"The world’s largest ever run, the run for unity, inaugurates the statue of unity movement on the punyatithi of Sardar Patel"
15th Dec, 2013: The day that marks the 63rd Punyatithi (death anniversary) of Sardar Patel, sees history unfold again through the “Run for Unity.” This unprecedented event will witness more than 30 lakh people participating in a run in over 1100 locations across India. The historic run will unite the country in paying a fitting tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron Man of India, who united 565 princely states to give India her present identity.
The Run for Unity will be the largest mass run/walk of its kind in the world. The previous world record was a participation of 1.2 lakh, however, the Run for Unity will beat this record more than twenty fold. Men and women, young and old, celebrities and civilians alike will wear a common unity scarf to mark their participation in this historic event. Participants will be free to run or walk over a 2km route.
The event will be flagged off from Vadodara by Shri Narendra Modi at 8:00 am. People all over the country will be able to witness this momentous inaugural event via live streaming on the Run for Unity website, www.runforunity.com. Similar runs will occur in hundreds of other locations across the length and breadth of the country, from Kargil to Kanyakumari, from Dwarka to Itanagar. The event was earlier planned for only 565 locations, symbolic of the 565 princely states that Sardar united. However, enthusiastic response from volunteers and participants boosted this number to over 1100 locations.
Several important leaders of the country will champion the event on the 15th of December in various locations across India. To highlight a few - Shri. Lal Krishna Advani will lead the event in Gujarat, Shri. Rajnath Singh in Uttarakhand, Shri. Sushma Swaraj in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, Shri. Arun Jaitley in Delhi, Shri. Venkaiah Naidu in Mumbai, Maharashtra and Shri. Nitin Gadkari in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
Conceptualized by the Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG), the National Movement Partner of Statue of Unity, and organized along with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), the run is supported by a host of Gujarat Government officials, civil society organizations and faith based organizations all over India.
The Run for Unity will be the curtain raiser to the Statue of Unity Movement, the largest country-wide drive to honour the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The movement aims to revive and reinforce Sardar Patel’s values of unity, good governance and grassroot development. Promoting the concept of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat,’ the Statue of Unity movement encompasses the following activities:
Run for Unity (RFU): A 2km run/walk in more than 1100 locations in the country on 15th December
Write for Unity (WFU): A slogan/Essay competition on Sardar Patel and his ideals of unity and good governance in 1.67 Lakh secondary and senior secondary school across the country in the months of December and January
Photo Collage: A photo collage of elected representatives at grassroots level from over 2.5 Lakh governing bodies (Gram Panchayats and Wards). This will be showcased in a museum inside the statue complex
Locality Meeting: 1.)Collection of about 700 tons of used farm iron tools from over 5 lakh villages, 2.) Collection of soil samples from all villages panchayats and 3.) Getting signatures of more than 2 crore people on the ‘Suraaj Petition’ (good governance petition) in support of a better India
The Statue of Unity is an initiative of the Government of Gujarat designed to pay tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel by erecting the world’s tallest statue (182 m) in his honour. Executed under the aegis of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), the Statue of Unity will not only be an architectural marvel, but a monument of national significance. It will be a proud symbol of the unity of India to the entire world for generations to come.
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Before arriving on the stage here, I visited an exhibition of stalls set up by Self-Help Groups comprising women from all eight North Eastern States. The artefacts and products displayed in this exhibition are indeed impressive. Let me begin by congratulating the ladies from these Self-Help Groups, who are present here today and have just given me a glimpse of their immense talent.
The promotion of Self Help Groups has got a boost from the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana. A large number of Self Help Groups are also benefiting through credit linkages by North Eastern Development Financial Institution with the component of interest subsidy being provided by Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region.
The Government is committed to the development of Self Help Groups, particularly Women Self Help Groups. Keeping this in mind, in December 2015, the Union Cabinet approved a Special Package Fund for the North Eastern States. The objective is to accelerate the implementation of the National Rural Livelihood Mission, so as to cover two-thirds of all rural households in North Eastern States by 2023-24.