24 children below the age of 16 years receive the awards every year and the awards are given on the occasion of Children's Day that is on 14th November. The Government of India incepted the award in the year 1957 and total 756 children have been awarded, so far. Out of these children, 541 are boys and the rest 215 are girls. In the year 2009, 21 children were conferred with the National Bravery Awards.
History of National Bravery Award
The National Bravery Award was a brainchild of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who thought about it on 2nd October, 1957, while watching a performance at Delhi's Ramlila grounds, at the Red Fort. An accident occurred in that programme, when a fire broke out in a 'shamiana', due to a short circuit. A 14 year-old scout, named Harish Chandra reacted bravely at that time and he instantly ripped open the burning shamiana, using his knife. This boy saved hundreds of people who were trapped inside. Pandit Nehru was stunned and inspired with the brave act of that child and he instructed the authorities to constitute an award to honour brave children from all over the country. Action was taken immediately and Harish Chandra became the first one to receive this award on 4th February, 1989. The tradition has continued since then thanks to the efforts of Indian Council for Child Welfare or ICCW and the last award was given in the year 2009. The Government of India has also released a commemorative book titled 'Brave Hearts' in 2001 that features the winners of the 1999 National Bravery Awards. The Geeta Chopra Award and Sanjay Chopra Award were founded in the year 1978 to commemorate the two Chopra kids who died while resisting the attacks of their kidnappers. The Geeta awards and Sanjay awards are granted to girl and boys for their acts of boldness. In 1987, the Bharat Award was established while the Bapu Gaidhani Award was founded in the year 1988.
Selection Process of National Bravery Award
The selection of the National Bravery Awards winners is made from the applications received from different sources like the Central or State Government departments, Panchayats, Zilla Parishad (District Councils), School Authorities and also from the State and Union Territory Councils for child welfare. The Indian Council for Child Welfare constitutes a special committee for the selection of the awardees. However, the applications should be received by the ICCW within 30th September for the perfect eligibility of the candidates for these awards. The committee comprises representatives from the secretariats of the President and the Vice- President, various Government Ministries and Departments and also representatives from the Central Social Welfare Board, the Indian Police, All India Radio, Doordarshan, etc. Some of the leading NGOs in India like the National Bal Bhavan, SOS Children's villages of India, Ramakrishna Mission, also have their representatives in the committee and the senior ICCW members also share their opinions about the selection.
Ceremony of National Bravery Award
The National Bravery Awards were declared on 14th November, which constitutes the Children's Day. Later the awards were given by the prime minister on the eve of the Republic Day and before this event the President of India holds a reception in the honour of the awardees. Here, the children are permitted to interact with the media. The children awardees take part in the Republic Day Parade on 26th January, which is the Indian Republic Day, Delhi.
Awardees of National Bravery Award
The recipients of the National Bravery Awards get a medal, a certificate and also cash award. The Bharat Awardees receive a gold medal, while the other awardees receive silver medals. The Government of India also provides financial aid to the awardees to complete their schooling, without any hindrances. This financial assistance is given as a part of the sponsorship program of the Indian Council for Child Welfare and the Government of India also help the children to pursue specialized courses like medical and engineering, under the Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme. Reservation of some seats in Medical and Engineering Colleges and Polytechnics for the winners of the award has also been announced by the Government of India in the year 2009. Some of the recipients of the awards continue to get support from the government, till they complete their graduation.
The names of the award winning children are announced on 14th of November, every year and the children receive the award from the Prime Minister of the country, on a later date. A reception is also organized in their honour by the President of India and they take part in the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath, Delhi, on 26th January, as well.
Sanjay Chopra Award
Geeta Chopra Award
Bapu Gaidhani Award