IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


1st September, 2023 MISCELLANEOUS

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Picture Courtesy: www.india.com


Context: Dr Ravi Kannan, an oncologist from Assam, India, has been awarded the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award for 2023. The award, considered Asia's Nobel Prize, recognizes his outstanding work in providing free or low-cost cancer treatment to the rural poor.

Key Highlights

  • Ravi Kannan, a surgical oncologist, was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2023.
  • He serves as the Director of the Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (CCHRC) located in Assam.
  • Transformation of Cancer Treatment: Kannan is credited with revolutionizing cancer treatment in Assam through a people-centric and pro-poor healthcare approach. He hails from Chennai and had previously worked at the Cancer Institute, Adyar, before relocating to Silchar in 2007.
  • Leadership at CCHRC: In 2007, Dr. Kannan became the Director of CCHRC. Under his leadership, CCHRC underwent significant development and expansion.
  • Comprehensive Cancer Hospital: CCHRC evolved from a limited facility to a comprehensive cancer hospital and research centre. It now houses 28 departments covering various aspects of cancer care, including oncology, pathology, radiology, microbiology, epidemiology, tumour registry, and palliative care.
  • Pro-Poor Initiatives: Kannan and his team introduced several pro-poor initiatives to address the challenges faced by cancer patients from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Initiatives included free treatment, accommodation, and food for patients and their caregivers.
    • Ad hoc employment opportunities were provided for caregivers.
    • A home-care program was established to support patients who couldn't travel long distances due to financial constraints.
  • Training and Support: Hospital staff travelled long distances to train family members in pain management and palliative care. Free medicines were provided to patients. These efforts resulted in a significant increase in patient compliance with treatment, rising from 28% to 70%.
  • Cancer Care Reach and Impact: CCHRC now offers free or subsidized cancer care treatment to around 5,000 new patients annually. The hospital caters to approximately 20,000 economically disadvantaged patients, providing treatments and follow-ups.
  • Focus on Decentralization: Kannan's future goals include decentralizing cancer care by establishing smaller hospitals in different parts of Assam and Tripura. The aim is to reduce the burden of travelling long distances for treatment.
  • Recognition and Awards: In addition to the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Dr. Kannan is also a recipient of the Padma Shri award.

Ramon Magsaysay award


  • The Ramon Magsaysay Award holds great significance as Asia's highest honour, recognizing individuals and organizations that have made exceptional contributions to public service across various fields.
  • The award was named after the esteemed third president of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay, and the award was established in 1957 through the collaborative efforts of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Philippine government.
  • Its purpose is to acknowledge outstanding individuals and groups who have demonstrated selfless dedication to the betterment of society.
  • The award covers a range of categories, showcasing the diverse realms in which individuals and organizations can contribute meaningfully.
  • The selection process for awardees involves a board of trustees comprising prominent figures from diverse Asian backgrounds. These trustees come together to identify and honour those whose contributions align with the values of integrity, compassion, and selflessness championed by Ramon Magsaysay.
  • Winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award receive not only prestige and recognition but also a substantial cash prize of US$50,000 and a medallion. The award serves as a testament to their dedication and a reminder of the positive impact that selfless service can have on society.
  • Since its inception, the Ramon Magsaysay Award has been bestowed upon over 380 individuals and organizations from 27 countries in Asia.

The Award is given in the following categories:

Government Service

  • This award category acknowledges individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and service within the government sector. It recognizes their contributions to the development and implementation of policies, programs, and initiatives that positively impact society.
  • Recipients may include government officials, civil servants, and individuals who have shown dedication, innovation, and effectiveness in their roles.

Public Service

  • The Public Service Award honours individuals who have made significant contributions to the betterment of society and public welfare. These individuals often go beyond their official duties to create positive change in their communities or on a broader scale. Their efforts could involve initiatives related to education, healthcare, environmental conservation, poverty alleviation, and more.

Community Leadership

  • This category celebrates leaders who have actively worked to empower and uplift their communities. These leaders engage with residents, organizations, and resources to drive positive change. Their efforts may involve organizing community events, advocating for social and economic justice, and fostering collaboration among various community stakeholders.

Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts

  • This award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to journalism, literature, and creative communication arts. It emphasizes their role in shaping public discourse, raising awareness, and influencing societal perspectives.
  • Recipients could include journalists, authors, poets, playwrights, filmmakers, and other creative communicators whose work has made a meaningful impact.

