Essel Group institutes excellence awards

MUMBAI: The Essel Group and its flagship, Zee Network, have unveiled an ambitious Awards programme aimed at recognising institutions or individuals who have made a significant contribution in public or private life. The Awards aim at celebrating the contribution of unsung heroes in various fields in order to encourage them to scale greater heights.

Announcing the launch of the Awards, Essel Group and Zee Network Chairman, Mr Subhash Chandra said: "Ours is a Group fired by the spirit of nationalism and patriotism. Through these Awards, we hope to inspire the youth and instil in them a pride for India's rich heritage. The Awards represent the Group's strong resolve to empower the people and thereby build a vibrant and resurgent India."

The Awards will be instituted under different categories every month, beginning January 2007. The categories are: Legislator (January), Sports (February), Civil Service (March), NGO /Social Worker (April), Police /fire force (May), Legal (June), Minister (July), Young innovator /entrepreneur (August), Medical service (September), Art, Culture and Literature (October), Media (November), Gram Panchayat / Zilla Member (December).

The Award series will first be launched in Karnataka and then replicated in other States.

"These Awards will ignite young minds, awaken dormant senses and motivate the people to strive for a brighter future," Mr M. Gautham Machaiah, Vice-President, Corporate and Public Affairs added.

This is a truly a people's Award, where the general public plays a key role in selecting the winner. For each category, nominations will be invited from the public and prominent citizens of the State. The nominations will be sifted by a screening committee and then put before a jury of eminent citizens, which will shortlist five finalists. A capsule on the five finalists will be produced and telecast on Zee Network. The public will then be invited to vote for best in each category.

"It is significant that the Awards are being launched in Karnataka to coincide with the Suvarna Karnataka celebrations. Zee Kannada is proud to be associated with these Awards," Head of Zee South Initiative Mr R. Ajay Kumar said.

In the case of Karnataka's Best Legislator, the parameters for the selection include: exemplary public service, commitment to issues, clean image and integrity, social and economic uplift of the constituency and constituents, accessibility to the people, and performance in the State legislature. The last date for receiving nominations is December 15, 2006.

The Jury for the Best Legislator's Award comprises Justice M.F. Saldhana, former Judge, Karnataka High Court (Chairman); Mr H.S. Balram, Editor, The Times of India, Bangalore; Dr M.S. Thimmappa, former Bangalore University Vice-chancellor; Mr M.C. Nanaiah, former Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs; and Ms Teresa Bhattacharya, former Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka.

The Essel Group stands out as a shining example of a socially conscious corporate citizen. Education is among the causes that the Group is most passionate about. The Ekal Vidayalaya Foundation of India, headed by Mr Chandra provides free education to over five lakh tribal children every year in remote parts of the country.

The Essel Group with interests spanning across news, entertainment, packaging, infrastructure and communication, is a pioneer in virtually every business that it ventures into. The Group has always responded to opportunities created by changes in technology and captured the first-mover advantage - be it satellite television (Zee TV), amusement parks (Essel World) or cable distribution (Siticable).

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