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Nirdh Mehta has successfully raised funds & reached the goal amount. We thank all the 437 generous supporters for their kindness.

Pedal4Army - Donate to Army Central Welfare Fund

Charity Soldier Wellbeing

Tax benefit
80G Tax Exemption Certificate Available

Support the families of our martyrs, and offer rehabilitation aid to our soldiers who have got disabled in operations.

9,95,393

raised

437

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Nirdh Mehta

About the Fundraiser

 
 
I am a 24 year old software engineer, and a budding cyclist, who is raising funds for the Indian Army by cycling for 2000 Km from Mumbai to Wagah border. During this journey, I'll be riding through numerous cities and villages, over a period of 20 days, meeting thousands of people and encouraging them to do their bit in giving back towards the Indian Army.
 
"If there is one job for which no amount of appreciation can ever suffice, it is that of the armed forces."
 
Merely thinking about the commitment of these youngsters who join armed forces captures my mind with immense respect, pride, honour, and patriotism, while also reminding me of this very inability of me to sign up for the highest privilege that any citizen can ever attain: that of serving their motherland. On the other hand, imagining what these soldiers, and their families, go through when battling with fierce threats sends shivers down my spine. Realizing that I have already lost this opportunity of dedicating my life to selfless service of the nation, I started looking at ways to compensate, trying to understand what I can best do now, as a civilian, to make a difference in the lives of these incredibly brave women and men, who dedicate whole of their lives on the borders to let us breathe air of peace, harmony, and true freedom.
 
My quest for giving back to the armed forces introduced me to the Army Central Welfare Fund, the National Defence Fund, and the Army Welfare Fund Battle Casualties, each of which serve different purposes, and totally rely on voluntary donations made by the society. While it is true that there are retirement and disability pensions and special grants offered by the state and the central governments towards families of defence personnel, there is no denying that the citizens must be well aware about such funds and extend full support towards them. For those wondering why such funds should rely on voluntary donations, this report issued by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis holds the key - the defence budget is under fiscal pressure and the government is working towards resolving it.
 
Following the recent terror attacks at Pampore, Uri, Baramulla, and Handwara, it makes all the more sense to offer strong monetary support towards these funds, in addition to showering love and respect towards the armed forces on social media. Hence with my cycling effort of 2000 Km, I plan to interact with many more people than I could engage with, on social media alone; thereby, having a better chance of raising more funds! I also chose to cycle this far so that at least my physical efforts, if not my interactions with people, motivate them to make a contribution - and at the same time, I took this as an opportunity to promote cycling as an economical and environment-friendly mode of transportation.
 
I'd request you to help me with this cause in any of the following ways:
1. Make a contribution - it can be as small as INR 100, and as large as your heart (or pocket) allows! 
2. Share the campaign - be it with your friends, colleagues, relatives, or strangers! It's for a good cause after all.
3. Make a sacrifice - walk instead of renting a cab, avoid a drink or a smoke, skip a hangout, and donate whatever small amount you save of that activity!
4. Use your skills - make a painting, write a letter, make delicious chocolates, click beautiful pictures, and send it across as gift to soldiers!
5. Make it large - help me connect with a celebrity or media house who can adopt this campaign, with their support, this campaign could raise INR 2 crores instead of INR 2 million, who knows?
6. Offer accommodations - when I hit the roads, it'd be a pleasure to come over for night halt at your place, and donate the money which I'd otherwise put for hotel stay!
 
 
FAQs
 
Q: Sounds like a scam, how much money are you (or Ketto) making here?
A: Absolutely ZERO! Ketto recently announced about waiving off its fees towards all campaigns supporting the soldiers in the light of recent attacks, and all donations being made to this campaign will be credited to the official account listed on Indian Army's website. The banks / payment gateways would still deduct a nominal fee of 1 to 2% based on type of transaction, which also happens when donating to official accounts directly via NEFT or DD. Furthermore, after the end of campaign, all donors will receive official receipts from the Indian Army, and will also be eligible for 100% tax exemption under section 80g.
 
 
Q: Why should one still donate via this campaign instead of donating directly to official account?
A: The choice is totally yours. While official account requires to deposit via NEFT or DD, here one could pay via net banking, credit card, debit card, cash, and cheque. Further, the advantage is that the donors can always be connected with me, learn about my progress, see how much their contributions impact, can share this campaign with their friends and relatives, have full transparency of who donated how much, hold me responsible for stuff, and even use me as a channel to share their message with the soldiers!
 
 
Q: How is the money collected by Army Central Welfare Fund being utilized?
A: ACWF accepts donations from individuals that are utilized to pay demise grants to the dependants of retired Junior Commissioned Officers (Honorary Captain, Honorary Lieutenant, Subedar Major, Subedar, and Naib Subedar) and Other Ranks (Havildar, Naik, Lance Naik, and Sepoy) as an immediate succour, and also as distress grant to ex-servicemen and dependants living in state of penury. One time financial assistance of INR 30,000 is granted from ACWF (Ex Gracia) to dependants of martyrs, and battle casualty cases.
 
