The National Bravery awards will be given to 25 children for 2016, four of whom will receive them posthumously. The awards were first introduced in 1957, and are given in five different categories. But what are these awards, and how are the awardees selected? Rakesh Dubbudu from Factly takes a closer look.
The government has announced the winners of the National Bravery Awards for the year 2016. 25 children (12 girls and 13 boys) will receive the awards for 2016. Four of the 25 awards this year are being given posthumously. But what exactly are these awards?
The National Awards to Children for Bravery scheme was started 59 years ago, in the year 1957, when two children, a boy and a girl, were first rewarded for their exemplary presence of mind and courage. Since then, the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) has been giving the National Awards for Bravery every year to children from various parts of the country.
The main objective of the awards is to give due recognition to children who perform acts of bravery, and 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”.
The national bravery awards to children are given in 5 different categories:
- Bharat Award: Instituted in 1987 and awarded to exceptionally outstanding gallantry deeds.
- Geeta Chopra Award: Instituted in 1978 and given to a girl.
- Sanjay Chopra Award: Instituted in 1978 and given to a boy.
- Bapu Gaidhani Awards (three): Instituted in 1988 and given to three children.
- General Awards: Instituted in 1957.
Every year, the ICCW invites nominations through State/U.T. Councils of ICCW and various departments of the State Governments. The Council receives nominations in the prescribed application form, available from ICCW headquarters or the ICCW website.
Two of the four listed Competent Authorities must recommend the nomination form. The competent authorities are:
- Principal/Headmaster of school in which the applicant is studying, or Head of Panchayat/Zila Parishad.
- General Secretary or President of the State Council for Child Welfare.
- Collector/DM/Govt. Official of equivalent rank.
- Superintendent of Police (SP) of the area or Police Official of higher rank.
The form is to be accompanied by a write-up of about 250 words, giving the details of the deed performed by the applicant, proof of date of birth, Newspaper/Magazine clippings, and/or the First Information Report (FIR) or Police Diary filed with the Police Station. Two of the four listed Competent Authorities should preferably endorse the account of the incident, as well as the supporting documents.
Authorities should send the nominations before September 30th of every year.
The child applying for the award should be between 6-18 years of age on the date of the incident. The incident with the deed should have occurred between July 1st of the previous year and June 30th of the current year, for the current year’s award. For instance, the incident should have occurred between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 for the 2016 awards. The selection committee can relax the date by a maximum period of three months if it deems fit.
ICCW constitutes a high-powered committee – comprising representatives from Secretariats of the President of India and Vice-President of India; Ministries of Human Resource Development, Women & Child Development, Youth Affairs & Sports, Social Justice & Empowerment, Health & Family Welfare, Railways, Defence, Home Affairs, Labour, Rural Development, and Information & Broadcasting; AIR and Doordarshan, Police; some NGOs; and Office-Bearers and Members of the Council – to select the awardees.
The Awardees receive a medal, a certificate, and a cash award. The Awardees also receive various gifts from philanthropic organizations. The children will receive their Awards from the Prime Minister every year prior to Republic Day, and thereafter participate in the Republic Day parade.
The President and several other dignitaries host receptions in their honour. Several States organize functions to honour them at the State level.
The awardees also get the following benefits:
- Eligible awardees will receive financial assistance until they complete their schooling.
- Some State Governments also provide financial assistance to the awardees.
- ICCW provides financial assistance under its Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme to those undertaking professional courses such as engineering and medicine.
- For others, this assistance is provided till they complete their graduation. The Government of India has reserved some seats for the awardees in medical and engineering colleges and polytechnics.
Since the inception of the awards in 1957, the ICCW has given awards to 945 brave children, which includes 669 boys and 276 girls.