MeraNews Network, New Delhi: The nation is today celebrating the 143rd birthday of the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas. Several events are being held by various Ministries, Public Sector Undertakings and organizations across the country. People all over the country will take a pledge to protect the unity and integrity of India and participate in the Run for Unity programme.

In New Delhi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri paid floral tributes at the statue of Sardar Patel at Patel Chowk in Parliament Street. The Home Minister also flagged off the Run for Unity from Major Dhyanchand Stadium this morning. He also administered unity pledge to the participants.

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Sports, Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore, Sports legends Zafar Iqbal, Karnam Malleshwari, MC Mary Kom, Dipa Karmakar were also present on the occasion.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will telecast the film 'Sardar' on Doordarshan, play radio and TV jingles and will run features on the life and achievements of Sardar Patel. Talk shows and interviews based programmes or live phone-in programmes on 'Integration of India will also be telecast by the Ministry. The Central Armed Police Forces will actively participate in State-level and other field level functions and will organize March pasts.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will organize pledge taking in Indian Missions. Essay and Quiz Competitions, debates, short films, photo exhibition etc. will be organized in offices of MEA and in the Indian Missions. It will arrange ‘Talks’ on life and contribution of Sardar Patel in cooperation with ‘Friendship Societies’ and ‘Think Tanks’.

The Ministry of Railways will organize pledge and March Past at its Zonal and Divisional Headquarters. Under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, various events such as Run for Unity, pledge, floral tribute, competitions involving all citizens of Tier-I and Tier-II cities including SMART and AMRUT cities and towns will be organized.

The Ministry of Culture will organize activities including essay, quiz competitions, lectures and symposium at Sahitya Academy and other programmes at Zonal Cultural Centres. The National School of Drama will organize a special play on Sardar Patel. The Human Resource Development Ministry is organizing essay competitions, Run for Unity, pledge in 2000 Kendriya and Navodaya Vidyalayas, drawing the participation of a huge number of students.

The students will also be encouraged to speak simple sentences or words in constitutionally recognized 22 Indian languages for 22 consecutive days - one language every day. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will organize programmes in all oil PSUs.