After a gap of four years, the Centre on Wednesday announced the awardees for the prestigious Gandhi Peace Prize for 2015 to 2018.
While Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, won the award for 2015 for rural development and education, for 2016, the award has been jointly given to Akshaya Patra Foundation for providing mid-day meals to children across the country and Sulabh International for its work towards emancipation of manual scavengers, the Ministry of Culture announced. For 2017, the award has been given to Ekai Abhiyan Trust for its contribution to education for rural and tribal children and for 2018, to WHO Goodwill Ambassador Yohei Sasakawa for his role in leprosy eradication.
The Gandhi Peace Prize, which is given to individuals and institutions for their contribution towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods, was last conferred upon the Indian Space Research Organisation in 2014.
This is the first time that the awardees of four years have been announced together ever since the award was instituted in 1995. As per the code of procedure on the Ministry of Culture’s website, the award should ideally be announced on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, each year. An official of the Ministry of Culture, the nodal agency which receives proposals for conferring the award, said nominations were made during the last four years for the award, but an approval was awaited.
The decision to confer these awards was taken at a meeting of the five-member jury Wednesday chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, BJP leader L K Advani, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi as members. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 1 crore, a citation and a handicraft item.
The International Gandhi Peace Prize was instituted by the government on the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and is open to people of all nationalities. The award was jointly given in 2000 to Nelson Mandela and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh.