National Bravery Awards 2007: Ensuring that genuine and deserving cases do not go unnoticed

Dzüvinuo Theünuo
(A DIPR feature)

The Indian Council for Child Welfare gives awards for exemplary acts of bravery to children every year. The Awards are presented by the Prime Minister of India just before Republic Day. The recipients are felicitated by VVIPs like the President of India as well as various organisations. They also participate in the Republic Day Parade in the capital.

The ICCW receives recommendations from various sources for the Awards. The ICCW invites recommendations for acts of bravery which could be brought to the notice of the Selection Sub-Committee. The main criteria for the selection of candidates is the performance of a distinct and visible act of bravery in the face of an impending threat of injury or danger to life or an act of courage and daring against a social evil/crime.

The Scheme of National Awards to Children for bravery was started 50 years ago – in the year 1957. It was in this year that two children – a boy and a girl - were first rewarded for their exemplary presence of mind and courage. Since then, ICCW decided to confer National Awards to children every year.

The main objective of the scheme is to give due recognition to the children who perform acts of bravery with a view to inspire other children to follow their example. The deed should be “an act of spontaneous selfless service in the face of risk to life or threat of physical injury and or an act of courage and daring against a social evil/crime”.

Publicity is given through the leading newspapers of the country, All India Radio and Doordarshan Kendras. Nominations are invited through State/U.T. Councils of ICCW, various departments of the State Government including Director General and Commissioners of Police of all States and Union Territories.

Nominations are received in the prescribed application form which can be obtained from ICCW headquarters office. The form is to be accompanied by the First Information Report (FIR) or Police Diary filed with the Police Station, Newspaper/Magazine clippings and a Certificate of the Date of Birth. The form, the account of the incident as well as the supporting documents should be recommended by two of the listed Competent Authorities.

The child should not be below 6 years and above 18 years of age on the date of the incident. The application must be recommended by any two of the following- General Secretary/President of the State Council for Child Welfare; Principal/Headmaster of school in which the applicant is studying; Collector/Government official of equivalent rank; Head of Police Department at the District/State level; Head of Panchayat/Zila Parishad.

Incidents which have occurred between July 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007 will be considered for the 2007 awards. The Selection Sub-Committee, may, at its discretion, relax the date by a maximum period of three months prior to July 1, 2006, if it so deems fit. The last date of submission of application is September 15, 2007.

The selection is made by two high powered Committee constituted by ICCW comprising representatives from Secretariats of the President of India, Vice-President of India, Ministries of Human Resource Development, Women & Child Development, Youth Affairs, Social Justice & Empowerment, Health & Family Welfare, Railways, Defence, Home Affairs, AIR, Doordarshan, Police, some NGOs office bearers and members of the Council. Applications once rejected will not be entertained again. The Selection Sub-Committee, may, at its discretion, consider relaxation of any of the conditions/rules if it so deems fit. The decision of the Selection Committee shall be final.

The recipient of the coveted BHARAT AWARD (instituted in 1987 for the most extraordinary act of bravery) receives a Gold Medal, a Citation and a Cash Award. The other awardees receive a Silver Medal, a Certificate and a Cash Award. Gifts are given by philanthropic organizations.

Eligible awardees are also granted assistance until they complete their schooling under the Sponsorship Programme of the Council. ICCW provides financial assistance under its Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme to those undertaking professional courses such as engineering and medicine. For the others this assistance is provided till they complete their graduation. Categories of awards include Bharat Award, Geeta Chopra Award, Sanjay Chopra Award, Bapu Gayadhani Awards (Three) and General Awards.