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7th of December 1949, the Armed Force Flag Day

Since the 7th of December 1949, the Armed Forces Flag Day has been observed in India, annually. This one day is dedicated towards collection of funds from the citizens of India for the welfare of the ‘Indian Armed Forces personnel’. It has become a tradition to pay respect to the people who have served in the army, Navy and Airforce, on this day.

“The idea behind observing a Flag Day was to distribute small flags to the general population and in return collect donations.” The color-scheme of the flag is very similar to the ones used by fellow Commonwealth members like Cyprus, Kenya and Nigeria. The Flag Day signifies that it is the responsibility of the citizens of India to take care of the families and dependents of the armed forces personnel who fight for the country.

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A need for such a day was realized by the Government after India gained Independence from the British rule. In order to manage the welfare of its defence personnel, the Defence Minister of India and a committee together decided to recognize 7th December as the Flag Day. This decision was taken on the 28th of August 1949.

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The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated the day saying that,

“A few weeks ago, I visited Indo-China and saw our officers and men attached to the International Commission there. It gave me a thrill to see their smart bearing and the good work they were doing in that distant land. What pleased me still more was their general popularity with the people there. By their efficiency as well as their friendliness, they enhanced the reputation of India. Among them were people from all parts of India. They observed no provincial or other differences amongst themselves. I am sure my countrymen will be pleased to learn of them and would like to indicate their appreciation of these young men who serve our country both here and elsewhere so well. A way to indicate that appreciation is to contribute to the Flag Day Fund.”

Fighter planes making a formation in the sky A need for such a day was realized by the Government after India gained Independence from the British rule.Unsplash

The fund is collected through official and non-official means with the help of voluntary organizations. The Kendriya Sainik Board, which is under the Ministry of Defence, arranges for the collection of the fund.

The Defence Ministry of India decided to integrate all the related welfare funds into a single unit called the Armed Forces Flag Day fund. The funds that were integrated are:

  • Amalgamated Special Fund for War Bereaved, War Disabled and other ex-Servicemen/Serving Personnel
  • Flag Day Fund
  • St Dunstan's (India) and Kendriya Sainik Board Fund
  • Indian Gorkha Ex-Servicemen's Welfare Fund

The Flag Day signifies that it is the responsibility of the citizens of India to take care of the families and dependents of the armed forces personnel who fight for the country.Unsplash

Problems have to be resolved by and welfare of the ex-servicemen and dependents are mostly settled by the States and the Union Territories, although it was to be a shared responsibility between the Union Government, the State Governments and the governments of the Union Territories. In order to help the Central Government in carrying out this process, there are 32 Rajya Sainik Boards and 392 Zila Sainik Boards. The Kendriya Sainik Board, the Rajya Sainik Board and the Zila Sainik Board are all responsible for the policy formulation and implementation of resettlement and welfare schemes for ex-servicemen, widows and their dependents residing in their respective States or Union Territories or Districts.

(Keywords : armed, forces, flag, india, independance, donation, citizen, army, navy, airforce, tradition, respect, government, state, center, union territory, district, funds.)


Sikandar Ali / Unsplash

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