The Tamil Nadu government on 2 May 2017 conferred the 2017 Avvaiyar Award to Padma Venkataraman, a social worker and daughter for former Indian President, the late R Venkataraman. Padma was honoured with the award for her efforts in the field of women’s welfare and the rehabilitation of leprosy-affected people since the past 30 years by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami. The prize carried a cheque of Rs 1 lakh, a gold medal weighing 8 gm and a certificate.
Speaking on the development, Padma Venkataraman who is the Chairperson of Women’s Indian Association (WIA) called the award a great honour and stated that it reflects the involvement of Tamil Nadu state’s government and CM in the advancement of women, children, the differently-abled and leprosy affected people. She further added that the award will only strengthen her resolve to serve the society as best as possible. The award was constituted by late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in 2012. It was named after the Tamil poetess Avvaiyar.
It aims to honour women who have done excellent service in the areas of social reform, women’s development, culture, media, inter-faith harmony, and administration, among others. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh, 8 gram of gold and a certificate. In 2016, the award was conferred to M Sarada Menon, founder of Schizophrenia Care and research Foundation (SCARF) for the welfare of mentally challenged. Prior to that in 2015, the award was given to Shanthi Ranganathan, the founder of T. T. Ranganathan Clinical Research Foundation, for her service towards treatment and rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addicts.