As many as 770 panchayats, representing over 2000 villages from 14 states across India, proudly accepted the Nirmal Gram Puraskar from His Excellency The President of India Sri A P J Abdul Kalam at a ceremony at the Vigyan Bhavan held in Delhi on March 23. This was a giant leap forward from last year’s 40 panchayats from four states that received the award.
770 panchayats, representing over 2000 villages from 14 states across India, accepted the Nirmal Gram Puraskar from His Excellency The President of India Sri A P J Abdul Kalam
The Nirmal Gram Puraskar, including a memento, a citation and a cash prize, is given to ‘Clean’ (nirmal) villages that have achieved 100 percent sanitation and where all hygienic practices - involving appropriate hand-washing, manner of water and food storage, proper waste management and so on - are observed.
The award, which was instituted in 2003, has served as an effective motivator for many panchayats. Village panchayats receive between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 4 lakh cash award, depending on the size of population, while block panchayats are awarded between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 20 lakh, again depending on the size of population.
Congratulating the recipients of the award, His Excellency The President of India expressed joy at the momentum of the movement. Congratulating the recipients of the award, he said, “You are shining examples that all of India should follow.” Emphasising the relationship between health and other social development such as education and livelihood, and the role of hygiene and sanitation in battling disease, he said, “Disease leads to loss of employment, additional expenditure, and affects overall living standards.”
“Disease leads to loss of employment, additional expenditure, and affects overall living standards.”
The President emphasised that to ensure sustainability, sanitation and hygiene could become sources of income through activities such as construction and maintenance of toilets, manufacture of soap, and so on. Training would be an important activity in this effort, as also measures for ensuring continuous water supply, he stressed. Describing examples, he added that applying appropriate technology is also critical. Finally, he called for upholding an indomitable spirit in the effort.