Chairperson, 11th CMS VATAVARAN 2021 Award Jury
Often regarded as the pioneer of parallel cinemas in India, Shyam Benegal is widely considered as one of the greatest filmmakers of post 1970s. He has received several accolades, including eighteen National Film Awards, a Filmfare Award and a Nandi Award. In 2005, he was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in the field of cinema. In 1976, he was honoured by the Government of India with the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian honour of the country, and in 1991, he was awarded Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian honour for his contributions in the field of arts. He had also served as member of Parliament Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament.
G.B.K. Rao, an Engineer-turned-Environmentalist, is the Architect of Pragati Biodiversity Knowledge Park and the Founder Chairman of Pragati Group, Chairman Expert Committee on Agriculture and Food Processing for Southern Region, Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC). He was born in an agricultural family at Repalle, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh. This provided him knowledge of traditional farming. His early education at Vyasashram near Kalahasti provided with an early reinforcement of Indian culture, devotion, meditation and Vedic approach to knowledge. Dr. G.B.K. Rao, in 1990s during his stint as an entrepreneur, with his underlying path of Vedic schooling and Rural childhood, started visualizing the potential threats to the planet Earth due to the imbalance of Five Elements viz., ‘Hunger & Pollution.’ He strongly believed that the only answer to these threats is conservation of Biodiversity (Five Elements) through practicing ‘Indian Vedic way of living’ with the core vedic concept of “Vruksho Rakshati Rakshitaha – Gow Samrakshana” Recently on 22nd April’2021 , Dr GBK Rao is awarded with WORLD BOOK OF RECORDS, LONDON for identifying & preserving more than 850 varieties of Sacred , Herbal , Medicinal Mother Plants and planting more than 45 Lakh plants and trees in Pragati.
W G Prasanna Kumar, Chairman MGNCRE, is a Public Servant leading from the front in contributing to the education system of India through advisory, academic and professional interventions, focusing on Swachhta and rural concerns. MGNCRE, under his chairmanship, is now an advisory interface and a curriculum development agency for the Government of India, having made path-breaking initiatives such as developing curriculum, manuals, text books; and networking and engaging with Higher Educational Institutions across the country for taking forward Experiential Learning, Community Engagement, Vocational Education, Skilling the youth for employability, Rural and Social Entrepreneurship, Waste Management as an employment generating industry, and Psycho-social Guidance (specifically pre and post COVID).
He has edited several text books on the Environment for AP/Telangana schools and is currently working on Environmental Education subject as a Resource Person and Academic Advisor.
He holds Ph.D in Education with basic degree in Social Work and Master’s Degree in Sociology, Public Administration and Political Science. He also has professional education in Environmental Economics, Public Relations, Communication, and Training and Development. His expertise in Disaster Management has helped him in the advisory panels of several state and national level departments. He is also an expert advisor for the government of Telangana in its Disaster Response Force endeavour.
Mr. Anand Varadaraj is a Creator | Contributor | Catalyst is the best way to explain Anand's entrepreneurial journey. He has ventured from renewable energy, construction chemicals to cinema. He is also a co-founder of a renewable Energy boutique, Ecoforge advisors. He is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the Bangalore International Short Film Festival (started in 2010). The only Oscar-accredited festival in India. Previously, apart from working a stint in the corporate world in GE aircraft business, he was also the Deputy Artistic Director of the Bangalore International Film Festival. Actor, producer and ex-President of Suchitra Film Society - 50-year-old organisation. He is also the Trustee of the Centre for Film and Drama, where works are underway to start a first of its kind Cinema School.
Additionally, Anand collaborates and mentors many independent filmmakers and producers for their new ventures.
Ms.Manju Borah films explore the region’s culture and its impact on the person and society as a whole. She has received National Awards for Baibhab (1999), Akashitorar Kothare...(2003), Aai Kot Nai(2008), Ko:Yad(2012), Dau Huduni Methai (2015)and In The Land of Poison Women (2018). Besides travelling in various National and International Film Festivals, her films Laaz,Joymati, Dau Huduni Methai and In the Land of Poison Women were selected in Indian Panorama,IFFI . She is the recipient of the Gollapudi Srinivas Award for Best Debut Director in 1999 for her film Baibhab which was the Best Asian film in 6th Dhaka International Film Festival. She had been awarded the Senior Fellowship from the Central Ministry of Culture for the years 2005 to 2007 on her work associated with Women Folklore of Assam. She has also received the Women of Excellence Award by FICCI for her outstanding contribution to the field of Film and Entrepreneurship in the year 2009 and the Satyajit Rai Memorial Award given by The Asian Film Foundation for the year 2012 for working to spread film culture in India as a lifetime mission. She holds various positions at different government committees as well as at cine organisations. She is also a regular writer published three books of short story collections and a novel in Assamese.
