By
Air Vice Marshal BK Murali AVSM VSM (Retd)
(Director A & D of Chamber of Commerce of Ex-servicemen)

Members of military families, who have created success stories in every nook and corner of our Nation, in every sector and dimension of life, not only defend this Great country but are also doing a yeoman job of building economy and in bringing social reforms. They are national building assets and have written some remarkable success stories. Be it one of the top 50 richest business house like DLF, or business innovators like Deccan Airways, or IT innovators of hotmail fame, or professionals of NHAI fame or Movie stars and artistes of film Industry, or journalists and media persons of National importance , or Aerospace and Defence Industry captains and many more ; military families have excelled in every field of Nation building.

Military Families are also builders of rural economy and infuse big cash flows to strengthen it. The stories of many social reforms brought by soldiers when they return back home, are well known. Due to their upbringing, they rise above caste creed and religion and create social harmony. Bulk of the sports persons come from military families. So far soldiers have been seen only as defenders of the Nation and their other contributions as explained here in every aspect of human life has gone unnoticed and unrecognised.

Though govt has a nationwide support network which helps soldiers and military families in their resettlement but an intuitional arrangement to provide them with an umbrella of support in civil life, in civil activities like business, social care and sports professionally as it happens for other domain, is presently non-existant. Most of the countries have chambers of commerce/ foundation to provide such support network but in our Nation ,this arrangement is not there.

To fill such gap the idea of a Chamber of Commerce has taken birth and efforts are underway to develop the Chamber into a robust organization of National significance like FICCI.

Chamber of Commerce of Ex-Servicemen (The Military Chamber) has been incorporated under license from Ministry of Corporate Affairs under section 8 of Indian Companies Act 2013, as Not for Profit entity.

It is the first chamber of commerce in India, which exclusively creates a non political professional platform and brand for ex servicemen and members of military families to interact and associate in their personal, social and economical growth.

The chamber is an independent legal entity in a robust format which has the mandate to form various professional, health and social care networks, associations, committees and subcommittees, regional chapters and certification bodies. It has also the mandate to create associations and partnerships with govt departments, other chambers, business entities etc as required.

Mission of the chamber is to ‘facilitate, assist, promote and support personal, intellectual, social, entrepreneurial and economic growth of military families’.

The Chamber envisages flat, process driven, networked organizations where independent autonomous national state and regional bodies/ entities work professionally in a comfortable business and operation space. In addition to having a strong management board to support its legal, research, publications and operation infra existence and risks mitigations, the chamber also has main bodies as under:

1. National & State association of military families with regional chapters at city/district and block levels.

2. Association of professionals like business & Industries, aerospace & defense, agriculture and agro industry, security, safety and disaster management, education, HRD, health, social care, sports etc. Such associations have sufficient members to create a critical mass.

3. The national and state associations also have national and state committees on women and ex-servicemen (POBOR) to give them due representation and role in every body of the chamber.

4. Professional associations have formed committees/ subcommittees as required.

5. Board has created a National body of Patrons of Imminent leaders for strategic directions.

6. Associations have also created their own advisory boards.

The chamber also has independent research, publication and operation support center and departments under strategic management of chamber administration.

The chamber draws its revenue from membership’s fee, provisions of various services and infrastructure support, conduct of programs and events, grants, donations and sponsorships.

Chamber envisages adequate support from central and state govt and by co-opting their representatives on board which is possible in a section 8 entity. Chamber presently is striving to create relationship with various political committees of parliament and state assemblies, govt departments, and other national and international chambers to bring best value to military members.

Creation of the chamber is an historic moment which in due course of time will create a robust system of wealth creation using networked military families as national asset. Building of such chamber will contrite in speeding up of the GDP and create jobs and opportunities.

Members of the military families havel come together with other key stake holders like govt, to build the chamber brick by brick to help create required support system to transform soldiers to productive civilian citizens. Military families have immense energies and spread out resources which if networked will generate self empowering momentum to take care of this needy segment of the society which so far has been left unattended and isolated from mainstream.

Aerospace and Defence is one such Professional body created under the Chamber to bring together all the Aerospace and Defence professionals on a common platform for exchange of ideas, business tie ups and joint ventures for mutual benefit.

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