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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on Sunday shared stories of ordinary men and women who had made extraordinary contributions to society, and who were honoured with Padma awards this year.
Modi said the common man had found space in the awards category as a result of changes made in the nomination process in the past three years. The online nomination process had brought in transparency, he said.
“You will be proud of the fact that today, the common man is being cited for Padma awards without any recommendations. There was a certain methodology of awarding Padma awards every year, but this entire process has been changed for the past three years. Now, any citizen can nominate any person in our country. Transparency has been brought about in the entire process by making it operable online,” the PM said.
“You may have noticed that many ordinary people, not visible in big cities, in newspapers or on TV are being awarded with Padma citations. Now, the identity of the awardee is not the deciding factor of the award, rather the importance of his work is increasing,” he added.
The PM spoke of Arvind Gupta, a student of IIT Kanpur, who has made toys for children from waste. “He has been making toys from garbage for over four decades so that children can increase their curiosity towards science. He has been trying to get children inspired to conduct scientific experiments using waste; towards this end he has been encouraging children by showing them films made in 18 languages in 3,000 schools across the country,” Modi said.
Sitavaa Jodatti from Karnataka also figured in the address. “For the past three decades, in Belagavi, she has made a great contribution towards changing the lives of countless women. At the age of seven, she had dedicated herself as a Devadasi but in a turnaround, for the welfare of the Devadasis, she has spent her entire life. Not only this, she has done unprecedented work for the welfare of Dalit women too,” the PM said.
Modi also shared the story of Bhajju Shyam of Madhya Pradesh. Born in a poor tribal family, Shyam’s expertise in traditional tribal art earned him recognition both in India and abroad. He has exhibited his paintings in many countries, including Netherlands, Germany, England and Italy.
Lakshmikutti, a tribal woman from Kallar in Kerala, has created 500 herbal medicines relying solely on memory. Moreover, she still resides in a hut made of palm leaves in a tribal tract amid dense forests.
The PM also lauded the work of 75-year-old Subhasini Mistri who lost her husband at the age of 23 due to lack of proper treatment. She then resolved to build a hospital for the poor. “Today, thousands of poor people are treated free of cost in this hospital that has come up through hardwork,” Modi said.