Staff Reporter –
The Indian government has honoured Vinod Chandra Patel, Chairman of the Vinod Patel Group, with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award.
A communication from the Indian Overseas Affairs Ministry, which organises the biannual event with the support of the Confederation of Indian Industry and several other organisations, said that the Samman Award was in recognition of Mr Patel’s Social Service.
He was among 30 others to receive the high civilian honour at the 14th Edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) held in Bengaluru from January 7 to January 9, 2017 with the Karnataka government jointly hosting the event.
The Indian government instituted PBD for greater engagement with people of Indian origin living overseas and to recognise and reward achievers.
The PBD was held in New Delhi from January 7 to 9, 2003.
PBD began as an annual event but was made biennial for the larger Indian Diaspora in 2015. It commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi to India from South Africa on January 7, 1915 to lead the Freedom Movement.
India’s President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee presented the Samman Awards on January 9, 2017, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke in praise of the Indian Diaspora (Indian Newslink, January 15, 2017).
Among the New Zealanders who have received the Samman Awards in the past years are former Dunedin Mayor Sukhi Turner (2004), Justice Ajit Swaran Singh (2008), former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand (2011), Dt Satendra Singh (2013) and National List MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (2015)
About Vinod Patel
The 78-year-old Ba based founder of Vinod Patel Group, attributed the honour to the community.
“I have been fortunate to receive overwhelming support from many friends, family members and charitable organisations. These include Red Cross of Fiji, Shri Sanatan Dharm Pratinidhi Sabah and other social organisations. Therefore, I truly feel that the Samman Award has been bestowed on many hundreds of people who have supported me in my social service journey,” he said.
He also thanked his wife and children for their support.
Among the several organisations that he has supported include AD Patel College, Tagore Memorial School and Ba Gujarat Education Society.
He established the Shankarbhai and Shantaben Patel School for boys and girls in the name of his parents in Karkhadi, a village near Vadodara in Gujarat.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with some of the recipients of the Pravasi Samman Award 2017 including Vinod Patel, standing second from right (Picture by Press Information Bureau, Government of India)