President Ram Nath Kovind presented national awards to 26 children, including a six-year-old environmentalist, for their outstanding contribution in various fields.
The Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar was given under two main categories — Bal Shakti Puraskar and Bal Kalyan Puraskar.
The Bal Shakti Puraskar was given to boys and girls for their outstanding works in the fields of innovation, scholastic, sports, arts and culture, social service and bravery.
The Bal Kalyan Puraskar was given to individuals and institutions for their commendable contribution and service in the field of child welfare.
President Kovind presented the awards at Rashtrapati Bhavan in the presence of Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi and other dignitaries.
In the field of innovation, Mohammad Suhail Chinya Salimpasha, Arunima Sen, Aswath Suryanarayanan Sen, Naisargik Lenka, A U Nachiketh Kumar and Madhav Lavakare were awarded the Bal Shakti Puraskar.
In the field of social service, Aryamaan Lakhotia, Prathyaksha B R and Eiha Dixit were awarded.
In scholastics, Ayushman Tripathy, Megha Bose and Nishant Dhankhar bagged the award.
In art and culture, Raam M, Dev Dushyant Kumar Joshi, Vinayaka M, Aryaman Agarwal and Truptraj Atul Pandya were awarded.
In sports, Shivangi Pathak, Esow, Priyam Tated, Anish and Vijay Deokule were given the award.
Kartik Kumar Goyal, Adrika Goyal and Nikhil Dayanand Jituri were given bravery awards.
Kartik and Adrika, who were given bravery award for showing extraordinary courage during riots, stone pelting and curfew during the Bharat Bandh in Morena, Madhya Pradesh, said they are extremely happy for getting this recognition.
These children provided food, water, medicine and first-aid to panicked passengers of a train which was stopped by rioters.
“We have put ourselves in shoes of the victims of the trains and knew we had to help them in any possible way,” 10-year-old Adrika said on the sidelines of the function.
The youngest awardee was six-year-old Eiha, who has been working for increasing tree-cover in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.
“I want to urge everyone to plant as many trees as possible on social occasions to save the environment,” she said.
Arunima Sen, who won in the field of innvation, said it is a “dream come true” for her.
Esow, who became the first Junior World No. 1 at the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championship in Switzerland, said there is a need to increase the scope of opportunities related to sports in his hometown of Car Nicobar.
“We need support to increase opportunities as opportunities there are very limited,” he said.
The Bal Kalyan Puraskar was given to Tashi Namgyal for contribution in the field of child welfare and Sridhar Reddy Arumalla for service in field child welfare.
The Bal Kalyan Puraskar was also given to Rangakahale, Samungam Trust and Hand in Hand India for their work towards the welfare of children.
The award for individual consists of a cash prize of Rs 1,00,000, a medal, a citation and a certificate to each awardee.
The award for institution consists of a prize of Rs 5,00,000 each and a medal, a citation and a certificate.
The names of awardees were finalised by the National Selection Committee under the chairpersonship of WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi.
A total of 900 applications were received for the Baal Shakti Puruskar this year.
In the past, the National Bravery Awards were organised by an NGO, Indian Council for Child Welfare.
Recently, the financial integrity of ICCW was questioned by the Delhi High Court during the hearings of a writ petition, the WCD Ministry had said.
In view of this, the government dissociated itself from the ICCW and revamped the scheme of the National Awards for Children last year to include bravery as an additional component in the Pradhan Mantri National Children Awards.