President Abdulla Yameen was given Wednesday a governance award by an Indian civil society group, recognising his “long term and sustainable plans for the development of Maldives.”
The first-ever “Dr Kalam Puraskar for Excellence in Governance” was conferred by Thiruvananthapuram-based Dale View Group, an umbrella group that runs health schools and advocates for the rights of addicts, women and transgender people in the state of Kerala.
The award, given in the memory of the late Indian President Dr Abdul Kalam, “is to honour the best presidents, statesmen or leaders who has shown excellence in all fields and has been a visionary in his own right, striving hard to attain the pinnacle of success for the people of his country,” the Dale View Group said.
It is co-hosted by the Abdul Kalam International Foundation, a group set up by the late president’s relatives.
Yameen was selected by a five-member committee, which includes the former chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, Dr. G. Madhavan Nair.
The Maldives’ embattled president, who is facing international pressure over the jailing of opposition leaders, was recognised for “the turn around of STELCO [state utility company], Island Aviation Services and State Trading Organisation; for modernising the Maldives’ trade sector, broadening the economy and bringing in more investments to the country; role in formulating many of the legislations relating to trade and economy; efforts in health and education sector; international relations etc,” according to a statement by Dale View.
Yameen’s “long term vision for his country and his efficient and result-oriented execution of plans raised his level as president and gave a place for him in the hearts of people,” the statement said.
Yameen, who travelled to Thiruvananthapuram for the award ceremony on Tuesday, expressed his gratitude towards India and its people for “standing by the Maldives and her people.”
He highlighted his administration’s key pledges, including infrastructure projects such as a Chinese government-financed bridge and the promotion of youth entrepreneurship.
He also expressed his administration’s commitment to “upholding the rule of law; to protect human rights; to practice democratic governance; to defend the independence of the judiciary; and to encourage and sustain the free and responsible press.”
Shaiju Alfie of the Dale View group said they plan to give the award every year beginning in 2016 for “successful statesmen.”