President Pranab Mukherjee on 8 March 2016 presented Nari Shakti Puraskar for the year 2015 to 15 women, 5 organisations, one state and panchayat. The awards were conferred on the occasion of International Women's Day at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
The awards are annually given by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development to institutions and individuals who have made exceptional contribution towards empowerment of women specially belonging to vulnerable and marginalised sections of society. It carries cash award of two lakh rupees and a certificate for institutions and one lakh rupees and a certificate for individuals.
Haryana was awarded as a state for demonstrating improvement with work in improving Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) during 2015. Anganwadipuram Gram Panchayat, Mallapuram of Kerala was awarded for their work towards women empowerment. Through its activities the panchayat helped women to hold leadership roles and promoted women in decision making.
Other awardees of Nari Shakti Puraskar include
Individual awardees include
• Lucky Kurien, Maharashtra - Sister Lucky Kurien has been working for Women and Children from the past 18 years. She founded the Maher NGO and helped 2691 women to get sheltered, rehabilitee 2339 and provides help to 59 women in marriage.
• Dr. Saurabh Suman, Bihar – She is the Secretary of NGO Bihar Seva Sansthan that works for the welfare and empowerment of women in Bihar, with a focus on the District of Nawada. She organized ISRO sponsored research programme for participation of women in agriculture development, and training on basic information technology and mobile training course.
• Basanti Devi, Uttarakhand - She is an environmentalist, who educated women woodcutters in Uttarakhand on the dangers of deforestation, and prevented the Kosi from drying up. She convinced the women in the valley to fight opposition from men and forest guards and form community based organizations for forest conservation.
• Suparna Baksi Ganguly, Karnataka – She is committed environmentalist and animal activist. She is founder member of an animal welfare agency Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA). Her organisation supported various animal welfare initiatives and running four centres in Bangalore for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation for monkeys, snakes and birds
• Meena Sharma, Rajasthan – She is renowned journalist from the rural background who took up fighting gender discrimination as her mission in life. She highlighted the state of old parents neglected by their own children and illegal sex determination and sex selective abortions through various sting operations.
• Preeti Patkar, Maharashtra – She is social worker and human rights activist and co-founder of the organization Prerana. She done pioneering work in the red-light districts of Mumbai to protect children vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking for the past 28 years.
• Uttara Padwar, Madhya Pradesh – She runs a grassroots organisation named Prayas Shiksha Samiti working for fighting extreme poverty, malnutrition and diseases in tribal communities like Baigas, Gonds, Abhujhmarias.
• Polumati Vijaya Nirmala, Andhra Pradesh - She is working on Women and Child Right issues and conducted number of trainings, workshops, campaigns and awareness meetings on Gender Sensitization and Human Trafficking in West and East Godavari Districts. She has participated in 27rescue operation and provides counseling services. She has formed 27 community vigilance group, 35 Adolescents groups, and 15 red light area level victim collectives for prevention of Human Trafficking and abuse.
• Vasu Primalni, Delhi – She is a triathlete, rock climber and is also well-known for her international stand-up comedy with shows done all over the world. Her comedy picks up on issues of contemporary relevance including environment, women’s safety, rape, and diversity issue
• Sujata Sahu, Haryana – She is the founder of 17000ft foundation that is working to create an impact and improve the quality of school education in the remote villages of Ladakh. She started with distributing story books to the children in their native language in Ladakh and her organization made 600 visits in one year to schools in far flung areas of Ladakh to inculcate in children the habit of learning better through reading books
• Jyoti Mhapsekar, Maharashtra - She is founding members of Stree Mukti Sanghatana. She is a renowned playwright and has written numerous plays on women’s issues, children’s education, child labour, waste management and the environment. She has participated in several International Women Playwrights conferences and was Convener of VIII conference in 2009.
• Sumita Ghosh, Delhi - She is the founder and managing director of Rangsutra, a social enterprise which seeks to bring about socio economic development and inclusive growth in rural India by engaging both: the community and the market.
• Anjali Sharma, Delhi - She is practicing law as a senior associate in a New Delhi based Law Firm called "Integral Law Offices", which does extensive work in the commercial, corporate, contract and arbitration law fields. Anjali is also an animal rights activist, and is an Executive Committee Member of and Legal Advisor to the Animal Welfare Board of India, which a statutory body is functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
• Krishna Yadav, Delhi – She is an Illiterate woman and working in the field of rural development and entrepreneurship. At present, she is a successful food processing entrepreneur with annual turnover of more than 3 crore rupees.
• Shakuntala Majumdar, Maharashtra - She is the founding member of Thane SPCA, is among the most influential people in the Country's Animal Welfare environment with 20+ years of rich experience in this space. She is an Honorary Animal Welfare officer appointed by the Government of India and by the Committee to Monitor Animal Welfare laws in India by the Bombay High Court.
Organisations who were awarded include
• Gudiya Shyam Sevi Sansthan, Varanasi
• Jagori, Delhi
• Kanaklata Women Urban Cooperative Bank (Institution), Assam
• Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (Institution), Delhi
• Breakthrough Trust
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When: 8 March 2016