Sharad Pawar proposes Bharat Ratna for Dr Ponawalla - Hindustan Times
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Sharad Pawar proposes Bharat Ratna for Dr Ponawalla

ByVicky Pathare
Feb 15, 2024 04:34 PM IST

Dr Poonawalla, the chairman and managing director of SII, on Wednesday, was conferred with the late Dr Mohan Dharia ‘Rashtra Nirman Puraskar’ for the year 2024

Following the Serum Institute of India’s (SII) contribution to humanity and healthcare Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo, Sharad Pawar on Wednesday lauded Dr Cyrus Poonawalla’s contribution and suggested that the government award him the Bharat Ratna Award.

The award is a recognition of Dr Poonawalla’s significant contributions to national development, particularly in the field of public health through vaccine manufacturing. (HT PHOTO)
The award is a recognition of Dr Poonawalla’s significant contributions to national development, particularly in the field of public health through vaccine manufacturing. (HT PHOTO)

Dr Poonawalla, the chairman and managing director of SII, on Wednesday, was conferred with the late Dr Mohan Dharia ‘Rashtra Nirman Puraskar’ for the year 2024. The award is a recognition of Dr Poonawalla’s significant contributions to national development, particularly in the field of public health through vaccine manufacturing.

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The award ceremony was held at Balgandharva Auditorium, in the city. The ceremony was graced by former State Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chavan, Dr. Vedprakash Mishra, Chancellor of the Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Karad amongst others.

Thanking the organisers for the award, Dr Ponawalla, said, “I never dreamt Serum Institute would become the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. Without my philanthropic policy and family support, we would not been able to give vaccines at subsidised rates at the price of a cup of tea, for 10 or 20 instead of taking a couple of 100 rupees. This saved the lives of more than 30 to 50 million children and even the elderly, which we could have exploited. This in my opinion is the greatest contribution of my career and I thank my staff and family members for their support.”

Pawar lauded the contribution of Dr Poonawalla and pitched for Bharat Ratna Award to him.

“We studied together and since school, he was into various experiments to make vaccines which gave birth to SII. The institute started from a small setup and now has expanded exponentially. During the pandemic, when the number of patients increased the SII provided the life-saving serum not just to India but globally. The government has given Padma Shree, Padma Bhushan award to Dr Ponawalla for his work and now should be given Bharat Ratna award,” Pawar said.

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