The adage that fortune favours the brave rings a lot truer this year, going by an estimated three-fold increase in the cash amount that 24 children from across the country will receive on January 23 as part of the National Bravery Awards for 2011.
The winners' names were announced on Wednesday by the Indian Council for Child Welfare, which oversees the initiative that recognises deeds of bravery by Generation Next.
The most-coveted Bharat Award will be conferred posthumously on 15-year-old Kapil Negi, who helped his classmates cross a flooded stream. His parents, Anita and Virender Negi, will receive an amount of Rs 50,000. Till last year, the recipient used to get Rs 15,000 in this category.
The Bapu Gaidhani Award goes to Uma Shankar, a Class 10 student from Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, New Police Lines, Kingsway Camp, Delhi, for rescuing people caught in a bus mishap and providing them with medical aid. He will receive Rs 24,000, a quantum jump compared to last year's prize money of Rs 10,000 in this category.
Speaking to a large number of reporters, the elated 14-year- old expressed the desire to "become an ideal citizen and to serve the country". On the professional front, Shankar aspires to be an engineer. Shankar further said he would ask his father to invest the prize amount so that he can use it for higher education later.
Asked how he would feel on Monday, when he receives the award, pat came the reply: "The joy I felt by serving those who were caught in the bus accident was much more than what I would feel when I receive this award. I want to continue serving the people and the country."
Anjali Singh Gautam from Chhattisgarh and Adithya Gopal from Arunachal Pradesh will also receive the Bapu Gaidhani Award posthumously. Mittal Patadiya from Gujarat and Om Prakash Yadav from Uttar Pradesh will receive the Geeta Chopra and Sanjay Chopra Awards, which include a cash prize of Rs 40,000 each respectively. The amount given to awardees till last year was Rs 10,000 in the category.