Peace and International Understanding

  • This category commends individuals and organizations that have actively promoted peace, harmony, and mutual understanding on a global scale. Their efforts might involve diplomatic negotiations, intercultural exchange programs, conflict resolution initiatives, and projects that bridge divides between nations and cultures.

Emergent Leadership

  • The Emergent Leadership Award highlights young individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership potential and accomplishments early in their careers. These individuals show promise and innovation in their fields, and their achievements have the potential to make a lasting impact on society.

Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts (Independent)

  • This subcategory specifically celebrates independent individuals or groups within journalism, literature, and creative communication arts. It recognizes their work outside of traditional mainstream platforms and highlights their contributions to alternative media, grassroots storytelling, and diverse artistic expression.

Notable Indian recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Award

Vinoba Bhave (1958)

  • Vinoba Bhave, also known as Acharya Vinoba Bhave, was a prominent social reformer, advocate of nonviolence, and follower of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • He is best known for the Bhoodan Movement (Land Gift Movement), where he encouraged landowners to voluntarily donate a portion of their land to landless peasants. This movement aimed to address issues of land inequality and poverty in rural India. Bhave's dedication to land and labour reforms earned him the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

Mother Teresa (1962)

  • Mother Teresa, officially known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, was a Catholic nun and missionary.
  • She founded the Missionaries of Charity, an organization dedicated to providing care and assistance to the sick, dying, and destitute, especially in the slums of Kolkata.
  • Her selfless devotion to serving the marginalized and her humanitarian work earned her international recognition and the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

M.S. Subbulakshmi (1974)

  • Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi, often referred to as MS Subbulakshmi was a legendary Carnatic musician and vocalist.
  • She played a significant role in popularizing and preserving the Carnatic music tradition. Her melodious voice and contributions to Indian classical music earned her the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

Kiran Bedi (1994)

  • Kiran Bedi is a retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and social activist. She is known for her pioneering efforts in police reform and community policing.
  • She implemented various initiatives to improve law enforcement, prison management, and traffic control.
  • Her commitment to public service and innovative approaches to policing led to her receiving the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

Arvind Kejriwal (2006)

  • Arvind Kejriwal was awarded the 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership for his work in activating India's Right to Information (RTI) movement at the grassroots and empowering New Delhi's poorest citizens to fight corruption by holding the government accountable to the people.
  • He was the founding member of Parivartan, a non-profit organization that used the RTI Act to expose corruption and hold government officials accountable. He also worked with other activists to campaign for the passage of a national-level RTI Act, which was eventually enacted in 2005.
  • His work in the RTI movement has had a lasting impact on Indian democracy. The RTI Act has helped to empower citizens to hold government officials accountable, and it has led to a number of high-profile corruption cases being exposed. His work has also inspired other activists to fight for transparency and accountability in government.

Sonam Wangchuk (2018)

  • Sonam Wangchuk is an innovator, educator, and environmentalist from Ladakh.
  • He is best known for his work in sustainable education and eco-friendly technology. Wangchuk founded the Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) to reform the region's education system and promote experiential learning.
  • He developed innovative solutions like ice stupas to address water scarcity in the Himalayan region. His contributions to education and environmental conservation led to his recognition with the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

Ravish Kumar (2020)

  • Ravish Kumar is a well-known Indian journalist, news anchor, and media personality. He is known for his incisive analysis and investigative reporting.
  • His work focuses on addressing pressing social and political issues in India, and he is recognized for his efforts to foster critical public discourse and hold those in power accountable. His contributions to journalism and public awareness earned him the Ramon Magsaysay Award.


  • The Ramon Magsaysay Award is a prestigious recognition for public service in Asia, and is often regarded as the "Nobel Prize of Asia". It was founded in 1957 to honour the legacy of former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay, who was admired for his honesty in governance, brave service to the people, and realistic idealism within a democratic society.


Q. The Ramon Magsaysay Award is awarded under which of the following categories:

1. Government Service

2. Community Leadership

3. Public Service

4. Environment Protection

5. Emergent Leadership

6. Peace and International Understanding

How many of the above code is/are correct?

A) Only three

B) Only four

C) Only five

D) All six

Answer: C

Explanation: The Ramon Magsaysay Award is given annually to individuals and organizations in the following categories:

Government Service

Community Leadership

Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts

Public Service

Emergent Leadership

Peace and International Understanding

Leadership in Public Service