Significance of Armed Forces Flag Day
The Armed Forces Flag Day is solemnly observed every year on 07 December. By displaying Armed Forces Flags on this day, the citizens reinforce their solidarity with the Armed Forces for all that they do for the nation in the performance of their onerous duties. This reassures Defence Personnel that the entire nation is with them.
On this day, the country also expresses its gratitude and appreciation by contributing to the “Armed Forces Flag Day Fund” to honour the brave and the martyrs for their supreme sacrifice, as well as to salute the valiant soldiers, sailors and airmen, both serving and veterans.
This fund is utilized for a number of welfare programs instituted by the ‘Kendriya Sainik Board’ at the Centre and the ‘Rajya Sainik Boards’ at the State Level, for the benefit and empowerment of Widows, Disabled Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Ex-Servicemen and their dependents.
Many brave and gallant heroes from the Armed Forces have laid down their lives in the service of the country. Ongoing counter-insurgency operations and “Op Vijay” in Kargil have also left many broken homes without a bread winner. 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.
The Flag Day has now become revered and time-honoured annual feature of our National life.
Prior to Independence, collections for the welfare of Ex-Servicemen used to be organized on “Remembrance Day” on 11 November each year. During World War-1 the soldiers were buried in open areas wherein Poppy flowers grew wild and in plenty. As a symbol of remembrance, on this day, paper Poppies were distributed to the Public, in return for the donations. As this practice became inappropriate after Independence, the Defence Committee of the Cabinet decided in July 1948 that such collections should be organized on a suitable date.
The Defence Minister’s Committee decided on 28 Aug 1949 that from 1949 onwards, the Flag Day would be observed on 07 December each year throughout the country. On this day, citizens display stickers of the Armed Forces Flag on their cars or wear the Flag on their lapel to honour the Forces. Solidarity is expressed by making voluntary contributions to the “Armed Forces Flag Day Fund”.
Observance of the Day
A concerted effort is made on this day to make citizens of the country realize their obligations towards the Armed Forces. The significance of the day is brought home through electronic and print media. At some places, Armed Forces formations and units also arrange variety shows, carnivals, dramas, and other entertainment programs.
Token flags and car flags in red, deep blue and light colours, representing the three services are distributed to the public throughout the country by Kendriya Sainik Board and by the Rajya Sainik Boards in different states.
The State Governments
Funds collected by each State Government are further distributed to their Sainik Boards at Zilla level. These boards grant financial assistance to the needy Ex-Servicemen and the families of those killed and wounded. State Governments utilize the funds for running welfare schemes for Ex-Servicemen and their dependents.
Exemption from Income Tax
Contributions to the Armed Forces Flag Day fund are exempted from Income Tax vide Government of India Ministry of Finance (Revenue Division) New Delhi, Circular C. No.69(12)/IT/54 dated 06 March 1954, and notification number 1536(FN 197/105176-II(A-1) dated 25 Oct 1976.
Those desirous of contributing to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund of the state can deposit their contributions to the below mentioned account and inform to firstname.lastname@example.org
Name of the Account : Armed Forces Flag Day Fund
Account Number : 520101253776798
IFSC Code : UBIN0903418