SIGNIFICANCE OF ARMED FORCES FLAG DAY
1. Since 1949, December 07 is observed as the Armed Forces Flag Day throughout the country to honour the martyrs and the men in uniform who valiantly fought on our borders to safeguard the country's honour. "It is the cause and not merely death that makes the martyrs" once said Napolean Bonaparte. 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.
2. On this day, Dec 07, we observe a two minutes silence at 11 am as a mark of respect to honour the martyrs from the defence services and also to bring to the forefront our obligations towards disabled comrades, widows and dependents of the martyrs and those valiant soldiers.
3. During the course of achieving victories, in the various wars the nation has fought and in combating the ongoing cross-border terrorism and insurgency, our Armed Forces have lost and continue to lose valuable lives as well as leaving quite a few disabled. The trauma that the family suffers on demise of the head of the family is hard to fathom. Those of our men who are disabled require care and rehabilitation so that they do not become a burden on their family and can instead lead a life of dignity. Further more, there are Ex-Servicemen who suffer from serious diseases such as Cancer, Heart ailments and Joint Replacement etc and who cannot afford the high cost of treatment. Hence, they too need our care and support.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. It is for these reasons, we observe the Armed Forces Flag Day. 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.
7. A concerted effort is made on this day to raise collections from the public. 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
8. Government measures at the Centre and 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.
9. Contribution from public is received throughout the year. The fund is operated by Managing Committee, presided over by the Raksha Mantri at the Centre and the Governor/Lt Governor at the State/UT level. Kendriya Sainik Board is responsible for administration of Armed Forces Flag Day Fund.
10. Kendriya Sainik Board has to its credit a number of 'Welfare Schemes' for ex-servicemen, widows and wards of retired Defence Personnel, as under:
(a) Health Care Schemes. Financial assistance for serious diseases such as cancer, heart ailments, renal stroke, prostrate, arterial and total joint replacement.
(b) Educational Schemes.
(i) Construction of 35 War Memorial Hostels across the country and payment of maintenance grant @ Rs 900/-p.m. per child of service personnel killed/disabled in operations is provided by KSB.
(ii) Educational grants to children of Ex-servicemen whose death is not attributable to Military Service, a maintenance grant @ Rs 450/-p.m. per child is provided by KSB.
(c) Rehabilitation of the Disabled.
(i) Grant to Paraplegic Centres at Mohali and Kirkee for rehabilitation of disabled soldiers.
(ii) Grant to 'Cheshire Homes' who look after the Welfare of Ex-servicemen.
(iii) Grant to St Dunstan's After Care organization located at Dehradun for imparting vocational training to blinded Ex-servicemen.
(d) Grants to Institutions Grant to All India Gorkha Ex-servicemen Association, Dehradun to look after welfare of India Gorkha Ex-servicemen and their families.
(e) Raksha Mantri's Discretionary Fund (RMDF). Under this scheme, the financial assistance is provided to the Ex-servicemen (Upto Havaldar and their equivalent in Navy and Air Force), their widows and their dependents as follows:-
(i) Penury Grant for Old and Infirm ESM.
(ii) Medical grant including ESM of Nepali origin living in Nepal.
(iii) House repair grant including orphan daughter.
(iv) Funeral Allowance to widows.
(v) Marriage grant upto two daughters only.
(vi) Educational grant.
(vii) Orphan grant.
11. Contributions to Armed Forces Flag Day Fund Contributions to Armed Forces Flag Day Fund are exempted from Income Tax vide Government of India Notification No. 78/2007 dated 26 Mar 07. Contributions to the Fund are recommended to be sent through account payee cheques payable to "Armed Forces Flag Day Fund" C/O Secretary, Kendriya Sainik Board, Ministry of Defence, West Block IV, Wing-VII, Second Floor, RK Puram, New Delhi110066 or may be deposited directly into the following banks in favour of "ARMED FORCES FLAG DAY FUND" at account no.:-
(a) Oriental Bank of CommerceAlC No. 08902041002185
(b) Induslnd BankAlC No. 0012-B29000-001
(c) Punjab National Bank A/C No. 3083000100179875
Where there is darkness let us bring some light
Where there is despair let us bring some hope
Where there is suffering let us bring some healing