Meet The Nominees
Public Voting is now closed. The winners in each of the nine categories will be decided through a combination of what our jury decides and public voting.
Public Voting is now closed. The winners in each of the nine categories will be decided through a combination of what our jury decides and public voting.
Ankit Agarwal is the founder of Phool.Co, an Indian biomaterials start-up. The company creates organic products from flowers offered in temples or thrown into rivers. The production of incense cones, sticks, rakhis, organic vermicompost, among others, has given jobs to 79 under-represented women. The venture also works to reduce flower waste in rivers like the holy Ganga.
Gaurav Jalan is the founder and CEO of mPokket, a digital lending platform for college students and young professionals. mPokket helps students and low-salaried professionals with short-term personal loans. Low interest rates and the quick availability of cash without long-term EMI, have helped many with debts. One of the largest contributors to debt traps is college loans and Gaurav Jalan has facilitated at least 4,000 scholarships for students.
Brothers Nikhil and Nithin Kamath founded the discount brokerage Zerodha in 2010 to disrupt the brokerage market in India. With over 10 million clients, Zerodha is one of the largest brokerage firms in the country. Nithin Kamath recently shared the story of his wife’s incredible fight against breast cancer to help raise awareness about the disease.
Roshni Nadar Malhotra is the billionaire chairperson of HCL Technologies and the first woman to lead a listed IT company in India. Besides providing strategic guidance to the tech giant, she has also set up “The Habitats” trust that aims to protect India's natural habitat and indigenous species and create and conserve sustainable ecosystems. She ranks 54 on the Forbes World's 100 Most Powerful Women list.
Varun Chandran is the founder of Corporate360, a Kerala-based big data software company that began with five employees and had 50 within three years. While soaring in his field, Varun Chandran never forgot his humble beginnings. His company recruits young men and women from rural areas and provides them with an opportunity to learn and compete with a global mindset. The company has also launched initiatives to provide excellent resources to children and jobs and homes to the homeless.
Akshay Kumar is an Indian actor, humanitarian and philanthropist. Through his films, he portrays trailblazing individuals bringing about a change in society. In real life, too, he has taken up many social initiatives to help those in need. He works towards access to safe water and sanitation for all. His support for women's menstrual health resulted in the installation of nearly 60 sanitary napkin vending machines in Maharashtra.
Jr NTR is an Indian actor and philanthropist. His larger-than-life screen presence is only second to the amazing social initiatives he supports off-camera. He founded the NTR Trust in Hyderabad, helping support projects in education, healthcare, disaster relief and youth empowerment. The trust has also set up several blood banks and continues to provide safe drinking water to nearly 18 lakh people in Telangana.
Ram Charan is an Indian actor and philanthropist. Ram Charan's films have a massive reach, and he uses his position in society for the good. The Chiranjeevi Charitable Trust has helped many in the healthcare field with a blood and eye bank which has helped many in need for free. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trust also helped provide oxygen through specially established oxygen banks across the worst-hit states and successfully helped people tackle the shortage in no time.
Sonu Sood is an Indian actor, philanthropist and humanitarian. He is famous for many Bollywood roles, but through his foundation, the Sood Charity Foundation, he has worked tirelessly in various fields. He helped migrants reach their homes during the COVID-19 outbreak, along with arranging medicines for patients in need during the time of crisis. His new venture, a scholarship program named after his mother, the Prof Saroj Sood Scholarship, helps provide free education to those who need it. With another new venture, Sambhavam, he aids IAS aspirants to achieve their dreams.
Taapsee Pannu is an Indian actress and philanthropist. Apart from her successful acting career, she is an active advocate of women's empowerment. She has helped many women find their voice and supports many more financially to help them achieve their dreams. Education plays a significant role in her philanthropy, and she has supported many initiatives that help provide education to children and women.
Archana Soreng is an environmentalist and activist from the Kharia tribe in Odisha’s Sundergarh district. Soreng, who is from a small village in the state, works towards awareness on documentation and preservation of the environment by promoting traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous communities. The 26-year-old’s huge contribution in the field as a young environmental activist has made her one of the seven members of Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change established by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as a part of UN Youth Strategy.
Dr Divya Karnad is an international award-winning marine conservationist and biologist and is well-known for her work on critically-endangered sawfishes and sharks. She founded the Young Women in Conservation Programme, enabling 450 students to participate in local marine conservation. She went on to develop InSeason Fish to promote sustainable fisheries and to reduce bycatch of endangered shark species. In 2019, she became the first woman to receive the “Global Future Of Nature” Award for her work in marine conservation and continues to work on her goals of sustainability for the future.
