New Delhi: On the occasion of International Women’s Day on Friday, President Ram Nath Kovind will present the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2018, the highest civilian honour for women in India, at a special ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

To acknowledge women's achievements, the ministry of women and child development confers Nari Shakti Puraskar on women and institutions in recognition of their relentless service towards the cause of women empowerment and social welfare. This year, 44 awardees have been selected for these Puraskars, out of around a 1,000 nominations received by the ministry.

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The minister for women and child development, Maneka Gandhi said, “All the awardees are a face of change, reflecting the shift in the status of women in the country, from women development to women-led development. I congratulate all of them for their achievements. I would like to highlight that for these awards we received several nominations from all over the country across all the sectors.”

“No field has been left untouched, where women have not left their indelible mark, making women the leading force of our development trajectory. I thank all concerned for sending nominations and letting us know about the remarkable work of women of our country. I appreciate the contribution of each one of them and hope that they will continue working for the cause of a better society,” she added.

One stop centres (OSC) for violence-affected women

This year, the Nari Shakti Puraskar has also been awarded to a One Stop Centre (OSC) and to a state which has shown exceptional progress in improving child sex ratio at birth under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme. The Ministry of women and child development is establishing OSCs for violence-affected women in all districts of the country.

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OSCs are being developed to provide 24x7 integrated services to women affected by violence under one roof, including handholding them in filing of FIRs, providing them legal aid, medical aid, psycho-social counselling and temporary shelter up to five days. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is a flagship initiative of the Prime Minister touching women rights and women empowerment at the most initial foundational stage of their lives.

For the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2018, wide publicity was done through advertisements in leading newspapers across the country for inviting nominations. Nominations were invited from state governments/union territories/Central ministries/departments and from the previous years’ awardees (2015-2017). Self-nominations were also welcomed.

While making the selection from the nominations their contribution in empowering vulnerable and marginalised women was taken into account. Further, efforts were also made to include women who have contributed to spheres and issues which have gained utmost importance and focused attention in the last few years.

Awardees contributed in unique ways to society

This year, among the awardees are scientists, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, social workers, farmers, artists, masons, woman marine pilot, woman commando trainer, journalists and film-makers and many others, who have faced their own unique challenges, but have not been deterred from achieving their dreams. The awardees have contributed in their unique ways to the society, impacting lives of people and are role models and inspirations to many others.

The government of India believes that empowering women is empowering the nation. The ministry of women and child development reaffirms its commitment to empowering women by making them an integral part of the nation’s developmental journey. The ministry said it salutes the exceptional strength of Nari Shakti Puraskar awardees, who are role models for generations to follow.