Armed Forces Flag Day or Flag Day of India has been celebrated since 1949 and is dedicated towards commemorating the valour of servicemen as well as collecting welfare funds from the citizens of India to assist the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen in need as well as aid the widows and dependents of martyrs.
After India attained independence, the government felt the need to constitute a welfare fund to take care of the defence personnel. Hence, a committee was set up on August 28, 1949 that decided a Flag Day shall be celebrated annually on December 7. The reason it was called a flag day was because small flags were distributed across the country among the general population which served two purposes – collection of welfare funds and creating a sense of camaraderie and harmony between the Army and citizens. Over the years, the observance of the day became a tradition.
The day also reminds the citizens to care for the living heroes who were either wounded in action or retired from service at a fairly young age.
Each year, 60,000 defence personnel are compulsorily retired. The necessity to release personnel between 35-40 years of age is required in the armed forces so that the service personnel remain “young, physically fit and have qualities of discipline, drive and leadership.”
The Flag Day, therefore, highlights citizens’ responsibility and obligation towards looking after the disabled servicemen, and the widows and the dependants of martyrs. Citizens are thus urged on this day to take it as an opportunity to contribute generously to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF).
The Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) distributes token flags, car stickers in red, deep blue and light colours denoting the three Services. In man places, Armed Forces formations and units conduct programmes to raise charity. The KSB administers the AFFDF and it is operated by a managing committee that is headed by the defence minister.