 
Q: Can the ex gratia grants from ACWF be increased?
A: Annually, about 150 cases require grants from ACWF; since donations hardly amount to INR 30 lacs, individual grants can't exceed INR 30000 . Detailed reports can be found at ACWF 2008-11, ACWF 2011-15, and ACWF Fund List 2010-13.
 
 
Q: What is the role of National Defence Fund?
A: The National Defence Fund offers multiple education scholarship schemes for widows and wards of deceased personnel and ex-service personnel of Armed Forces and Para Military Forces. NDF is administered by an Executive Committee, with PM as chairperson, and Defence, Finance, and Home Ministers as members. The fund is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions from the public and does not get any budgetary support.
 
 
Q: In comparison to ACWF, how much donation does NDF receive?
A: Lots more, NDF receives annual donations of about INR 80 crores, spends about 50% of it, and has already saved over INR 1000 crores till date (as evident from NDF 2012-16) Here's a comparison of donation received by the two funds (all numbers are in INR in millions):
Year           ACWF  NDF
2011-12      2.31     730.5
2012-13     1.51     766.9
2013-14     3.21     806.8
2014-15     3.16     847.2
 
 
Q: What is Army Welfare Fund Battle Casualties about?
A: AWFBC is a fund that army very recently setup for allowing donations from benevolent organizations and individuals, that are utilized to pay financial assistance / grant to widows of our Battle Casualties, their next of kins and dependents. Although donations cannot be made to an individual, they could facilitate financial assistance to the beneficiary directly.
 
 
Q: Why are you donating to ACWF instead of AWFBC then?
A: When I started this campaign, AWFBC did not exist, and the role that it plays today, was actually played by ACWF. I also learnt that AWFBC, being a very new fund, doesn't yet issue any receipts made for donations - the bank transaction is the only proof of donation; this means that AWFBC won't know who the donors were, if funds came via Ketto. Moreover, there is no clarification about tax exemption in case of donations towards AWFBC. So for now, the donations would be made to ACWF, but if these issues of AWFBC are settled before this campaign ends, I'll update it to have donations made to AWFBC instead.
 
 
Q: How is your route planned, and how about overnight stays?
A: I will be cycling nearly for a 100 KM every day, thereby taking 20 days to finish this journey, while taking night halts at major cities enroute. Hence, sometimes I might need to do 120-130 KM, and sometimes 70-80 KM. While most of the route is marked, halt points are still tentative and have only been marked up to Ahmedabad. The route can be accessed at Google Maps, and will be shared across social media for allowing anyone to join on their cycles for as much distance as they might wish to cover. Cyclists using Strava will also be able to access day-to-day routes with much more detailed information like elevation and estimated time.
 
 
Q: Is it safe, how will you keep us updated about your ride?
A: I'm looking for backup vehicle support for carrying food, accessories, clothes, medical kit, and spare cycle throughout the ride; this will ensure my safety as in case of a medical emergency, I can be sure of being rushed to the nearest hospital. Daily updates will be posted on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter using hashtags #pedal4army and #mumbai2wagah - occasionally, some fun videos will also be posted on YouTube during the ride! I also plan to post occasional updates via SMS / Email to all backers via Ketto.
 
 
Q: When is the ride happening, we heard you were already supposed to be on the roads by now?
A: Oh yes! The ride was originally planned to start on my birthday, 3rd of September - because I couldn't have found a better day for starting with a noble cause. However, the dates were then pushed to 25th September considering flood-like conditions at northern areas of India; and who knew I would have to push them back yet again? That's because I am in talks with some media houses and NGOs who could potentially help me reach a wider audience, and also offer assistance in terms of a support vehicle, food, and accommodations for this ride. Since all the logistical planning could go on and on, I've decided to post an update only once dates are finalized - but hey, I see it happening somewhere between December and January!
 
Note: Tax exemption receipt will be provided by Army Central Welfare Fund as per their discretion
 
  • Cycle ride won't take place, and campaign closure heads-up

    by Nirdh Mehta on January, 07 2018

    #4

     

    Hello supporters, it has been quite long since I posted my last update, and a part of the reason is the nature of injuries I had procured during my practice for the Mumbai to Wagah cycle ride.

    Back in November, just as I had started my daily 70 km cycling routine for keeping myself in shape for the final ride that was about to happen during this time of the year, I found myself waking up in someone's car and was told that I am being rushed to the hospital since I was unconscious, bleeding, and unattended for over 30 mins. For a moment, I was in total disbelief, since I had absolutely zero memories of how the day unfolded for me, and it felt like I suddenly found myself in the middle of a situation I fail to understand how I gotten into - I briefly thought that this could not be real, until I looked around and observed my right elbow bleeding, blood dripping from my left ear, not being able to move my left arm even an inch, and started slipping into unconsciousness due to phobia of blood - it is only then that it struck me that I am indeed in need for medical attention. Shortly after doctors attend me, did preliminary dressing of my wounds, and gave me several painkillers and injections to prevent me from slipping into unconsciousness, my father arrived at the hospital. The doctors then conducted a series of tests to check for any internal injuries, and informed us that although there are no signs of fractures, I'd not be able to use my left arm for quite some time, and that a few more hours of hospitalization should be enough.


