Eleven parliamentarians - six from the Lok Sabha and five from the Rajya Sabha - were awarded the annual Parliamentarians' Group for Children Awards, in a virtual ceremony on Thursday.
The Parliamentarians' Group of Children (PGC) is a platform that convenes, informs and engages MPs on issues of children's rights, and the award recognises the work of MPs who have contributed significantly towards improving the lives of children in India through legislative and constituency level action.
The recipients from the Lok Sabha are Rahul Ramesh Shewale (Shiv Sena), Vishnu Dayal Ram, and Sudhakar Tukaram Shrangre (both BJP), Geetha Viswanath Vanga and Goddeti Madhavi (both YSR Congress Party) and S. Jothimani (Congress).
Those from the upper house are Tiruchi Siva (DMK), Dr Amee Yajnik (Congress), Dr Ashok Bajpai (BJP), Ravindra Kumar Kanakmedala (TDP) and Dr Fauzia Khan (NCP).
PGC Chairperson Gaurav Gogoi, convenors Vandana Chavan and Dr. Heena Gavit, UNICEF India Representative Yasumasa Kimura attended the virtual event.
"As parliamentarians, we can make an impact by not just highlighting children-related issues but also working towards fulfilling their rights. Today, children are exceptionally aware about their rights and as parliamentarians we must give their opinions a greater importance," Gogoi said, urging the parliamentarians to include children from their constituencies in the policymaking process.
"This will go a long way in increasing the children's social and political awareness as well as provide a platform for them to present their ideas, demands and concerns to us. Going ahead, we must put our more sincere energies in working towards the same," he added.
Kimura said that it has been a difficult and challenging year of the pandemic, especially for children. Social-economic recovery in pandemic times must be child-centric and Parliamentarians are uniquely placed to take these issues to the Parliament for highest level discussion and policy action, he said.
"Children rely on your support to take India forward to the next level," he added.