hosted its first Indian of the Year Awards in 2006. The annual event is back in the limelight with the nomination process having been initiated on January 12. The awards honour people from various fields such as politics, sports, business, entertainment and public service as well as global Indians.
Speaking to afaqs!, Dilip Venkatraman, convener, CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Awards, and chief marketing officer, IBN18 Network, says, "The CNN-IBN Awards were announced with the aim of becoming an institution in themselves, eventually coming to be recognised as the highest civilian awards, just like the ones bestowed by the government."
Venkatraman adds, "The four-tier process of selection and the format of the awards have ensured that they command the participation of both eminent jurists and the public and still manage to remain bereft of populism."
Hindustan Times is lending editorial support to the endeavour this year. Shantanu Bhanja, vice-president, marketing, Hindustan Times, says, "We are an integral part of the awards as Hindustan Times is not only helping to build awareness about them, but also actively partnering in the whole nomination and selection process in association with Rajdeep Sardesai, the editor in chief of IBN18 Network. The partnership is built on the shared values of the two organisations."
Bhanja adds that Hindustan Times is helping to take the awards to a much larger audience and thereby ensuring greater public participation.
Venkatraman shares that over the past two years, the credibility and increasing popularity of the awards have differentiated and distinguished them.
The organisation follows a four-tier process for the nomination and selection of winners. In the first stage, the editorial board of CNN-IBN and Hindustan Times draws a list of nominees for the various categories. In the second stage, the jury, consisting of eminent Indians and recipients of India's highest state honours such as Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan, ratify the list of nominees. Eminent personalities such as Soli Sorabjee, Deepak Parekh, Nandan Nilekani, Shobhana Bhartia, Geet Sethi and Mohanlal have featured on the jury for the awards in past years.
In the next step, 100 eminent citizens, part of the electoral college, vote for their choices. People also get to vote for their favourites through SMS or by logging on to the CNN-IBN and Hindustan Times website.
To keep the process of selection transparent and truly representative, equal weightage is given to the electoral votes and the citizens' votes. To spread the word about the awards and involve people in the nomination process, CNN-IBN is airing a number of programmes on the nominees. To supplement the effort, Hindustan Times is carrying special features on the nominees and extensively reporting all the processes leading up to the awards.
The event to announce and felicitate the winners of the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Awards 2008 will be held on February 2.