JSPL Foundation confers first-ever Rashtriya Swayamsiddh

PremBabu Sharma

The first-ever Rashtriya Swayamsiddh Samman, a unique initiative launched by JSPL Foundation last year to identify, reward and recognize grassroot leaders and social innovators in India, saw 9 Individuals and 10 Organisations from across sectors receive the prestigious award. The winners received a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh and a certificate of appreciation to support their ongoing work and enhance the impact on ground, at a glittering ceremony held at the Kamani Auditorium here today.

Six individuals / organisations were also given a Special Recognition certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 in cash.

The awards were given away by the Chief Guest, Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (Independent Charge) & Parliamentary Affairs. Also present on the occasion were Smt. Savitri Jindal, Chairperson Emeritus, Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), Shri Naveen Jindal, Chairman, JSPL and Smt. Shallu Jindal, President, JSPL Foundation.

Says Ms. Shallu Jindal, President, JSPL Foundation, “People from the grassroot level rarely ever receive recognition for the good work done by them. It is this vacuum that JSPL Foundation strives to fill by initiating a legacy from this year by the name of Rashtriya Swayamsiddh Samman to recognise and nurture talent from the grassroot level from across the country. It was heartening to see that Rashtriya Swayamsiddh Samman elicited 358 entries in its first year, an indication of the rich talent in our country.”

She further added – “The objective of the Rashtriya Swayamsiddh Samman is to bring out stories that have yet been untold. Stories of Courage, Determination and a Will to bring about a change in the society!Rashtriya Swayamsiddh Samman is an effort to salute such people and provide them with a national platform, so that others too can take inspiration from them. By making the Swayamsiddh Samman national, JSPL Foundation thus strives to form a human chain.”

Rashtriya Swayamsiddh Samman is an initiative started by JSPL Foundation – which spearheads the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) – to felicitate people for their exemplary Courage, Commitment and Confidence that has enabled them to overcome adversities and create a unique identity of their own, making them a source of inspiration for many in India.

The winners in the Individual category have stories that are truly inspirational. Some of the winners include Bhapkar Guruji, the Mountain Man from Maharashtra who has built a 40 kms path cutting across seven hills; the Glacier Man of Ladakh (Chewang Norphel) who has built artificial glaciers and solved the problem of water in the dry mountainous area; the Gujarat farmer (Patel Genabhai Darghabhai) who brought Pomegranate farming to Banaskantha and the Indore couple (Gyanendra Monica Purohit) who successfully convinced the government to open a model deaf and dumb friendly police station, a first in India.

Winners in the Organisation category include Action for Protection of Wild Animals (APOWA’s) whose mangrove conservation project has directly benefitted some 24,000 people from 42 villages in Odisha; Rescue Foundation from Maharashtra that works towards rescue, rehabilitation and repatriation of victims of human trafficking from India, Bangladesh and Nepal; Rural Health Care Foundation that runs 10 healthcare centres in West Bengal; and Sports Coaching Foundation (SCF) that aims to identify young talent (especially among the less privileged children) to groom them into promising sports stars of the future, to name a few.

The response for the award had been overwhelming and the first-ever Rashtriya Swayamsiddh Samman elicited 358 entries from across the country, in a window of 48 days from September 22, 2015 to November 10, 2015. Out of this, 203 entries had been shortlisted based on laid down parameters.

Maharashtra topped the list with 41 entries out of the 358, closely followed by Jharkhand (40), Odisha (39) and Delhi (30). Other states that sent a sizeable number of entries included Uttar Pradesh (24), Rajasthan (20), Tamil Nadu (17), Telangana (19), Bihar (16), Haryana (16), Gujarat (15), Andhra Pradesh (12) and Uttarakhand (11). Entries even came in from far-flung areas like Ladakh, Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.

The selection process was rigorous with the aim being that only the deserving gets the award. Four regional jury meetings (for South, East, West and North) were held in November 2015 in Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi respectively to shortlist the entries. Jury members comprised of experts from all walks of life who have made a mark for themselves in their respective fields.

The Regional juries recommended 43 entries to be placed before the National Jury that met on November 27, 2015 to finalise the winners. The National Jury comprised Dr. Swaroop Raval, Educationist and Social Activist and former actress; Mr Ashok Sajjanhar, Former Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia; Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Principal Scientist, CSIR Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology; ; Mr Abhishek Humbad, Co-Founder, NextGen and Ms Shallu Jindal.

The awards are being conferred in 10 categories viz. Women Empowerment, Entrepreneurship (start-ups), Education, Agriculture, Rural Development, Public Service / Social Service, Livelihood / Vocational Skills, Health, Innovation / Technology and Environment.

United Nations Global Compact Network India (UNGCN), the Indian arm of United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), was the Knowledge Partner for the awards and was responsible for earmarking the parameters and finalising the awardees.

JSPL Foundation has held such similar Swayamsiddh Samman awards previously in the states of Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand in March, May and July, 2015 respectively, states where JSPL has a significant presence. The awardees were shortlisted basis their contribution to particular Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of the JSPL Foundation that they have been a part of, how they have taken it forward and how it has changed their life. Leadership qualities and the ability to work in a team coupled with their strategies for the future were other parameters on which they were identified.