Dr Meera Anna Oommen is an ecologist from Bengaluru and is one of the main contributors to institutional growth by coordinating research activities and institutional development of the Andaman Nicobar Environment Team (ANET) at the Dakshin Foundation in the city. She holds a doctoral degree in life sciences from the University of Technology, Sydney and her current academic work focuses on incorporating insights from multiple disciplines to understand conflicts in natural resource governance and conservation in the southern Western Ghats as well as similar situations in islands and marine systems.
Dr. Nachiket Kelkar is an ecologist who heads the Riverine Ecosystems and Livelihoods programme (REAL) at the Wildlife Conservation Trust. His long-term interdisciplinary research addresses problems related to conserving endangered riverine biodiversity with a focus on Ganges river dolphins, and securing livelihoods of fishing communities in India's Gangetic plains. Nachiket completed his PhD from the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bengaluru, on resource conflicts in fisheries of the Gangetic plains. He is a Member of the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group and has also served as a co-convener of the International Whaling Commission's South Asian river dolphin task team. He obtained the eighth rank in the UPSC's Indian Forest Service Examination (2013), but did not join it, and instead chose a close academic and applied engagement with the science-conservation-policy-society interface. He is also a recipient of the New India Fellowship for writing a book on ecology and society in Bihar's Gangetic floodplains, which is currently ongoing.
Jamuna Tudu is an environmentalist from Jharkhand. Popularly known as “Lady Tarzan”, Jamuna Tudu, along with five other women, took on the timber mafia in the state and prevented the illegal felling of trees near her village. She went on to expand this movement into an organisation called the “Van Suraksha Samiti” which has thousands of women as its members today. She continues to fight against deforestation with her team who patrol the forests in and around her village and plant trees along the way.
Armstrong Pame is an Indian Administrative Service officer from Manipur and the first to become one from the Zeme tribe. He earned the nickname "Miracle Man" for creating a 100-kilometre road connecting Manipur to Nagaland and Assam in a remote part of the hill state of Manipur without any government assistance. In 2012, Pame was moved by the suffering of the people who had to walk for hours because of the absence of a driveable road, especially during an outbreak of Typhoid and Malaria when villagers could not make it to the nearest hospital on time. For this cause, he was awarded India's Most Eminent IAS Officer Award in 2015.
Dr Sangram Singh Patil practised medicine for four-and-a-half years before becoming an IPS officer in 2015. His expertise in medicine helped in many ways. As Superintendent of Police in Mulugu and Jayashankar-Bhupalpally districts of Telangana, Dr Patil has helped over 5,000 Gotti Koya tribal people from 100-odd hamlets in the district with complaints including nutrition deficiency, skin diseases and so on by providing medical help worth Rs 7 lakh.
In 2016, Parveen Kaur became the Sarpanch of a dalit-dominated village in Haryana and brought about changes with long-term affect. The 26-year-old Sarpanch and engineer remodelled the village with her expertise. She built a 'Panchayat Ghar' with a solar panel roof, a library, public wi-fi, cemented lanes and CCTV cameras ensuring there is safety for the women of the community.
Prasanth Nair is an IAS officer from the Kerala Cadre of 2006. He has won accolades for his work in road safety, construction and water supply across Kozhikode apart from poverty eradication in the region. One of his most significant contributions has been through the initiative – 'Operation Sulaimani'. This initiative aims to provide free food to eradicate hunger in Kozhikode. Another initiative he launched was titled 'Tere Mere Beach Mei' which aims to tackle the problem of waste management on the beaches of Kozhikode.
Sandeep Nanduri is an IAS officer from the Tamil Nadu cadre of 2009. An engineering graduate, he is the Managing Director of the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation and the brain behind Café Able, a bustling space run by 12 people with disabilities. The motivation for this came from the numerous petitions that he would receive from people with disabilities, either asking for pensions from the government or employment. To boost their confidence, and entrepreneurial spirit and promote self-reliance, he helps candidates enrol in a 45-day training course in cooking, catering and baking.
Diljit Dosanjh is an Indian singer and actor. His songs have ruled the charts and continue to do so even today, but he is also the talk of the town for his generosity. He has shown support for various causes, such as the farmers in their movement against the now-scrapped farm bills. He has stood not just in solidarity but also with financial aid as he reportedly donated Rs 1 crore to help them brave the harsh Delhi winter with woollens. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Diljit pledged to donate Rs 20 Lakh to the PM CARES Fund to help combat the outbreak.
Kanika Kapoor is an Indian singer. She has delivered many hit Bollywood tracks to her fans all over the world and continues to do it alongside many social initiatives. One of her best-known works other than music is her fashion label KK – House of Chikankari, which has provided job opportunities to many women. She has also gone on to support Pratham, a non-profit organisation that helps provide quality education to financially disadvantaged children, and as an ardent animal lover supports animal welfare initiatives as well.
