Government of India has instituted has institued the highest civilian award in the field of contribution to the unity and integrity of India, in the name of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The honour will be called Sardar Patel National Unity Award. A notification instituting the award was issued by Ministry of Home Affairs on 20th September, 2019.
In a notification issued on Friday, the ministry said the decoration shall be conferred by the President by a 'Sanad' (certificate) "under his hand and seal".
The decoration shall be in the form of a lotus leaf - six centimetres in length, six and two centimetres at its breadth and four millimetres in thickness. It will be made of fine silver and gold. On its obverse shall be embossed replica of the lotus and with petals of lotus spreading out from sixteen petals.
The award seeks to recognize notable and inspiring contributions to promote the cause of national unity and integrity and to reinforce the value of a strong and united India. The award will be announced on the occasion of the National Unity Day- the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel on 31st October.
The Award shall be presented by the President of India in a presentation ceremony along with the Padma award presentation ceremony held in Rashtrapati Bhawan.
An Award Committee would be constituted by the Prime Minister, which would include the Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Secretary to the President, Home Secretary as Members and three-four eminent persons selected by the Prime Minister.
The Award would consist of a medal and a citation. No monetary grant or cash award would be attached to this Award. Not more than three Awards would be given in a year. It would not be conferred posthumously except in very rare and highly deserving cases.
Any Indian national or institution or organization based in India would be able to nominate an individual for consideration for this Award. Individuals may also nominate themselves. State Governments, UT Administrations and Ministries of Government of India may also send nominations.
The Nominations would be invited every year. The applications would need to be filed online on the website specifically designed by Ministry of Home Affairs. All citizens, without distinction of religion, race caste, gender, place of birth, age or occupation, would be eligible for the Award.