Mr. Ponangi Raghuveer (Indian Forest Service 1984 batch) has a Master’s degree in Chemistry from Osmania University, Hyderabad, apart from Post Graduate Diplomas in Wildlife Management and Human Resource Management. He is also a trained Chief Information Officer from IIM, Ahmedabad. He retired as PCCF, VC&MD TS Forest Development Corporation Ltd. in November 2020. As PCCF looking after Vigilance, Research, Information Technology and Publicity wings of the Forest Department at state level he had successfully steered the “Jungle Bachao Jungle Badhao” campaign. As Organizing secretary of APEC (Andhra Pradesh Environment Connect) he was instrumental in setting up a network of stakeholders working towards a better environment. He is an ardent campaigner for invoking ISR (Individual Social Responsibility) amongst citizens for a better environment through individual actions. His other postings include Addl. Secretary (egovernance) and (EFS&T). He successfully managed two World Bank Assisted Projects in ICDS and Forestry sectors. As Conservator of Forests, Warangal, he was instrumental in taking up for the first time in 400 years, an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA ) of a tribal jathara in Medaram which is attended by over 40 lakh people in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary area. He has been a Jury Member in several panels for selecting Green Initiatives, Green IT Company, egov initiatives for Improved Service Delivery, Green Champions, etc.
Dr. Anish Andheria is the President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT), a not-for-profit working in and around 160 national parks and sanctuaries in 23 states of India. He is a member of several Government Committees including the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), State Boards of Wildlife of both Maharashtra and Jammu & Kashmir and the Executive Committee of the Gujarat State Lion Conservation Society. He has been awarded the prestigious Carl Zeiss Conservation Award in 2008 and the UAA-Institute of Chemical Technology Distinguished Alumnus Award 2017. He is a large carnivore biologist with immense knowledge on predator-prey relationships and has contributed to several carnivore conservation projects across India. He has co-authored two books on Indian wildlife. He is also a part of the Organising Committee of the India Climate Collaborative (ICC); the Governing Council of the 'Bombay Natural History Society' (BNHS) and the Advisory Board of BNP Paribas India Foundation.
Mr.Ranjan Kishor Panda, a sociologist by education, has more than three decades of experience facilitating several initiatives – starting from grassroots to national as well as South Asia levels – to promote water, environmental conservation and climate change advocacy. He convenes two active networks: Water Initiatives (WI) and Combat Climate Change Network, India. He is a well-known expert on water, sanitation, disasters and climate change issues; and also a senior freelance journalist. He also leads the #Youth4Water campaign. Currently, he is leading another campaign called “Commons Climate Connect” aimed at COP26 and beyond. Popularly known as Water Man of Odisha and also as ‘Climate Crusader’ in India, was awarded by the President of India with the first “Green Hero” by NDTV-TOYOTA. He has many more awards and recognitions to his credit, and has got a fair experience of working with media and communication initiatives.
Ratna Chotrani, senior Journalist working with Siasat as Senior Reporter for over 3 decades contributing to PTI and other digital media. She has covered expanses of culture, Arts Defence Medical Health and Lifestyle alongside Politics. She has also served as Censor Board member. She is a member of various committees on the State Government. She has Actively wrote for the Hindu, Deccan Chronicle, Indian Express and the PTI from time to time. Also edited a Health magazine , wrote for a magazine called 040 , B. Positive. She has wrote and edited a Cofee Table book on Women Entrepreneurs titled WOMEN GLORY. Won the State Best Journalist award for 2013, the IOGT Good Templers Japan Medal Wond, the Indywood Best Journalist Award, the Lady Legends Award and the state best journalist in 2017. She also ran a cookery show for the Siasat daily in association with ITC Hyderabad.
Mr.Veda Kumar Manikonda has been working since mid-1980s for the protection of Tangible and Intangible Heritage, Monuments, Rock Formations and Vernacular and Regional Architectures in the states of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh and Telangana particularly in the metropolitan region of Hyderabad. Chairman, Forum for a Better Hyderabad (FBH) has undertaken activities related to Heritage Conservation, Urban Planning and Sustainable Development of Hyderabad Metropolitan area. And as the Member of Tree Protection Committee, Govt. of Telangana, he had saved from felling and got translocated more than 10,000 trees since 2008. He had headed the Musi Conservation Study Project during 2005-2007 in collaboration with Humboldt University, Berling,Germany on behalf of FBH. He had Headed the Heritage Listing Project, which is the Inventorisation of Built Heritage of Hyderabad City during 2008-2010 on behalf of HUDA and INTACH. He was a recipient of the National Award from then President of India, Sri.R Venkataraman in 1991 as a co-producer for the film “MATTI MANUSHULU” directed by renowned film maker Sri. B Narsing Rao. He is also a jury member at International Children’s Film Festivals like Iran, China, India, Italy, South Korea, Armenia, Tunisia, Philippines etc., He has published many books in Telugu, Hindi and English on subjects related to environment, heritage, history and archeology and as Founder of “BALACHELIMI”, published a Children Magazine with new perspective in Telugu, and published many books for children. He created "BALARANYA”, a nature centre with a permaculture concept, which is the treasure of information for educationists and environmentalists specially for school children.
Dr. Ch. Sasikala is working as Professor of Environmental science and Technology and Director, Institute of science and Technology, JNTU Hyderabad. Her research interests are in the area of bacterial taxonomy and bioprospecting, especially for environmental management. Her group specializes in the cultivation of anaerobic bacteria which is a rare expertise world over. In addition to description of a large number of new taxa (200 new species, 35 new genera, one new family and one new order), she has 3 Indian patents granted and several bacterial strains commercialized as biofertilizers and for solid waste management and as aquaculture probiotics. She is a recipient of State Best Teacher Award (State award for Meritorious Teachers) from the Government of Telangana, “AMI-Prof. B N. Johri award for Microbial Diversity”, by Association of Microbiologists of India and “E K Janaki Ammal National Award on Microbial Taxonomy” for life time achievement in taxonomic research and training of students.