As the country celebrates the 149th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on 2 October 2018, the annual 'International Gandhi Peace Prize', named after Father of the Nation, has not been conferred for the last four years.
An official of the Ministry of Culture, the nodal agency which receives proposals for conferring the award, said nominations were made during the last four years for the coveted award, but an approval has been awaited. "The nominations are there, but it is difficult to say why it has been delayed," official sources said.
As a tribute to the ideals espoused by Gandhi, the Government of India launched the International Gandhi Peace Prize in 1995 on the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary. Last time, the award was conferred in 2014 to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
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The annual award is given to individuals and institutions for their contribution to social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods. The award carries Rs 1 crore (10 million) in cash, convertible in any currency in the world, a plaque and a citation. The honour is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, creed or gender.
The jury consists of the Prime Minister of India, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India and two other eminent persons who decide the awardee each year. The jury considers such proposals as have been received by the office of the Ministry of Culture up to April 30 of that year for which the award is to be given.
Official sources said ordinarily, proposals coming from competent persons invited to nominate are considered. However, a proposal is not taken as invalid for consideration by the jury merely on the ground of not having emanated from competent persons. If, however, it is considered that none of the proposals merits recognition, the jury is free to withhold the award for that year. Only achievements within 10 years immediately preceding the nomination are considered for the award; an older work may, however, be considered if its significance has not become apparent until recently. A written work, to be eligible for consideration, should have been published.
The first recipient of the award was Julius K Nyerere, former President of Tanzania in 1995, and in the next year A T Ariyaratne, Founder President of Sarvodaya Sharamadana Movement, Sri Lanka was conferred with the award. In 1997, Gerhard Fischer of Germany received the award. Rama Krishna Mission was selected for the award in 1998 and in 1999. Baba Amte has also received the prestigious award. The award was jointly given in 2000 to Nelson Mandela and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. Archbishop Desmond Tutu won the award in 2005. After a gap of eight years in 2013, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, noted environmentalist associated with Chipko Movement, received the award.