Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has appealed to the people to contribute generously to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund, and urged the private sector to provide employment opportunities to about 60,000 soldiers who retire at young age every year.
Addressing the Armed Forces Flag Day CSR Conclave here on Tuesday, he made a special mention of a soldier's message enshrined on the Kohima War Memorial in Nagaland, which read "When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today".
He said it was a collective anf moral responsibility of the nation to help the soldiers and their families. "Since independence, whether it was to win wars or counter-terrorist activities from across the border, our soldiers have given a befitting reply to all challenges with courage and promptness.
In the process, many of them made the supreme sacrifice and many became physically disabled. The entire responsibility of their family rests on them. It is, therefore, our ultimate responsibility to come forward and support our soldiers and their families in every way possible.
It is because of our brave soldiers, who are always alert at the borders, we sleep peacefully and live our lives without fear," said Rajnath. The Defence Minister also threw light on the fact that a large number of military personnel retire at the age of 35 to 40 years so that the youthful profile of the Armed forces is maintained.
Reiterating the government's commitment towards the welfare of the country's bravehearts, Rajnath Singh stated that a number of initiatives have been taken in this direction. The initiatives include 'Bharat Ke Veer' portal, which was launched when Rajnath Singh was the Home Minister for the welfare of officers and jawans of the Central Armed Police Forces.
The Defence Minister asserted that "the welfare of soldiers, who ensure our national security, should not be the responsibility of only the government, but it should be the duty of all". He emphasised that industries and businesses can never flourish in a country where national security is not strong.
Appreciating the support of big corporate donors in the last few years, which has led to a substantial increase in the fund, he exhorted the fraternity to contribute even more for the well-being of the soldiers and the nation at large.
With top corporate heads in attendance at the event, Rajnath Singh stated that the government recognised the power of the private sector and its role in the progress of the country as soon as it came to power in 2014, adding that the defence sector, which was always considered untouched for the private companies, is now fully prepared to welcome them.
On the occasion, the minister launched a new website for the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund -- www.affdf.gov.in. The portal is an interactive and user-friendly portal developed to promote online contribution to the fund.
He also released the anthem for this year's promotional campaign for the Armed Forces Flag Day. The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare has been working for the welfare and rehabilitation of war widows, wards of martyred soldiers and Ex-Servicemen, including disabled ones by providing financial assistance for their identified personal needs such as penury grant, children's education grant, funeral grant, medical grant and orphan, disabled children grant.
An amount of Rs 34 crore was received as a contribution to the fund in Financial Year 2021-22. Concerted efforts are needed to increase the contributions to the fund to meet the growing requirements of financial assistance.
Contributions can be made to the Fund by cheque, DD, NEFT and RTGS drawn in the related bank accounts, the Defence Ministry official added.