President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday conferred the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2020 to 49 children at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.

The Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar are given under the revamped award scheme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India.

Eleven-year-old Aparna Chandrasekaran was awarded the Pradhan Mantri Bal Shakti Puraskar 2020 for her achievement in the innovation category. Aparna Chandrasekaran is a student of class 6, Maharishi Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Hosur, Tamil Nadu.

Aparna has an extraordinary creative bent of mind that has fetched her many international and national awards before this. In 2017 she bagged the IGNITE award from the then President Pranab Mukerjee for innovation of self-defence watch.

She also represented India at ASEAN INDIA PUSPITEK INNOVATION FESTIVAL held in Indonesia where she was the youngest innovator. Also, she participated in grassroots innovation competition there and stood at 7th place.

She was awarded Junior Einstein Finalist at IEEE Yesist 2019 held at Hua Hin, Thailand for her project: Early diagnosis of Dysgraphia in Children (JO). Dysgraphia is a writing disorder associated with impaired handwriting in children which will continue even at the early stage if not taken care of.

“I am thrilled to be a winner. I will also participate in the dress rehearsal and the Republic Day parade this year, also interact with the PM and dignitaries,” said Aparna Chandrasekaran, the youngest girl awardee while talking to The Statesman.

The earlier national awards for National Children Awards were revamped in 2018 as Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar and are given under two categories.

The Bal Shakti Puraskar is given by the Government of India every year to recognize exceptional achievements of children in various fields i.e., innovation, scholastic achievements, social service, arts & culture, sports, and bravery. Bal Shakti Puraskar carries a medal, a cash prize of Rs 1, 00, 000, one tablet, a certificate, and a citation. These children will participate in the Republic Day parade on 26.1.2020.

To recognize the contribution of dedicated individuals and institutions, whose tireless efforts complement the actions taken by the Government of India for the welfare of children, the Bal Kalyan Puraskar was instituted and is given in two categories – Individual and Institution. The award for individual consists of a cash prize of Rs 1, 00, 000, a medal, a citation, and a certificate to each awardee. The award for institution consists of a prize of Rs 5, 00, 000 each, a medal, a citation, and a certificate.

The awardees were chosen by the National Selection Committee under the Chairpersonship of Smriti Irani, Minister of Women and Child Development.