Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said he was confident that the corporate sector and wealth creators in the country will "contribute wholeheartedly" to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund for the welfare of ex-servicemen.
Addressing an event here ahead of the Armed Forces Flag Day on December 7, he also said people had generously contributed to the 'Bharat ke Veer' fund which had a corpus of Rs 300 cr at the time he had left the home minister's office.
Singh was home minister in the first term of the Modi government.
"I am not appealing to you, rather I am assured that you (corporate sector) would contribute handsomely when it comes to a matter of national pride," Singh said.
Many participants from the corporate sector made on the spot contributions to the DESW fund for welfare activities.
"There is no need to appeal to any particular sector, they do it with self-motivation. And, whatever capacity anyone has, they can contribute for the welfare of the ex-servicemen. We are all proud citizens and people will contribute for them," he told reporters after the event.
Earlier in his address at the event, Singh lauded the valour of soldiers and the sacrifices made by them in the service of the nation.
"Give me a concept plan, as to what more can be done for our ex-servicemen and families of those who have lost a soldier," he told a gathering of ex-servicemen and members of the corporate sector.
Singh urged people of the country to contribute generously to the Armed Forces Flag Day (AFFD) Fund for the welfare of ex-servicemen who have selflessly served the nation, the defence ministry later said in a statement.
Addressing the AFFD Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Conclave at Manekshaw Centre, he also exhorted the nation to perform the solemn duty of ensuring welfare of ex-servicemen, differently-abled soldiers and the families of the ones who have lost their lives defending the nation.
He also asked all stakeholders to come up with a similar mechanism like 'Bharat ke Veer' Fund to help the families of jawans, in addition to the AFFD Fund, the statement said.
'Bharat ke Veer' Fund was established with the help of the corporate sector to assist the families of martyred Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel.
Singh also recalled the great sacrifices made by revolutionaries such as Ashfaqulla Khan and Chandrasekhar Azad during the freedom struggle.
He also spoke about his own efforts to join the army through Short Services Commission which could not materialise due to family reasons.
"I became neither a soldier nor a government officer, but became a defence minister," he said to an applause from the audience.
The CSR Conclave was a unique initiative of the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare under the Ministry of Defence to create awareness about the challenges faced by ex-servicemen and how the corporate sector can play an important part in their resettlement and rehabilitation.
The CSR Conclave was a first-of-its-kind event where Corporate and CSR heads were invited.
Secretary DESW Sanjeevanee Kutty, said the contributions to the AFFD happens through three channels -- the three wings of the armed forces; individually and through the corporate sector.
"The corpus in last few years has grown from Rs 18 cr in 2017-18 to Rs 44 cr in 2018-19, largely due to contributions from the corporate sector," she said.
Singh also felicitated representatives of 13 corporate firms who made major contributions last year to the AFFD Fund.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)