Current Affairs – October, 2019

Fact Box: Sardar Patel National Unity Award

Centre government has instituted ‘Sardar Patel National Unity Award’, the highest civilian award in field of contribution to unity and integrity of India, in the name of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, most popularly known as Iron Man of India or the founding father of the Republic of India. It will be announced on occasion of National Unity Day on the Birth Anniversary of Sardar Patel on 31 October. The institution of award was notified by Union Ministry of Home Affairs on 20 September 2019.

About Sardar Patel National Unity Award

The award recognizes the notable and inspiring contributions made by any institution or organization or individual to promote cause of national unity and integrity as well as to reinforce the value of a strong and united India.

In a given year not more than three Awards would be given and it would not be conferred posthumously except in very rare and highly deserving cases. Nominations for award would be invited every year and the applications would need to be filed online on website designed by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Eligible: All citizens, without distinction of race, religion, caste, age or occupation, gender, place of birth, and any institution or organization would be eligible for Award. Any Indian national or organization or institution based in India would be able to nominate an individual for consideration for this Award. Individuals may also nominate themselves for the award. State Governments, Union Territory (UT) Administrations and Ministries of Union Government may also send nominations and recommendations on the on-line portal

Award Committee would be constituted by Prime Minister, and would include Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Secretary to President, Home Secretary as Members and 3-4 eminent persons selected by PM.

Award shall be conferred by: President of India by a Sanad (an Indian government charter, warrant, diploma, patent or deed) under his hand and seal and presented by him in a presentation ceremony along with Padma award presentation ceremony held in Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Prize: The award does not have any monetary grant or cash award attached to it and would consist of a medal and a citation.

Defence Minister: attends SCO meeting; signs Bilateral Engagement with Uzbekistan

Defence Minister Raj Nath Singh is to attend key meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He will also participate in bilateral engagements with the Uzbekistan Government.

The Minister is to represent India in the meeting of Council of Heads of Government (CHG) of SCO at Tashkent. The Council meets to discuss on multilateral economic cooperation in the SCO region.

Highlights of the visit

  • The Minister will sign bilateral agreements and hold a meeting with his Uzbekistan Counterpart. It is to be noted that the first ever India-Uzbekistan bilateral military exercise “Dostlik 2019” is to begin between November 4 and November 13, 2019.
  • The meeting is the third CHG meeting that is being attended by India after it became a member of SCO. The last two meeting were held in 2017 at Sochi, Russia and in 2018 at Dushanbe in Tajikistan.

Council of Heads of Government

The CHG is the second highest decision-making body in the SCO. The Indian representative of the CHG is PM Modi.

The Council of Heads of the State is the top decision-making body in the SCO. It meets during the SCO summits that are held once in a year. President Ram Nath Kovind represents India at the Council.