    My father then explained to me how kind and helpful were the people who came to my rescue - the person who rushed me to the hospital first observed the emergency contact details printed on my cycling outfit, and after a few unsuccessful attempts, he managed to get my residence address from my phone's emergency lockscreen and requested an onlooker for help. This onlooker turns out to be a businessman who manages a shop in my suburb, and he quickly orders for a tempo to carry my bicycle to his shop, and rides about 7 km to my residence on his motorbike and brings my dad to the hospital. In the scare of the situation, both myself and dad failed to register names of these very helpful people, but we were indeed thanking the heavens for sending such angels to help me.

    After coming back home, I tried hard to recall how I landed up injuring myself so badly, but to this very day I do not have any memories whatsoever. What I do know, is that my ride recording application on my smartphone registered a spike in speed, about 62.8 kmph, at the time when I should have fallen unconscious. After already having cycled for more than 2 hours, the only time when a cycle can suddenly register a speed of 60+ kmph on a flat road is when one would have dashed me from behind. However, after a few weeks of the accident, when I got to see my cycle, there were hardly any marks of being hit from behind, except the bends on front tyre and handlebar, which leaves me confused as to how and why this accident occurred.


    It had hardly been a few days after my accident, I was still unable to move my left arm a bit, and that's when we came across the heart-aching news of the tragic accident that claimed the life of a veteran cyclist, Late Mr. Ashok Kale. For those of you who aren't aware, he was hit by a vehicle while he was doing his daily routine ride, his bicycle was stolen by kids in the nearby slums, at the hospital he didn't get good aid and was wrapped in plastic sheets to avoid staining bedsheets with blood, that eventually led him to suffocate and slip into comma, and his family only located him with the help of police on the next day when he was finally taken to a different hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

    I have since been off cycle, trying to recover, and to this very day my left arm has continuously been on the mend but still not completely recovered. It took me about 4 weeks to restore motion in my left arm, but I still wasn't able to lift anything as light as a glass of water with that hand. Now, I could almost do everything, except lifting loads heavier than 5 kilos for over 2 mins and I still experience tolerable pain every morning due to the cold weather. But much more than physical recovery, my father has since been concerned about road safety and has been telling me that one doesn't keep getting lucky all the times. He tells me that I was lucky to have escaped without life-long injuries or life-threatening conditions, and that I encountered nice people who helped me enough, but that's not always going to happen. So he tells me that if I still want to go ahead with this campaign, I could cycle in a safe environment like a gym for 2000 km in 20 days, but that's not the point I wanted to make; I never wanted to prove that I can fulfil the challenges of riding long distances - rather I wanted to do something unusual to direct people's attention towards an issue that needs addressing - towards why and how we could contribute towards the welfare of the families of our jawans.

    As much as I would have loved to take this campaign to completion and give it the attention and effort that it deserves, I am currently in a situation where I do not want to keep extending the campaign any further - I'd instead choose to bring this campaign to a conclusion and do justice by acknowledging my failure of making an impact. In this light, we even tried reaching out to the various contact persons listed on Indian Army's official website to check if we could organize a small meet and greet with the jawans in Mumbai to help raise some awareness about the campaign, but we were denied of that opportunity due to lack of information about Mumbai's Army HQ and the nature of protocol of the Indian Army where they don't entertain requests from individuals like me.

    Hence, this campaign would end on 26th of January, and all the funds raised would be transferred to the Army Central Welfare Fund, who would then issue tax exemption receipts to individual donors at their discretion. If you'd still want to donate towards the fund after the campaign ends, all the information about it could be found at the links below:

    1. How the funds would be used.
    2. How to donate.

    Thanks once again for all the support you've all shown, and should you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to reach out to me via a direct message here or on Facebook.

    Did you know that every FB share gets 1 more donation.
    Help spread the word!

  • Thanks to your overwhelming donations worth INR 70000 in just 10 days!

    by Nirdh Mehta on August, 26 2017

    #3

     

    Hello all,

    A big shout out to all those who shared this campaign enough, and associated themselves with the campaign by making large and small contributions, we've managed to raise a big amount in a very short time!

    The last 30 days saw a total contribution of close to INR 90000, with 13th to 16th August witnessing an inbound support of INR 54000 i.e. an average of INR 13000 per day, and an additional INR 15000 flowing in over the next 6 days until 22nd of August! We've already crossed the 10% milestone in the process, and are currently at 13% of the target goal of INR 2 million!

    I've started reaching out to folks for assistance with spreading the word and have been getting mixed reactions for now. As mentioned in my last update, I had been away from cycling since a few months already for various personal reasons; I am now awaiting the end of monsoons to pick up regular cycling, before I could eye for the daily practice rides of 70 KMs starting in October. Until then, my focus is on getting social media partnerships for making sure that the campaign reaches maximum audience.

    I'd be back with more updates soon!

    -Nirdh

    Did you know that every FB share gets 1 more donation.
    Help spread the word!

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