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Lifetime Achievement: Mr Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UIDAI

Given away by Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission; and, Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on 25th Day of March 2013 at New Delhi

Humility, generosity, compassion and commitment are a few words that describe Nandan Nilekani. Born in a middle class family, he grew as a fine professional to lead India’s largest IT company – Infosys. But his hunger to serve the country did not satiate. He is perhaps one of the largest donors to IITMumbai that helped build the School of IT, hostels etc. but chooses to remain silent about it. It is equally difficult to find mention of half-a-billion rupees donation to Indian Institute for Human Settlement. Still, he always imagined of doing more and to start with captured his thoughts in the book – Imagining India. His dream of each citizen having an ID turned true when he was put in the drivers seat for providing an identity to each resident of India. Nandan started from scratch and put together a committed team. Having no experience of working in the government, he steered the project through thick and thin, political opposition, policy roadblocks, facing media, civil society and disparate interests but stayed firm and continued to wade through steadily and undeterred, calming all opposition.

The government now plans to use Aadhaar for direct benefits transfer using bank accounts thus in the process spurring financial inclusion. Using Aadhaar, a number of states have identified a significant number of bogus beneficiaries. For the first time in the history of India, the beneficiary databases are being updated and cleaned. There is hope for actual beneficiaries to receive real benefits.

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Women Empowerment: Ms Kirti Singh, Senior Counsel

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on 25th Day of March 2013 at New Delhi

It is not common for a lawyer to commit oneself to social issues as well. Kirti Singh is one such exception who is an activist and a practicing lawyer, intensely working for women’s rights and human rights for over three decades.

She has been instrumental in legal reforms in legislations pertaining to women and children including reforms to the laws prohibiting child marriage in India and recognition of acid attacks as a specific crime. She has been at the forefront, working with National Commission for Women, pushing for change in the laws relating to sexual assault in the Indian Penal Code and in other related laws.

She has also drafted a bill on the killings and crimes in the name of ‘Honour’ and tradition. More recently, she has been instrumental in pushing for change in laws pertaining to sexual harassment and assault. She has published an acclaimed book on economic rights and entitlements of divorced and separated women that encapsulates her lifetime’s work.

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Technology: Mr Ashok Kumar Goel, Chairman, ITZ Cash Card

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on 25th Day of March 2013 at New Delhi

It was the vision of empowering the unbanked and underbanked with an instrument, which puts them in the social and financial mainstream that encouraged Ashok Kumar Goel to diversify from his manufacturing business. He resolved to do away with the agony of long queues for money order or paying their utility bills, suffered by the common man. This resulted in the creation of ItzCash – a solution that uses ICTs to provide singlewindow service from an outlet run by an entrepreneur. Whether it is money transfer, booking a rail ticket or payment of property tax – all can be done in a jiffy without any queues or involvement of middlemen. ItzCash Card can be preloaded and used seamlessly across all ATMs, POS terminals and online – thus killing cash and fears related with carrying it. In one stroke, he provided easy access to the user and at the same time created employment opportunities for millions. There are over 300,000 outlets across 2,250 towns and cities providing these services recording over 10 million transactions per month.

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Urban Development: Mr Sudhir Krishna, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on 25th Day of March 2013 at New Delhi

In the sector of urban planning, Sudhir Krishna has been focused on improving the urban infrastructure, particularly, solid and other waste management and water supply. He, very early on, recognised the need and importance of waste to energy (WtE) that has actually resulted in several municipal corporations to examine the suitability of WtE. Under his vision, the focus is on monetising the city plan with the objective of generation of wealth and gainful employment in an inclusive and equitable manner.

