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Nari Shakti Puraskar 2017- List of Awardees

Published on March 11, 2018
On the occasion of International Women's Day, the President of India,Sh. Ram Nath Kovind presented Nari Shakti Puraskar to 39 women who were honoured for their services towards women empowerment and society.

  • The awards are given in the field of science sports, arts, social work, education, conservation, security, handcrafts and defence. It includes a certificate and cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh
  • These awardees included  ISRO scientists, first-ever women troupe of Kathakali dancers, India's first female graphic novelist, survivors of acid attack and trafficking, environment and animal activists, among others.

About Nari Shakti Puraskar

The government of India confers the "Highest Civilian Honor for Women" on International Women’s Day, 8th March, every year by presenting "Nari Shakti Puraskars". The award acknowledges and recognizes the services of individuals and institutions who have made a lasting contribution to women’s empowerment. Through Nari Shakti Puraskar, Government of India reaffirms its commitment towards strengthening women's position in the society.


Jayamma Bhandari

 Jayamma Bhandari has been working for over 20 years to rehabilitate sex workers. She has rehabilitated over 1,000 sex workers and supports around 3,500 other sex workers.

K Syamlakumari

K. Syamalakumari is the first known female temple Mural Artist in Kerala. Traditionally, painting on temple walls is dominated by males. Syamalakumari has painted, preserved and restored traditional Mural Art in the temples of Kerala.


Vanastree is a women-run seed saving collective in the Malnad region of the Western Ghats in
Southern India. It is working in 15 villages and promotes forest biodiversity and food security
through conservation of traditional seeds. 

Gargi Gupta

She founded ‘Voice of World’ NGO in 1992, which works for visually impairedand differently-abled orphaned children in Eastern India.

Dr Sindutai Sapkal

Sindhutai Sapkal has set up five large homes across Maharashtra for orphans by raising money through public lectures and private donation, the largest of which in Hadapsar Pune has 300 orphans in it. She also helps widows who are thrown out of their families.

Beti Zindabad Bakery

Chhattisgarh government has come up with a unique initiative of setting-up a bakery unit for survivors of human trafficking, as its pilot project under flagship of "Beti Zindabad" campaign in Jashpur.

Sabarmatee Tiki

SabarmateeTiki is a scholar, conservationist and founder of Sambhav, an NGO that runs large organic and training farms near Bhubaneswar in Odisha. She works with local communities for the restoration of forests and regeneration of wasteland. She has converted 90 acres of barren land into jungles and has conserved and increased production of 452 indigenous variety of rice.

Mittal Patel

Ms. Mittal Patel has done extensive work for the rights of nomadic and de-notified tribes of
India. She is the founder of VichartaSamudaySamarthanManch (VSSM) in Ahmedabad.

Dr. S Siva Sathya

Dr. S. Siva Sathya developed a mobile app, MITRA (Mobile Initiated Tracking & Rescue Application) in 2015 which is a customized SOS application for the Puducherry region. The app is now being used by Puducherry Police since 2016. 

Dr. Lizymol Phillipose

Dr. LizymolPhiliposePamadykandathil is a scientist with three decades of experience in the field of polymers and biomaterials. One of her major breakthroughs has been the development of a novel Bioactive bone cement

Chirom Indira

Urmil Balwant Apte: Urmila Balawant Apte is an advocate of women's rights and has spent decades working for the cause of gender equality. She founded the BhartiyaStree Shakti in 1988 where she worked to eradicate discrimination at all levels and recognise women's contribution to the family and nation-building.

Deepika Kundaji

Purnima Barman: Purnima Barman is a wildlife biologist who has been making tremendous efforts to protect an endangered stork called 'Hargilla'. Around 1,200 of these birds remain today and about 800 of them reside in Assam.

Dr. Anita Bhardwaj

With 88 doctors, para-medicals and social workers, her team has undertaken rescue operations during the Uttarakhand Flood, Nepal Earthquake and ShriAmarnathYatra. Her team operates from the height of 24,500 feet and has been successful in saving the lives of 5600 women and children, till date. They have also provided treatment to 53,889 victims on high altitudes.

Dr. Bharti Kashyap

Dr. BhartiKashyap has dedicated her life for the well-being of women and children in the tribal areas of Jharkhand. She has founded an eye-care hospital in Ranchi which conducts free eye camps for children in Jharkhand where she has screened 17 lakh school children so far.

Ms. Ambica Beri

Ambica Beri has singlehandedly established Art Ichol, India’s only permanent creative retreat for artists, writer and sculptors in Ichal, a small village 140 km from Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh).

Gauri Maulekhi

Ms. Gauri Maulekhi has contributed to animal welfare advocacy in India. She has been the key person to get world’s largest mass religious slaughter of animals stopped at Gadhimai in Nepal. During the Kedarnath floods, she led a small group to evacuate more than 6,000 animals from the disaster region. 

Aranya Naturals

Aranya Naturals, based in Munnar, seeks to preserve a unique repository of community heritage. Set up in 1994, they have been working for 20 years to produce non toxicnatural dyes based on nature’s discards – fallen leaves, flowers, seeds, nuts, tea and coffee waste.

Pushpa Girimaji

Ms. PushpaGirimaji, is India’s best known journalist on consumer affairs. As a consumer safety advocate, she has been responsible for bringing the consumer movement tomedia attention in India.

