New Delhi: Rashtriya Swayamsiddh Samman, a unique initiative by JSPL Foundation to recognize and honour social innovators and change agents across the country, was conferred upon 17 individuals and 10 organisations.

Union minister for law Ravi Shankar Prasad presented the Awards in a function held, here on Thursday.

Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) chairperson emeritusn Savitri Jindal, Chairperson Emeritus, JSPL chairman Naveen Jindal, JSPL Foundation chairperson Shallu Jindal, Padma Vibhushan Raghunath Mahapatra and Abhey Oswal Group chairperson Aruna Oswal graced the occasion.

Rashtriya Swayamsiddh Jeevan Samman for lifetime achievement was conferred upon S G Neginhal, a pioneer of urban forestry. He was given a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh and a certificate of appreciation for his contribution to environment. 

Rashtriya Swayamsiddh Samman along with a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and certificate of appreciation was handed over to 10 individuals and 10 organisations to acknowledge and support their on-going work.

Five Individuals and one organisation received certificates of appreciation as Distinguished Recognition.

Speaking on the occasion, Naveen Jindal said, “The dedication and social innovation of the winners are truly exemplary and commendable. They contributed to social development and nation building in their unique way. I am sure JSPL Foundation’s effort to bring out their stories to limelight through Rashtriya Swayansiddh Samman will inspire several others”. 

The main architect of the Award Shallu Jindal said, ” Today, we award the people who have gone against the tide , fought the odds to stand up for the values and principles that every Indian nurtures, that Mahatma Gandhi upheld. We hope that the stories this evening, of their remarkable achievements, will inspire each of us. We hope their challenges are able to ignite a spark within each of us to go beyond our daily challenges to be better people, and contribute in a larger way to the world around us. “

The stories of the winners are truly inspirational. Gangadhar Rout, a retired veterinary technician from Odisha’s Keonjhar district spent his entire retirement benefits and savings of more than 12 lakh to build a 270 foot bridge in his village. He won the Individual Award in the category of Rural Development. Anand Shankar, a photojournalist, left his home and career to establish a health centre in the remote Tons valley of Uttarakhand. He has been honoured with individual award in the category of health. Winner of Organisation Award in Public Service Hasiru Dala has impacted the lives of more than 10,000 waste pickers. With an innovative social enterprise, the organisation has created 20 entrepreneurs from the garbage pickers who are now paying income tax. Madhav Sahasrabudhe, a retired mechanical engineer is on a mission to popularise the art of spinning. He is travelling to various parts of India, visiting schools, social organisations and offices to teach the art of spinning. He has been given individual award in the field of Art & Culture. Dr. Kriti Bharti, dedicating her life to annul Child marriage in Rajsthan has been awarded for public service. 

Venkatesh Jindal presented the vote of thanks.