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Infrastructure: Ms Isher Judge Ahluwalia, Chairperson, ICRIER

Given away by Dr C Rangarajan, Hon’ble Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister on 25th Day of March 2013 at New Delhi

As an ardent advocate of transforming the way cities are run, Isher Judge Ahluwalia has been on the forefront of arguing for strengthening urban governance. Her reports and writings have insisted for a unified mission for urban renewal and an urban utility regulator. She has prepared a framework for governance and financing for corporations, municipalities and nagar panchayats. As an ardent advocate of transforming the way cities are run, Isher Judge Ahluwalia has been on the forefront of arguing for strengthening urban governance. Her reports and writings have insisted for a unified mission for urban renewal and an urban utility regulator. She has prepared a framework for governance and financing for corporations, municipalities and nagar panchayats.

She favours rural-urban synergy and has suggested a participatory programmatic approach towards urban development. Her report on Indian Urban Infrastructure and Services seeks a comprehensive framework of urban policy and planning in addition to the introduction of a local bodies finance list in the Constitution.

Inter-municipal cooperation, corporatisation and levying of user charges like water and sewerage separately are few of her suggestions that are being pursued by some of the local bodies. She believes that it is important to shift the focus from bridging the deficit in infrastructure investment to ensure service delivery on a sustainable basis.

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ICT: Mr R Chandrashekhar, Secretary Telecom and Chairman (TC), Department of Telecommunications

Given away by Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission on 25th Day of March 2013 at New Delhi

ICT in India today has become synonymous with R Chandrashekhar’s name. He took over the Department of Telecom during turbulent times but handled it very deftly. Taking cognisance of the need for a holistic policy framework spanning telecom, information technology and electronics he swiftly worked on a triad of policies to drive the national agenda for ICTE.

He has modified the USOF strategy to enable last-mile connectivity. This has resulted in creation of Bharat Broadband Network aiming to link 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats via optic fibre network. Being a believer in public-private-partnership (PPP) he has invited private players also to partner in this. Citizen centricity has been at the core of all that he does. It was under his direction that State Wide Area Networks and State Data Centres were set up that are being widely used to deliver citizen services. The MCA-21 project – stemmed from his vision of making company registration and tax filing completely seamless and paperless thus eliminating discretion from the system.

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Marginalised Empowerment: Ms Syeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission

Given away by Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission on 25th Day of March 2013 at New Delhi

She has devoted her lifetime to promote the cause of the marginalised. She has worked incessantly towards the eradication of all manifestations of caste discrimination, caste violence, SC and ST discrimination and the elimination of manual scavenging while working to create a public understanding of equality, rights and dignity.

Her career demonstrates a long-standing commitment to sustainable development and education of women, particularly Muslim women in India and South Asia. She is Syeda Hameed, who, tirelessly for last three decades, has furthered the cause of the marginalised and gender.

She has been actively involved in several grassroots organisations to get a first hand feel that is reflective of her work at the Planning Commission, particularly the 12th Five Year Plan. This has inaugurated an era of zero-tolerance for caste-based discrimination against SC and ST women. Gender mainstreaming and development has been the core of her work.

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Health: Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya

Given away by Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission on 25th Day of March 2013 at New Delhi

Devi Prasad Shetty is redefining healthcare services in India. He has pioneered the concept of low-cost cardiac care wherein an open-heart surgery can be performed at as low as Rs 75,000 – nearly one-fourth the cost of doing so in a corporate hospital. It is no magic or miracle but just innovation.

Shetty, a decade ago, convinced the Karnataka Government to launch a microhealth insurance called Yeshaswini and convinced 1.7 million farmers to contribute Rs 5 per month and the state government became a reinsurer by paying Rs 2.5 only. With that scheme Shetty networked with 400 hospitals across the state where these farmers could get a heart or brain operation. The number today has swelled to 4 million thus further reducing the cost of surgeries. Narayana Hrudayalaya in Bangalore runs one-of-its-kind pediatric cardiac unit – also the largest - with capacity to perform over 60 cardiac surgeries in a day. With a target to serve towns with population below one million, Shetty is now building 100 low-cost hospitals. The first of these has been built in Mysore.