New Delhi: To honour the invaluable contribution of women in our society, President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave away Nari Shakti awards to several exceptional women at a function in Rashtrapati Bhawan to mark the occasion of International Women’s Day.
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The Nari Shakti awards are given annually to individuals, groups, institutions in recognition of their exceptional work towards the cause of women empowerment, especially for vulnerable and marginalised women. The award carries Rs 1 lakh and a citation. Also Read - Women's Day: Pune Man Who Adopted A Child With Down Syndrome to Get 'Best Mommy of the World' Award

Ahead of the ceremony, President Kovind said everyone should pledge to ensure safety and respect for women so that they can move forward in the direction of fulfilling their hopes and aspirations.

Here are the recipients of Nari Shakti Purushkar this year:

Bina Devi

Hailing from Bihar, Bina Devi, known as ‘Mushroom Mahila’ received the Nari Shakti award for popularising mushroom cultivation. She was also ‘Sarpanch’ of Dhauri Panchayat, Tetiabamber block for 5 years.

Anshu Jamsenpa

This Arunachalee climber holds the record for climbing Mount Everest for a record five times. Earlier, Jamsenpa had scaled the Mount Everest twice within 10 days in May 2011 before again climbing the highest peak on May 18 in 2013.

The 37-year-old, a mother of two, further stated that her family always motivates her and serve as a guiding spirit.

Sangeeta Kumari and Sushmita Kumari

Both Sangeeta Kumari and Sushmita Kumai, who hail from Patna, Bihar drive autorickshaws at the airport.

Ahead of the felicitation ceremony, they said, ”One has to work hard to solve one’s problems. We feel proud that we earn a living for ourselves. We urge PM to provide all possible support to women to encourage them to work independently”.

Arfa Jan

Arfa Jan who hails from Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar was awarded for her role in the revival of dying crafts of the State. She says, “With support from my father and husband, I have been able to fight the conservative society & reach this point”.

Man Kaur

Centenarian sprinter Man Kaur was conferred the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar for her exceptional contribution towards women empowerment. 104-year-old Kaur bagged over 30 medals in track and field events across the globe.

Dubbed the “Miracle Mom from Chandigarh”, Kaur had earlier said, “I will continue to run and take part in competitions as long as I can. It gives me a lot of happiness when I run.

Mohana Jitarwal, Avani Chaturvedi and Bhawana Kanth

This exceptional trio made history by becoming IAF’s first women fighter pilots.


Bhudevi from Telangana received the ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar’ from the President today, for helping women in tribal areas develop entrepreneurship.

Anju Rani Joy

Despite being wheelchair-bound, Anju who hails from Kerala’s Kochi is a world record holder in jar lifting.

She says, ”I felt sad that I was different but then I thought about my future & that’s how things started to change. Jar lifting was the first step. I have proved that nothing is impossible.”
Bhageerathi Amma and Karthiyani Amma

Both these women became a great source of inspiration after they completed the Kerala Literacy Mission’s equivalency exam despite their old age.

After attempting the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority’s (KSLMA) fourth equivalency examination, 105-year-old Bhageerathi Amma became the oldest equivalency learner in the state. She scored 75 per cent in her exams.

Meanwhile, 98-year-old Karthiyani Amma topped the literacy examination conducted by KSLMA by scoring 98 out of 100 in 2018. She was also selected as the ‘Commonwealth of Learning Goodwill Ambassador’.

PM Modi’s interaction with awardees

Soon after the ceremony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with awardees and his Twitter account will be handled by women achievers to mark the day.

International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March every year to help forge a gender-equal world, celebrate women’s achievements and their increasing visibility in every sphere of life. The theme this year is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”.