Dilip Mahalanabis, who pioneered the use of ORS, will be awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award.
The government in a statement on the eve of the 74th Republic Day said Mr Mahalanabis’ efforts led to widespread use of oral rehydration system, or ORS, which is “estimated to have saved over five crore lives globally.”
Mr Mahalanabis, 87, who died in October last year, was a resident of West Bengal.
ORS is a simple, inexpensive yet effective ingenious solution, thanks to which the world has seen 93 per cent reduction in deaths caused by diarrhoea, cholera and dehydration, especially in infants and children.
The government said he demonstrated the effectiveness of ORS while serving in refugee camps during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, having returned from the US to serve.
The others are Ratan Chandra Kar, a retired government doctor from the Andamans; Hirabai Lobi, a Siddi tribal social worker; Munishwar Chander Dawar, a war veteran and doctor from Jabalpur; Ramkuiwangbe Newme, a Naga social worker; VP Appukuttan Poduval, a freedom fighter from Payyanur; Sankurathri Chandra Sekhar, a Kakinada based social worker; Vadivel Gopal and Masi Sadaiyan, expert snake catchers from Irula tribe; Tula Ram Upreti, a 98-year-old self-sustained small farmer; Nekram Sharma, an organic farmer from Mandi; Janum Singh Soy, a tribal Ho language scholar; Dhaniram Toto, a Toto (Dengka) language preserver; B Ramakrishna Reddy, an 80-year-old linguistics professor from Telangana, among others.
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