Under the Defense Minister of India, (in the office) on August 28, 1949; a committee was set up and December 7 was unanimously decided to be observed as International Armed Forces Flag Day, every year. The idea originated out of the immediate need to support army personnel after India had recently become independent. The objective behind it was to rehabilitate the soldiers who have had casualties during the battle, the welfare of soldiers (and the families) currently serving, and the rehabilitation of the retired personnel as well as their families.
To achieve these objectives, small flags were distributed in exchange for a small amount of donation which was collected as Flag Day Fund. The flag used for this purpose is similar to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of defense. It is a horizontally tri-colored flag in the order: red, blue, sky blue. The flag depicts a common color scheme of the Commonwealth members. The Commonwealth refers to the former colonies of the British and has 54 members, including India.
With time, the spirit of this Day arose a mutual feeling of gratitude and national pride among the citizens and the celebration gained popularity. The branches of the armed forces- the Army, the Navy, the Air Force organize various entertainment shows or acts to display their multifaceted talent apart from that on the battlefield. Initially, in 1949 the fund collected for this day was bifurcated as:
- Amalgamated Special Fund for War Bereaved
- Flag Day Fund
- St Dunstan's (India) and Kendriya Sainik Board Fund
- Indian Gorkha Ex-Servicemen's Welfare Fund
Later in 1993, they were collected under the name Flag Day Fund.
Now, the question arises as to how can one donate? The collection is mainly done by the Kendriya Sainik Board and by voluntary donations from official and non-official organizations. Further, on the state and district level, the fund management is done by the Rajya Sainik Boards and the Zila Sainik Boards respectively. These boards aid the Central Government boards as they too have the responsibility to formulate policies and monitor the implementation of resettlement and welfare schemes at a more grassroots level. All the fund is used as per the advice of the Secretary of the Kendriya Sainik Board, which in turn receives a very little amount as a donation from each state.
The Flag Day fund on the whole is just a channel to help out our soldiers. Not everyone can be stationed at the border but we can always help the one already protecting us. The cultural programs organized on this occasion give an outlet to the creative faculty of the soldiers. With such initiatives, they get emotional support from the nation, that their families are well looked after and God forbid if the need be they too will be well taken care of.
It helps the government to manage the need of the soldiers well, builds strong bonds between the citizens and the armed forces of the country, and a genuine donation done by the tax-payer.