Neha Kakkar is an Indian singer. The country grooves to her peppy music but her heart of gold has won people all over. She is known to provide financial aid to those who need music training, are suffering from a health crisis or battling poverty. Her efforts have helped many budding musicians flourish. She displayed her generous nature even during the pandemic by supporting Give India's Mission One Million Masks to provide COVID-19 warriors with masks when there was a dire need.
Palak Muchhal is an Indian singer and lyricist from Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Her musical notes have captivated millions and through her stage shows in India and abroad, she raises funds to support financially disadvantaged children who need assistance to treat heart diseases. Through the Palak Muchhal Heart Foundation, she has reportedly saved more than 2,000 lives.
Sonia Ashraf is a rapper, filmmaker and content creator. With the help of her songs, she addresses social and environmental issues and the negligence by corporations on industrial disasters. In 2015, Sofia produced “Kodaikanal Won’t” – a video addressing the mercury poisoning caused by a thermometer factory owned by an MNC. The video garnered over 4 million views and resulted in the company compensating 591 ex-employees. Raised in an orthodox Muslim family, she is also a strong advocate for women’s rights and has produced content under the name "Sista from The South".
Since 2001, Dr Digant Prakash Amte alongwith his wife Dr. Anagha, started six community health centres in remote villages in the forest of Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. Following the footsteps of his parents, Ramon Magsaysay Award winners Dr. Prakash and Dr. Mandakini Amte, Dr Digant has dedicated his life to provide healthcare to marginalised communities. He has received 'Jeevan Yadnya Yuva Shakti Puraskar' from Swanand Sahayog of Mumbai, Ahimsa Puraskar from Nakoda Group, Subhash Shaha award from Pricision Foundation, Solapur Public Health Champion Award from WHO to the Hospital.
Harshna Bijlani is a dermatologist and the Medical Head at the Ageless Clinic, Mumbai. She specialised in cosmetic dermatology at the prestigious Harley Street in London. After years of determined work, she opened her specialised clinic in 2010. Today, it is one of the most sought-after aesthetic clinics in India. Its core belief – true beauty comes from within.
Ravikant Singh is the Founder of “Doctors For You”, a non-profit with a mission to bring medical help to the most difficult and hard to reach areas within the shortest possible time. He started “Doctors For You (DFY) in 2007 when he was still a medical student at KEM Hospital, Mumbai. DFY is now working in 25 states. During COVID-19 pandemic, DFY set up 44 makeshift hospitals, treated 84,000 COVID-19 patients, vaccinated 1.2 crore people, and saved millions of lives with the help of 3,500 medical professionals. Whenever calamities strike, passionate physicians of “Doctors For You” are ready with help.
Shankar Ramchandani is a doctor from Odisha and the founder of the One Rupee Clinic. He started the clinic in his hometown Sambalpur, Odisha, after years of watching his father’s struggle with poverty and hospital bills. He aspired to be a doctor, not just out of necessity but also as an attempt to help the poor and needy. Through his novel clinic, he has treated at least 7,000 people just in his hometown.
Trinetra, Karnataka’s first trans-woman doctor, “oscillates between the sets and the hospital” flawlessly - as she often says. She is one of the first openly transgender content creators in India. Though she is a doctor, she uses her social media content to educate people and to help them gain a better understanding of subjects like gender, sexuality, mental health, feminism, queerphobia, body positivity and bullying.
Ashwani Aggarwal is a social entrepreneur and founder of BasicShit, an Indian startup that works towards building accessible public toilet units from recycled plastic. The problem of public sanitation is hugely neglected and through BasicShit, he is attempting to tackle the problem of poor hygiene and unsanitary environment with a strategic perspective. Each urinal produced by his company can eliminate 9,000 single-use plastic bottles, requires no water to clean and is smell-free, he says.
Dhruv Lakra is a social entrepreneur and founder of the National Award-winning startup, Mirakle Couriers. It is a full-service courier company offering delivery and tracking services to clients in Mumbai, staffed entirely by employees with hearing impairment. India has among the world\'s largest number of people with hearing impairment who are unemployed. Mirakle Couriers has helped create sustainable opportunities for many hearing-impaired people, improving their lifestyle and their financial status besides enhancing their role in society.
Navya Naveli Nanda is an Indian entrepreneur. She believes in promoting a gender-equal world through entrepreneurship and social activism. As a strong advocate of women’s rights, her “Project Naveli” works for women in rural areas, helping them with education, healthcare facilities, fighting domestic abuse and gaining financial independence. Her “Aara Health”, launched in 2020, is India’s first women’s health and wellness platform.
