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President Ram Nath Kovind today presented an award to noted social reformer and founder of Sulabh International Bindeshwar Pathak for his "immense" contribution towards getting rid of manual scavenging. The President presented this year's Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academics and Management to Pathak at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Speaking on the occasion, Kovind said the occasion revived memories of former Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri. "He was an exceptional leader who believed in simple living and gave the slogan 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan'," he said. Terming Pathak as the most "deserving person" for the award named after Shastri, the President said the 74-year-old sociologist had "contributed immensely in the direction of getting rid of the practice of manual scavenging". Kovind said Pathak had contributed to making revolutionary changes in society and has put into practice the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar and Shastri. Pathak, after whom Mayor of New York had declared April 14, 2016 as the 'Dr Bindeshwar Pathak International Day', was conferred with the Padma Bhushan in 1991. He complimented the Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management for honouring people who have made valuable contributions. The annual award honours an exceptionally outstanding Indian, who is a distinguished business leader, management practitioner, public administrator, educator or institution builder, for their sustained individual contributions and achievements. Pathak has developed and implemented, on a pan India scale, a low cost and appropriate toilet technology popularly known as the Sulabh Shauchalaya system. He is the Brand Ambassador for Swachh Rail Mission of Indian Railways and his work is considered pioneering in social reform, especially in the field of sanitation and hygiene.
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