President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the prestigious Gandhi Peace Prize for 2013 upon environmentalist Chandi Prasad Bhatt. The 80-year-old Bhatt, a true Gandhian and member of the Sarvodaya movement, has organized the Dashauli Gram Swarajya Sangh in 1964. Through the Sangh he tried to improve the lives of villagers by providing employment near their homes in forest-based industries, and fighting against wrong policies through Gandhian non-violent satyagraha. In 1973 he started Chipko movement for the redressal of the legitimate rights of the hill people to collect wood and fodder and saving them from natural calamities owing to large scale deforestation.
The Gandhi Peace Prize which carries a plaque, citation and an amount of Rs. 1 crore was instituted by the government in 1995 on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The previous recipients of this award are: former Tanzanian President Dr Julius K Nyerere, founder President of Sarvodaya Sharamadana movement in Sri Lanka Dr A.T. Ariyaratne, Dr Gerhard Fischer of Rama Krishna Mission in Germany, Baba Amte, Dr Nelson Mandela and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh (jointly), Dr John Hume of the Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan in Ireland, former Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.