responsibility of each citizen to make his/her unstinted and voluntary contribution towards providing care, support, rehabilitation and financial help to them. The welfare schemes undertaken from the collective contribution is brought out in succeeding paragraphs. On this day the services rendered by personnel of Army, Navy and Air Force are remembered. It is the collective duty of every citizen of our country to ensure rehabilitation and welfare of the dependents of our brave martyrs and disabled personnel. The Flag Day gives us an opportunity to contribute most generously to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. A concerted effort is made on this day to raise collections from the public.

Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF): Kendriya Sainik Board is responsible for administration of AFFDF.The AFFDF is operated by a Managing Committee, headed by Hon'ble Raksha Mantri at the Centre and Hon’ble Governor / Lt Governor at the State / UT level. Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB), an apex body of the Government of India, formulates and operates various welfare and rehabilitation schemes for Ex Servicemen (ESM) and their dependents through a network of 32 Rajya Sainik Boards (RSBs) and 385 Zila Sainik Boards (ZSBs) co-located in the State Capitals and District HQs respectively, across the country. These welfare schemes are funded from Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF) which was instituted vied Gazette of India notification No 5(1) /92/US(WE)/D (Res) dated 13 Apr 1993, by amalgamation of the following into one fund named as "Armed Forces Flag Day Fund".

Kendriya Sainik Board administratively controls AFFDF, which is utilised for providing financial assistance to needy Ex-Servicemen, War widows and their Dependents; and the Institutions involved in rehabilitation of the Ex-Servicemen, War widows and their Dependents. The management of the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund rests with the Managing Committee whose Chairman is Hon’ble Raksha Mantri, Vice Chairman is Hon Raksha Rajya Mantri, and members include three Service Chiefs, Defence Secretary, Secretary, Ex-Servicemen Welfare / MoD and the other senior Central Govt officials. The flag day in India strengthens the cultural bond among the people of India and the staffs of armed forces. This celebration enhances the welfare of the serving personnel of Indian armed forces.

 

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