Indian Red Cross Society

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Indian Red Cross Society
PurposeMedical & Humanitarian
  • New Delhi
Region served
WebsiteIndian Red Cross Society official website

The Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) is a voluntary humanitarian organization to protect human life and health based in India.[1] It is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and so shares the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The society's mission is providing relief in times of disasters/emergencies and promoting health & care of vulnerable people and communities. It has a network of over 700 branches throughout India.[1] The Society uses the Red Cross as an emblem in common with other international Red Cross societies. Volunteering has been at the very heart of the Indian Red Cross Society since its inception in 1920, with the Society having Youth and Junior volunteering programmes.[2] The Society is closely associated with the St John Ambulance in India.


During the First World War relief services for affected soldiers in India was provided by a branch of the Joint War Committee, a collaboration between the St. John Ambulance Association and the British Red Cross. On 3 March 1920, a bill was introduced to the Indian Legislative Council by Sir Claude Hill (a member of the Viceroy's Executive Council who was also Chairman of the Joint War Committee in India) to constitute the Indian Red Cross Society, independent of the British Red Cross. The Bill was passed as the Indian Red Cross Society Act, 1920 on 17 March 1920, and became Parliament Act XV of 1920 with the assent of the Governor General on the 20 March 1920.[3]

On 7 June 1920 fifty members were formally nominated to constitute the Indian Red Cross Society from members of the Indian branch of the Joint War Committee.[3] The first Managing Body was elected from among them with Sir William Malcolm Hailey as Chairman.

Red Cross parcels

PoW parcels, supplied by the Indian Red Cross Society during WW2 contained:

Post War

In 1947 some of the IRCS assets were provided to found the Pakistan Red Crescent Society.

The act governing the IRCS was last amended by The Indian Red Cross Society (Amendment) Bill, 1992.[1][3]


  • The IRCS has 35 State / Union Territories Branches with their more than 700 districts and sub district branches.[1]
  • The President of India is the President of the IRCS[3]
  • The Minister of Health and Family Welfare is the Chairman of the Society.
  • The National Managing Body consists of 19 members.
  • The Chairman and 6 members of the managing body are nominated by the President.[3] The remaining 12 are elected by the state and union territory branches through an electoral college.
  • The Vice Chairman is elected by the members of the Managing Body.
  • The Managing Body is responsible for governance and supervision of the functions of the society through a number of committees.
  • The Secretary General is the Chief Executive of the Society.

List of Secretary Generals of the Indian Red Cross Society

Secretary General[1] Start of term End of term
Shri Balwant Singh Puri 1941 July 1958 July
Major General C.K. Lakshmanan 1958 July 1969 April
Major General S.S. Maitra 1969 July 1978 October
Lieutenant General R.S. Hoon 1978 October 1981 July
Shri Ajit Bhowmick 1981 July 1991 January
Shri Ajit Bhowmick (2nd term) 1991 April 1991 June
Dr. A.K. Mukherjee 1991 November 1996 March
Dr. Manoj Mathur 1996 April 1999 March
Dr. S. P. Agarwal 1999 March 2000 February
Dr. (Mrs) Vimala Ramalingam 2000 March 2005 March
Dr. S.P.Agarwal (2nd term) 2005 March (2015 November)
Mr. R.K.Jain Present

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "About Society". Indian Red Cross Society official website. Indian Red Cross Society. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Youth Red Cross & Junior Red Cross". Indian Red Cross Society official website. Indian Red Cross Society. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Indian Red Cross Society Act XV of 1920" (PDF). Indian Red Cross Society. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  4. ^ Taylor, Keith. A tribute to the "SS Vega". p. 68. ISBN 978-0-946806-18-8.

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