Vice-President of India M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said a new tradition has been set in recognising the real talent and grass roots level people who impacted the society in bestowing the Padma awards. “I am very much impressed by the way the Padma awards are being given. It is a new honour to the Padma awards itself. I appreciate the Government of India, particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for doing an excellent work in this regard,” Venkaiah Naidu said.
The Vice-President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday attended the 20th anniversary celebrations of Swarna Bharat Trust in Venkatachalam in SPS Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. Earlier in his address, the Home Minister referred to the Padma awards and said they were now being given in a democratic and transparent manner.
“As Home Minister I had studied how the Padma awards were given in previous years. Previously, mostly those people in the sphere of influence of the ruling party used to get the awards. You couldn’t even imagine the award without any recommendation, be it from the MP, Minister or the Chief Minister. But now, one applies online and the awards are given purely on merit,” Shah said.
“Be it Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan or Bharat Ratna, the awards were earlier given only on recommendation, People who worked in the field for the betterment of the society, the progress of the country and alleviation of problems are now being bestowed the awards. Ground level people who rendered yeoman service are recognised and honoured,” the Home Minister noted.
“The case of a poor woman from a remote village in Karnataka is a shining example. She planted and grew 35,000 trees over the years. She did not even wear footwear but has been awarded the Padma Shri this year. That’s how the Padma awards are now given on merit,” the Home Minister pointed out.
Hailing the activities of the Swarna Bharat Trust and the efforts of Venkaiah Naidu, Shah noted that if any person could take up such programmes in ones own village, every village in the country could get transformed.
The Home Minister lavished praise on Venkaiah Naidu saying the latter set an example as a model custodian of the Constitution. From an MLA, Venkaiah ji donned many roles MP, Union Minister, BJP national president and now Vice-President. In each role he made a significant contribution, Shah observed.
Shah recalled that he was only a general secretary of BJP’s district unit (in Gujarat) when Venkaiah Naidu was the party’s national president. “It was a difficult time when he became the party president. As BJP president, Venkaiah ji adopted a back-to-the-basics approach and that helped the party’s graph shoot up ever since,” the Home Minister pointed out.
“I was also fortunate to become president of BJP later,” he added. Speaking on the occasion, the Vice-President said seva’ (service) was the real religion.
The main objective of religion is service. Service is as virtuous as going to a temple. Nothing gives more happiness and contentment than service, Venkaiah Naidu remarked. Venkaiah Naidu stressed on the need for reducing the divide between rural and urban areas.
Agriculture is the basic culture of our country. We need to focus more on welfare of farmers. The future of the country is the youth and we need to nurture them. And, empowerment of women, who constitute half of our population, is also vital, he added.
The Swarna Bharat Trust was established by Venkaiah Naidu in the year 2001 and is engaged in farmer, women and youth empowerment activities. He expressed happiness that the Trust has helped changes the lives of scores of farmers, women and youth over the years.
Former Minister and Trust Chairman Kamineni Srinivas and others attended the event.