Indira Gandhi peace prize for SEWA founder Ela Bhatt

Founder of the Self-Employed Women's Association of India (SEWA) Ela R Bhatt has been conferred with the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for the year 2011.

Bhatt received the award from President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan Monday. The function was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, among others.

The Prize has been awarded to Bhatt for her lifetime achievements in comprehensively empowering women in India and elsewhere through grassroots entrepreneurship.

In her acceptance speech, Bhatt said, "This Prize has given honour to all working poor women and their leadership worldwide, who hold peace, disarm violence and reduce poverty with their honest work... I would urge all to ensure that six basic, primary needs are met from resources within 100 miles around us... If food, shelter, clothing, primary education, primary healthcare and primary banking are locally produced and consumed, we will have the growth of a new holistic economy..."

Bhatt, a Padma Bhushan awardee, joins the league of international leaders like Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan who have been conferred with the award.

The award is given to individuals or organisations in recognition of their creative efforts towards promoting peace and a new economic order. It carries a citation and a cash award of Rs 25 lakh. With PTI

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