New Delhi, January 01, 2019: The Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu awarded the prestigious “Champions of Change 2018” award to Shri Purushottam Agrawal, a renowned entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a social reformer. The award has been instituted in the memory of Bharat Ratna, late Shri Atal Bihar Vajpayee.
Shri Agrawal has been honored for the remarkable work of Samta Foundation in Washim district of Maharashtra, which has been founded by him in 2012. The award is being given under the Transformation of Aspirational District program, which was launched by NITI Aayog. The guiding principles of the Foundation are “Enable, Educate and Empower” – to bring about a positive change within the society.
Samta Foundation has transformed the rural and tribal district of Washim covering six tehsils and today there is a literacy ratio of 83.25 % amidst this population of 13 lakh people. Washim is heralded as the most improved district as per NITI Aayog report June 2018.
Samta Foundation operates in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh and has been doing remarkable work. Organizing over 6,000 cataract diagnostic camps, plastic surgery camps, blood donation camps, family planning programs, and malnutrition programs, the foundation found its health drive presence in various tehsils like Malegaon, Mangrulpir, Karanja, Manora, Washim and Risod. Their special jail program focuses on providing eye check-ups, skin care camps for prisoners as well as offering free sanitary napkins to the women prisoners.
Since its inception, the foundation has screened 10,00,000 patients and completed more than 250,000 cataract surgeries till date and provides free food, medicines, eyeglasses, and transportation to the patients. Since 2013, the foundation has achieved more than 9,500 free and safe family planning operations in our poor tribal families at Palghar district and expanding at others tribal areas of Maharashtra.
In India, around 45% of deaths among children under the age of five are linked to malnutrition. Samta Foundation often organizes malnutrition camps in rural and tribal areas where a team of qualified doctors provides check-ups and- medical attention to the needy child and mothers. Work began in 2017 in the predominantly tribal area district of Palghar. Over 30 centers have treated more than 6,000 kids and the project is expanding across the tribal belts of Maharashtra.
Samta Foundation has become an integral part of the Swaccha Bharat Abhiyan and has adopted the town of Risod with a population of 50,000 in Washim district as a part of this initiative. Collaborating with the local municipal council, they have taken up the onus of transforming Risod and making it 100% garbage-free.
The Foundation is very high in computer education. Various schools in rural & tribal areas of Palghar, Akola, Aurangabad, Javkheda, and Risod have computer labs benefitting around 56,000 students and a curriculum designed by IIT-Mumbai. A family planning, computer-educated, malnutrition-free Swaccha Palghar is their mission.
And the inspiration continues to be Shri Purushottam Agrawal. Born in village Risod, now in Washim district, he refused to enter a medical college by way of donation and instead opted for Pharmacy. It is his relentless appetite to succeed in his life’s mission has made the beginning out of a borrowed seed capital of Rs 10,000 way back in 1973.
Ajanta Pharma Limited is an Indian multinational engaged in development, manufacturing, and marketing of pharmaceutical formulations. The company has the presence in over 30 countries, with a market capitalization of more than Rs 10,000 crores and employee strength of more than 6,500. A strong believer in the ‘Make in India’ programme, Ajanta has six state-of-the-art manufacturing units, ensuring producing quality drugs, through the use of advanced technologies with some of FDA approved plants.
Having succeeded in his first mission of affordable medicine accessible to all, Shri Agrawal turned his attention to address the critical issue of social welfare in the specific area of healthcare and education. He considers the tribal and Naxalite areas of Maharashtra as his second home and since last five years has been actively involved in the health care and education activities in the district of Phalghar, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, and Nandurbar.
In October 2018, he even relinquished his position as board member of Ajanta Pharma, a company he founded. Shri Agrawal is a believer in grass root level work over cheque-book philanthropy. “I’m honored to receive this award and it further motivates me to expand the work of Samta Foundation. Our work has shown that change is possible as we touched the lives of people who had little hope. Health and education remain our key focus. I have received numerous global awards in my industry, but this award is special as it celebrates humanity,” Shri Agrawal said.
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