Armed Forces Flag Day and its Significance

Since 1949, 7th December is observed as the Armed Forces Flag Day 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.

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.

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. 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. 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.

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 Rajya Sainik Boards (RSBs) and 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".

  • Amalgamated Special Fund for war bereaved, war disabled and other ESM/serving personnel
  • Armed Forces Flag Day Fund
  • St.Dunstan's (India) and Kendriya Sainik Board Fund
  • Indian Gorkha Ex-Servicemen's Welfare 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.

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