About 13,000 signed online petition for Dr V Kurien's Bharat Ratna, PMO says received just 23!
About 13,000 people have signed an online petition demanding Bharat Ratna for Dr V Kurien, the country's milkman. All these petitions were sent to president Pranab Mukherjee and all members of the Padma Awards Committee. However, according to an RTI reply, the PMO has received just 23 petitions in favour of Dr Kurien
An online petition seeking Bharat Ratna for Dr Verghese Kurien, India's milkman has so been signed by 12,969 people, including prominent personalities like Shekhar Kapur, Rajdeep Sardesai, Meera Sanyal and Nirmala Kurien, the daughter of Dr Kurien. However, according to an article in the Economic Times, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has received just 23 petitions in favour of the milkman. This also raises big question on the selection procedure for the awards whether it is done by the president, the Padma Awards Committee or just by the prime minister. The irony is, on one hand the government wants the aam aadmi to pay all taxes online but on the other hand, does not even seem to consider an email petition signed by thousands of people.
The petition on Change.org (http://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/bharat-ratna-for-verghese-kurien-india-s-milkman ) is addressed to Pranab Mukherjee, president of India. Every time somebody signs the petition, the president receives an email. The same mail goes to other members of the Padma Awards Committee like Jamshed N Godrej, Amal Allana, Leela Sampson (chairperson, Sangeet Natak Adademy), Dr R Chidambaram (principal scientific advisor to Govt of India), Pulok Chatterjee (principal secretary to the PM), Omita Paul (secretary to the president), Ajit Kumar Seth (cabinet secretary), RK Singh (home secretary) and Girish Karnad.
While the Committee is supposed to recommend names for the awards, it appears that their views and recommendation may not be considered by the decision makers. It is said that the PMO takes a call on the name of awardees including for Bharat Ratna and the Padma awards. According to Wikipedia, the recommendations for Bharat Ratna are to be made by the prime minister to the president.
Coming back to the online petition, it received support from all over India and from abroad too—cutting across all geographical, religious and ethnic boundaries. Some people who had signed on the online petition have even forwarded it to Sonia Gandhi, the chairperson of United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
After receiving support from over 10,000 people for the online petition, @ManyuShakti put it on twitter: Happy to hear that finally 10,000 squirrels built a bridge to reach Rashtrapathi Bhavan to submit Bharat Ratna petition :-)
According to a reply received by the newspaper from the PMO under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the petition in favour of Dr Kurien, the winner of the World Food Prize and the Magsaysay Award and celebrated around the world for his contributions in making India self sufficient in milk and edible oil, even topped those for cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. It says, while Dr Kurien received 23 recommendations, Tendulkar, on the other hand received 20.
The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the prime minister to the president. No formal recommendations for this are necessary.
So far, India awarded Bharat Ratna to 41 people. The last time, it was awarded to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi in 2008.
In 2011, the Government of India modified the eligibility criteria to allow sportspersons to receive the award and opened the award for performance of highest order in any field of human endeavour from the earlier criteria for the highest degrees of national service. This service includes artistic, literary, and scientific achievements, as well as recognition of public service of the highest order.
Here are 10 reasons why India must recognize Verghese Kurien’s contribution with a Bharat Ratna
1. His breadth of vision was stunning. No matter how familiar we may be with his work it is awe-inspiring: He transformed India from a milk-deficit country to the world’s largest milk producer and did it through the cooperative route so that women and small farmers were empowered and found an additional source of revenue to augment their farm income.
2. In doing so he brightened the future of a millions of children by ensuring they had access to milk in when they needed it the most, in their childhood.
3. Operation Flood or the White Revolution worked, not because it was a social experiment, but because of Dr Kurien’s shrewdness and strategic vision in creating a national marketing machine that matched wits with the best multinationals.
4. It also worked because he built Amul into one of India’s biggest brands since independence. Its mascot, the Amul girl has charmed the nation for half a century.
5. Dr Kurien had the ability to recognize and nurture the finest talent and give them room to deliver—he did this with his advertising agency, to create an iconic outdoor campaign with the “utterly butterly Amul” tagline. It comments on everyday events.
6. In building Amul, Dr Kurien demonstrated that efficiency isn’t dependent on profit motive alone, as is the modern belief. He remained unaffected by the mountain of money that he controlled in the 1970s and 1980s—over Rs 2,000 crore in liquid cash at one stage.
7. Importantly, Dr Kurien’s genius at the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) and the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and the creation of an iconic brand in Amul happened in a closed and highly restrictive economy.
8. India has no other brand of a similar stature even from the private sector in the 50 years since Amul or even in the 20 years after economic liberalization.
9. History will remember Dr Kurien as India’s real Bharat Ratna because no individual has impacted the lives of ordinary and rural Indians the way he did in the last 50 years.
10. By giving Dr Kurien the recognition that he richly deserves, the government will demonstrate that our highest civilian award goes to a person who has truly lived up to the socialist ideals that India embraced at independence.