Ria Sharma is an activist and a social entrepreneur. Her non-profit founded in 2014, “Make Love, Not Scars”, works on rehabilitating survivors of acid attacks. Noting the appalling conditions of acid attack survivors in India, she built a first-of-its-kind centre to provide medical, financial, psychological and legal support to them. Through recreational workshops, the organization provides a safe space for these survivors to grow and flourish.
Yogita Bhayana is an anti-rape activist and the founder of a non-profit organization, People Against Rape in India (PARI). The organisation supports rape survivors and helps bring their attackers to justice. Additionally, she runs 200 shelters in Delhi for homeless rape survivors, which also provide a comfortable space for anti-sexual violence efforts. She started a campaign, “Nari Ke 2 Din”, which organises special sessions of parliament on women’s issues. These played a significant role during the protests over the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder.
Abhinav Bindra, Indian shooting legend, is the first individual gold medallist from the country in Olympics. Winner of the Padma Bhushan, Bindra has won over 150 medals in his 22-year career. He runs the Abhinav Bindra Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to integrate sports, science, and technology and encourage high-performance physical training.
Gagan Narang is an Indian shooter and Olympic medalist. He was a trailblazer at the London Olympics 2012, Commonwealth and Asian Games and the World Cup for his perfect scores and accurate shooting skills. In 2011, he established the Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation that has helped build a dozen “Gun For Glory” academies across the country to train young shooters who continue to make the country proud in the international shooting arena.
Neeraj Chopra, ace javelin thrower and the reigning Olympic champion, brought cheer to an entire nation after he became the first Indian to win the gold medal in athletics at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Neeraj Chopra also became the country’s second individual gold medal winner in its Olympic history after shooter Abhinav Bindra’s heroics in Beijing 2008. Chopra’s feat has given hope to aspiring young kids in his village in Haryana and across the country. Neeraj Chopra is a dog lover at heart.
Nikhat Zareen, ace Indian boxer, is the fifth Indian woman pugilist to be crowned world champion. Belonging to a conservative family from Telangana’s Nizamabad, Nikhat Zareen shot to fame after winning the World Junior Boxing Championships in the 50-kg category in 2022. The champion boxer is a vocal advocate of women’s rights.
PV Sindhu is India’s ace badminton player and two-time Olympic medalist. The 27-year-old from Hyderabad is one of the most successful athletes in the country. She won the BWF World Championship in 2019 and remains the only Indian to win the title. In 2019, she pledged her support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Bharat Ki Laxmi’ campaign, which highlights the contributions of women who have “through perseverance, diligence, extraordinary performance and talent”, brought “glory to their families, society and the country”.
Actor Ayushmann Khurrana, who has won acclaim for his roles that tackle several social issues, is a major investor in ‘The Man Company’, a men’s grooming brand. The actor has also lent his support to several social causes. He has been an ambassador for a charity event to support those with spinal cord injuries. He has also extended his support to a non-profit working to help women ragpickers who were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. He recently joined hands with the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the UNICEF to raise awareness against sexual abuse of children.
Deepika Padukone, one of the country’s top actors, is also a prominent investor in several start-ups. She has invested in companies such as BluSmart, India’s first all-electric cab service and Bellatrix Aerospace, a Bengaluru-based private aerospace company specialising in in-space propulsion systems and orbital launch vehicles. Deepika Padukone, who opened up about her battle with depression in 2015, is an active advocate of mental health awareness. Her ‘Live Love Laugh Foundation’ creates awareness about mental health and reduce stigma associated with mental illness.
Kunal Shah is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who founded CRED, a reward-based credit card payments app in 2018. Based in Bengaluru, CRED is one of the fastest-growing unicorn start-ups in India. Interestingly, Kunal Shah’s 400-employee-fintech company hired more than half of its staff through the pandemic.
Manas Fuloria is the co-founder and CEO of Nagarro, a tech consulting company that partners with businesses and entrepreneurs to create profitable solutions. Fuloria, who says he is “geeky about environment and road safety”, supports the creation of model pedestrian and cyclist-friendly streets and encourages the use of public transportation wherever possible.
Sanskriti Dawle and Aman Srivastava were students at BITS Pilani in Goa who later co-founded Thinkerbell Labs - a Bengaluru-based start-up - that created Annie, a self-learning app for the visually-impaired. Annie is the world’s first self-learning Braille device that allows students to learn to read, write and type Braille on their own. The duo also developed Chakravyuh, a smart, temperature measurement, and analytics solution which provided quick and comprehensive access to information to state and district authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19.