New Delhi: Journalist Tongam Rina wins the Indian of the Year 2014 for public service. She is the Associate Editor of Arunachal Times and was shot at close range for writing against the endemic corruption in her state.
Recovered from her injuries, she continues her journalism of courage highlighting how hydro-dams and tribal fault lines are tearing Arunachal Pradesh apart. She is the only Indian journalist to have found a place in the list of '100 Information Heroes' released by 'Reporters Without Borders' this year.
This is the ninth edition of the awards which were introduced in 2006. The awards adhere to a robust procedure in selecting the awardees which is finalised by a Jury consisting of a select group of distinguished personalities.
The jury consists of Padma Vibhushan Soli Jehangir Sorabjee, Padma Bhushan Deepak S Parekh, Padma Shri Mohanlal Viswanathan Nair, Padma Shri Kiran Karnik and tennis ace Leander Paes
Other nominees were:
Azim Premji: The famously reclusive Chairperson of WIPRO, he launched the Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative this year to fund non-profit organisations working in key areas like nutrition, disabilities and governance. An engineering graduate from Stanford, Premji has given away more than $4 billion in the last four years, making him one of India's biggest philanthropists.
Dr MR Rajagopal: Considered the father of palliative care in India, he has campaigned tirelessly to let millions in pain get access to morphine. His efforts saw the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act that restricted the use of the painkiller get amended this year. He has also been honoured by the Human rights Watch for his efforts to defend the right of patients with severe pain to live and die with dignity.
Indian Army & NDRF: It was all boots on the ground for the Indian Army & the NDRF when the worst floods in 100 years devastated Jammu and Kashmir. A force previously seen as hostile by Kashmiris won many hearts as it worked tirelessly to rescue people. Along with the Indian Army the NDRF contributed its bit by rescuing thousands of people and distributed tonnes of relief material during the J&K deluge.
P Vijayan: The IPS officer is the force behind the Student Police Cadet Project that started in Kerala and is now set to go national. The project trains high school students to respect the law and develop empathy for vulnerable sections of society. His own journey from a child labourer to an IPS officer is not just an inspiration to many, it has also motivated him to initiate several novel schemes to promote education among poor children.
Sulabh International Social Service Organisation: An organisation that has been working to improve the nations cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene years before PM Narendra Modi made Swachh Bharat a national priority. Sulabh International led by its founder Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak kickstarted the Toilet for every house' campaign this August, believing that toilets are a tool to social change. Today almost 15 million people across the country use toilets based on Sulabh International's low cost design.