New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) Six-year-old Eiha Dixit’s excitement knew no bounds when she received the National Award from President Ramnath Kovind for her contribution towards environment. She alone planted 500 saplings.
She is the youngest among the all award recipients and belongs to Meerut. She planted the saplings in Meerut and surrounding areas inspired by her school teachers and her father.
Like Eiha, 25 more children were awarded with the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Tuesday evening. They achieved remarkable feats in various fields ranging from sports to science and social welfare.
“For a father, this is the proudest moment. I hope the mission that my daughter has undertaken gives a positive message to all,” Eiha’s father Kuldeep Dixit told IANS.
The award was earlier known as the National Child Award. It was previously organised by an NGO, the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW). From this year, the selection of children for the award has been brought under the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry.
The award ceremony was also attended by the Union WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi along with Secretary Rakesh Srivastava and other senior ministry officials.
Children living in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) of Delhi were also a part of the award function.
This year, the National Bravery Award was also merged with the Bal Shakti Puraskar which was given away to Kartik Goyal and Adrika Goyal of Madhya Pradesh who showed courage during riots and curfew at Morena in April last year and provided food, water, medicine and first aid to the passengers of a train raided by rioters.
“We thought how we could have felt had we been in that situation. So we gathered courage and helped the passengers as much as possible,” said 10-year-old Adrika.
Another recipient Arunima Sen, who is a Class XII student in Bengaluru, said the award is no less than living a dream moment.
“My board exams are near but nothing could have brought me more happiness than this,” said Sen who bagged the award for her contribution in the field of innovation and science.
Esow (18), who belongs to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, said the National Award is a big boost for his native place.
“There is not much scope for youths like me to get proper training in sports. I hope through this award I’d draw attention to the need to encourage more sports opportunities,” said Esow. He was awarded for excellence in the field of sports.
The awardees were selected from 900 applications received through a special portal created for the purpose, said the ministry sources.
The winners were selected through a rigorous process of critical analysis by a committee comprising experts from varied disciplines such as sociology, psychology, mathematics, science, art, music and sport.
Each award carries a medal, a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, book vouchers worth Rs 10,000, a certificate and a citation. According to the WCD Ministry, these children will participate in the Republic Day parade.
The final list was drawn up by the National Selection Committee, under the chairpersonship of the WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi.
The Bravery awards were earlier organised by the ICCW. However, following a petition in the Delhi High Court about the NGO misusing the government’s funds, the Centre dissociated itself from the NGO and revamped the scheme of National Awards for children in 2018 to include ‘bravery’ as an additional component in the Pradhan Mantri National Children Awards.