December 7 is celebrated as Armed Forces Flag Day in India, ever since an immediate need was felt after independence, to manage the welfare of the country’s defence personnel – the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. A committee was set up under the defence minister on August 28, 1949, where it was decided to observe a Flag Day annually on December 7.

In an attempt to honour the martyrs as well as men and women in uniform, the day is celebrated to act as a reminder of our obligation towards the veterans, disabled soldiers, war widows and dependents of those who have laid down their lives for the safety, honour and integrity of the motherland. These are the people who valiantly hold down the fort for us and safeguard the country’s honour, bearing the extremities at the borders.

Every year, on this day, small flags and car flags, in red, deep blue and light blue colours representing the three Services, are distributed to the general population in return for donations. A variety of shows, carnivals, dramas and other entertainment programmes are held by the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy, to showcase to the general public, all the efforts our personnel put in to ensure national security.

Significance

This day, the armed forces are memorialised and as we salute them, we remember to pay our tributes to those martyred in the noble cause of serving the country. However, our admiration for the martyrs should not mean that we spare little time or lax in contributing our bit for the heroes, who were wounded while doing their duty towards their motherland, or their widows and children, whom they left behind to fend for themselves.

Many lives are lost in combats at the border and many personnel are left disabled. While some need rehabilitation, others including ex-servicemen suffer from serious diseases such as cancer, heart ailments and joint replacement and cannot afford the high cost of treatment. Also, every year, about 60,000 defense personnel are compulsorily retired.

In the light of all the assistance these servicemen need, every year on December 7, the country comes to the forefront to generate awareness about the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF) and encourage people to contribute generously. The funds collected and the amount made through buying of flags or contributions through cashless payment methods set up on the day, are used for the welfare of serving personnel and ex-servicemen and also to rehabilitate battle casualities.

How We Can Contribute

For all the sacrifices that the armed forces make or made for us, today is when we get a chance to reciprocate with a little gesture.

Several cashless payment methods have been set up and made available. We can send our contributions via PayTM number ‘8800462175’ and UPI code: armedforcesflagdayfund@sbi. To contribute using Credit/Debit Card or Net Banking log on to ksb.gov.in/armed-forces-flag-day-fund.htm

Organised by both the official and non-official voluntary organisations, the fund collection throughout the country, is managed by local arms of the Kendriya Sainik Board, which is part of the Ministry of Defence.

The contribution to the AFFDF is income tax exempted under section 80(G). Hence, contributions made to the fund are eligible for deduction under section 80G and the same can be claimed by submitting the details at the time of filing Income Tax return.

This year the Ministry of Defence planned to run a programme which has been in effect from November 01, 2018 and would continue till December 31, 2018. As per the programme, we can show our sense of pride by wearing the flag, representing the three defence services, from November 01, 2018 to December 31, 2018. These flags are available at all Government offices. Alternatively, printable version of the flags can be downloaded from www.ksb.gov.in.