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Prem Bhatia memorial awards presented

WINNING REPORTAGE: Ms. Nirupama Subramanian, The Hindu’s correspondent in Pakistan, receiving the Prem Bhatia Award for best political reporting from the Trust chairman O.P. Mehra, at the India International Centre in New Delhi on Thursday. —

WINNING REPORTAGE: Ms. Nirupama Subramanian, The Hindu’s correspondent in Pakistan, receiving the Prem Bhatia Award for best political reporting from the Trust chairman O.P. Mehra, at the India International Centre in New Delhi on Thursday. —   | Photo Credit: Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Special Correspondent

Nirupama Subramanian for political reporting and Keya Acharya for writings on environmental issues

NEW DELHI: The Prem Bhatia Memorial Award for the best political reporting in 2008 was presented to Nirupama Subramanian, The Hindu’s correspondent in Pakistan, at a function in the Capital on Thursday. The Prem Bhatia Award for Environmental Journalism was presented to Keya Acharya, a Bangalore-based freelance journalist.

The chairman of the Prem Bhatia Memorial Trust, Air Chief Marshal (retd) O. P. Mehra, presented the awards. Ms. Subramanian was selected for her “sensitive and astute coverage” of the major developments in Pakistan, including the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the lawyers’ campaign for the restoration of the independent superior judges, the parliamentary elections and the induction of the new democratic government.

Ms. Acharya has been writing specifically on environment and development issues in Indian and international publications for the last 18 years. She is the recipient of several awards, fellowships and commendations, including those of the National Foundation for India, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, and the Press Institute of India. The awards presentation was followed by the 13th Prem Bhatia Memorial Lecture on ‘Growth for Whom: Choice or Dilemma?’ Delivering the lecture, former West Bengal Finance Minister Ashok Mitra dwelt on anomalies galore in India’s development.

Referring to the country’s abysmally low standing on the Human Development Index, Dr. Mitra said: “India’s position is apparently of no concern to our politicians and policy makers.” Its growth — “something we are all excited about” — was being driven by the service sector, he pointed out. While the service sector was growing at a fast rate and industries at a slower pace, agriculture was lagging behind.

In particular, Dr. Mitra lamented the inability of the growing sectors to accommodate the displacement of labour in various areas, including construction work. Stating that growth was uneven across sectors, he said the service sector was providing employment to only about 20 per cent of the work force, whereas agriculture and allied services accounted for two-fifths of the work force.

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