AVANI Organisation

Rashmi Bharati and Rajneesh Jain in 1997, AVANI in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, is a community built on the principles of sustainability and community-centric rural development programmes.


In 1969 Kutch was in the grip of drought. MrsChandaShroff visited Dhaneti village in Kutch to help run a free kitchen. In the exquisite embroidery on their clothing, she saw a way to enable them to earn a sustainable and dignified livelihood.

Dr CK Dugra: 

Dr C.K. Durga has contributed immensely in the field of women's health through her extensive research on Breast Cancer. Dr Durga developed a path-breaking technique in Breast Cancer Surgery, wherein the cancer is surgically removed and a new breast is constructed simultaneously using the native tissue of the patient herself. 

Rekha Mishra

 In 2015, being posted with the Women Security wing of Mumbai division, she undertook extensive campaigns at railway stations to raise awareness among women about precautions to be taken and how to approach 182 Helpline for round-the-clock service. She also led the Mahila Shakti Team of the Mumbai Railway division. 

Thinlas Chorol

Ms.Thinlas Chorol founded the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company at the age of 29 and it is the first women-owned and operated a company in Ladakh. 

Mehvish Mushtaq

Ms. Mehvish Mushtaq has the distinction of developing the first-ever Android application for Kashmir called ‘Dial Kashmir’. The app provides detailed information of essential addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of services, government and non-government organisations and individuals in Kashmir.

Karuna Society for animals and nature

Clementein Pauws Koenegras came to India from Belgian with her husband and son to the SatyaSai Baba ashram in Puttaparthi. Moved by the animal suffering she saw, she formed a group with other devotees and started looking after street animals. She formed a group in 2000 called Karuna Society for Animals and Nature and built a hospital and shelter in Anantapur district. 

Navika Sagar Parikarma- INSV Tarini

The crew of the Indian Navy Sailing Vessel 'Tarini' is a part of the Indian Navy’s unique project 'Navika Sagar Parikrama', an all-women team circumnavigating the globe, promoting ocean sailing activities in the Navy and depicting Government of India's commitment towards women empowerment. 

One Stop Centre- Raipur

One Stop Centre (OSC) -- "Sakhi" -- in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, provides 24/7 integrated services to women affected by violence, under one roof. About 1,840 women have availed services at the centre, till date.

Millet Network of India

National Millet Sister Network is a first of its kind group launched by 100 women from nine states to provide knowledge to women in the area of millet farming. Set up eight years ago in league with the Millet Network of India, over 5,000 women from across the country are part of this network that enhances the cultivation of millet crops and increases the production and use of natural fertilizers like farmyard manure, vermicompost and panchgavya which they produce, use and sell. 

State of Punjab

In Punjab, as per the data received from the Health Management Information System for 2015-16 to 2016-17, in the selected 20 districts, remarkable progress has been seen in the percentage of institutional deliveries. The Sex Ratio at Birth has shown an improving trend in 14 districts. The exemplary initiatives of various districts have inspired other states to follow suit. In Tarn district, 'menstrual hygiene management' was promoted in all the sub-divisions of the district during Children’s Day

Madhu Jain

Madhu Jain is a Craft and revivalist Textile who has been working for thirty years to revive ikat techniques and bamboo fibres. She has been a frontrunner in Indian Textile Innovation. She was instrumental in reviving the Naksha – Kantha embroideries and Dacca Muslim in collaboration with Brac in Bangladesh. 

Jetsuna Pema

Ms. Jetsun Pema has dedicated her life for Tibetan refugee children since 1964. With the assistance of the Government of India and other philanthropic organizations, Ms. Pema established a total of 10 residential schools, 17 day schools, 3 vocational training institutes, 3 hostels for college students and 1 college spread across India. 

MS Sunil

She has built 83 homes for destitute people. Each home has an area of 450 sq. ft. with one bedroom, a hall, kitchen and a toilet. The roof is made of galvanized iron sheets. The average time required to build these homes is 35 days.

Sheela Balaji

Between 1960 and now, of the 1,10,000 lakh varieties of rice, only a few thousand now survive. For SheelaBalaji, Chairperson and Managing Trustee of NGO AIM For Seva, this variety was something she wanted to bring back. So she not only grew these lost gems but also made sure that people could taste them and encourage farmers to grow them once again.

Dr Malvika Iyer

Dr.Malvika Iyer lost her hands to a freak bomb explosion in Bikaner. She also sustained multiple fractures on her legs and nerve paralysis. In two years she had multiple surgeries and it took her several years to walk again. Today she is a Ph.D. Scholar with an M.Phil in Social Work, an international motivational speaker and a disability rights activity. 

Revanna Umadevi Nagraj

She has emerged as the female world champion in billiards.  Her dedication to the game led her to her first National Championship in 2002, which she won to the surprise of many. She went on to participate in a number of World Championships in 2003, 2004 and 2011. In 2012, she won the Women's Billiards and Snooker World Championship in UK. 

Anuradha Krishnamoorthy and Namrata Sundaresan

Anuradha Krishnamoorthy and Namrata Sundaresan of Chennai have founded an enterprise called Kase which produces 20 varieties of unique artisanal cheese. Kase is asocial enterprise and is produced by women with disabilities

Justice Geeta Mittal

Justice Mittal as a judge of the Delhi High Court spearheaded the Vulnerable Witness Project. It emerged as an unparalleled example of jurisprudential intervention and judicial leadership in which the legal and institutional barriers for access to justice to women were removed.
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