Since 1949, 7th December is observed as the Armed Forces Flag Day every year throughout the country to honour the men in uniform who valiantly fought to safeguard the country against enemies, both at the border and in the hinterland.
Soldiers are one of the greatest assets of any country. They are the guardians of the nation and protect its citizens at all costs. 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 from the demise of a family member is hard to fathom.
It is our duty to not only show our admiration for the martyrs and the living heroes who were wounded while doing their duties but also their families who have been a crucial part of this sacrifice.
Those of our men who are disabled require care and rehabilitation so that they do not become a burden on their family and can lead a life of dignity. In addition, there are Ex-servicemen who suffer from serious diseases such as Cancer, Heart ailments and Joint Replacement, etc., who cannot afford the high cost of treatment.
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 60,000 Defence personnel are compulsorily retired. Caring for these ex-soldiers and their families is, therefore, a national responsibility.
Apart from Government measures at the Centre and the State level, it is the collective duty of every citizen of our country to make his/her unstinted and voluntary contribution towards providing care, support, rehabilitation, and financial aid.
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.
Armed Forces Flag Day Fund
Armed Forces Flag Day gives an opportunity to the nation to contribute generously to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF) was instituted vide Gazette of India notification No 5(1) 92/US(WE)/D(Res) dated 13 Apr 1993. Various welfare and rehabilitation schemes for Ex-Servicemen (ESM) and their dependents are run for the 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 and under section 80 G (5) (vi) of Income Tax Act 1961 vide Director of Income Tax (E) letter No. NQ.DIT (E) | 2010-11/DEL-AE22280-04012011/2186 dated 04 Jan 11.
Corporate contributions to Armed Forces Flag Day Fund are also eligible for fulfilling the CSR obligation under section 135 of Companies Act, 2013 as it adheres to “Measures for the benefit of Armed Forces Veterans, War Widows and their dependents” (Clause VI of Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013).
Kendriya Sainik Board
Kendriya Sainik Board is the apex body of the Govt of India, which formulates policies for Resettlement and Welfare of Ex-Servicemen and their dependents. The Board has Hon’ble Raksha Mantri as its President and other members in the Board, which include Chief-Ministers/Governors of the States, the three Services Chiefs, Senior Govt Officials, retired officers, and retired JCOs. The Board meets regularly to review outstanding issues related to resettlement and welfare of Ex-Servicemen and considers new concessions and schemes.
Kendriya Sainik Board administratively controls AFFDF, which is utilized for providing financial assistance to needy Ex-Servicemen, War widows, and their Dependents; and the Institutions involved in the rehabilitation of the Ex-Servicemen, War widows, and their Dependents.