HILDREN OF COURAGE..
The National Bravery Awards: A ready reckoner
The national awards for bravery was started in 1957 by the Indian Council for Child Welfare. The award was to recognise and honour children who performed outstanding deeds of bravery and selfless sacrifice.
The first award was given in 1957, when two children — a boy and a girl — were rewarded for their presence of mind and courage.
Since then the ICCW has conferred awards on children below the age of 16, every year.
Applications for the awards are received from various sources such as the central/state government departments, panchayats, zilla parishads, school authorities as well as state and Union territory councils for child welfare.
The selection is made by a committee constituted by the ICCW, comprising representatives from the secretariats of the President and the vice-president, various ministries, as well as the Central Social Welfare Board, the police, All India Radio, Doordarshan and leading NGOs such as the National Bal Bhavan, SOS, Children’s Villages of India, R K Mission and experienced ICCW members.
The awards are announced on November 14, Children’s Day.
The awardees are subsequently invited to Delhi where the prime minister presents them with the awards on the eve of Republic Day. The children then take part in the Republic Day Parade on caprisoned elephants and call on various dignitaries.
In 1987, ICCW instituted the Bharat Award for an exceptionally outstanding, meritorious and gallant deed.
The other special awards are the Sanjay Chopra and Geeta Chopra Awards instituted in 1978. The Bapu Gayadhani award was instituted in 1988.
The awardees receive a medal, certificate and cash.
Eligible awardees are granted financial assistance until they complete their schooling under the ICCW’s sponsorship programme.
In addition, ICCW provides financial assistance under its Indira Gandhi scholarship scheme to those undertaking professional courses such as medical and engineering.
For the others, this assistance is provided till they complete their graduation.
The government has reserved some seats for the awardees in medical, engineering colleges and polytechnics.
— Basharat Peer