Anna Hazare, Indian green pioneer, wins World Bank award




By IANS,

Washington : Kisan Baburao Hazare, popularly know as Anna Hazare, a pioneer in developing an ecologically self-sustaining village as a global model, has become one of the three recipients of the World Bank's 2008 Jit Gill Memorial Award for Outstanding Public Service.

"Hazare created a thriving model village in Ralegan Siddhi, in the impoverished Ahmednagar region of Maharashtra state, and championed the right to information and the fight against corruption," the Bank said announcing the award Tuesday.

Ralegan Siddhi was a drought afflicted, impoverished village when Hazare began his development work there in 1975. He mobilised villagers and used his life's savings to build canals and bunds to hold back rainwater. Irrigation facilities were expanded and this increased agricultural yield.

Hazare encouraged tree planting and terracing of hill slopes to help retain rainwater. Solar panels were fitted all over the village to provide electricity, biogas plants were set up to meet the households' fuel needs and a wind pump was also set up. All this transformed the village, making it a model for other rural communities worldwide.

Two other winners of the award established in 2004 after the death of Jit Gill, a dedicated bank official in public sector governance and integrity, were Karina Constantino-David, former Chair of the Civil Service Commission of the Philippines, and Nuhu Ribadu, Chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria.

Karina Constantino-David battled against formidable obstacles to defend meritocracy and improve civil service pay as Chair of the Civil Service Commission of the Philippines until February, the Bank said.

Nuhu Ribadu, has led a courageous anticorruption drive in Nigeria, as Head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), according to the award citation.

Hazare and the other two winners received their awards Tuesday during the Jit Gill Memorial Lecture held at the World Bank, as part of the annual conference of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) Network.

"The people honoured today (Tuesday) have embodied the highest ideals of public service," said Danny Leipziger, World Bank Vice-President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM). "They clearly were able to translate their ideals into innovative public sector reforms."

"We instituted this award in 2004 as part of our work on leadership with integrity as a crucial pillar for good governance and anticorruption," said Sanjay Pradhan, director of the Public Sector Governance Group in the World Bank.

"The award is intended as an inspirational tool to recognise the courage, tenacity and contributions of outstanding leaderships who have championed reforms for better governance against formidable odds."

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