Student From Odisha Awarded Rashtriya Bal Puraskar

Bringing glory to Odisha, young student Banita Dash has won the prestigious Prime Minister Rashtriya Bal Puraskar Award for 2022. The award was handed over on Monday at a virtual ceremony in Madhya Pradesh’s Anupur district, ahead of the Republic Day celebration. Banita has been rewarded for excellence in the field of innovation.

Notably, the young student received global acclamation for designing an automated sanitising school bag.

Banita, who lives in Nabarangpur, attended the virtual conference from the Anupur district collector’s office. She was awarded a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and an e-certificate from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Her first major accomplishment was the discovery of a small planet in 2021 during her time at the Khagolala Asteroid Search Campaign (KASC). As part of the campaign, the children were trained in identifying asteroids. Banita had identified one, which was later recognised as a planet by NASA, Hardin-University, and the International Astronomical science. Presently, the planet is named after her.

Daughter of Bana Bihari Dash and Anita Dash, Banita expresses high interest in exploring small planets. Around 300 students from various schools in the district heard Banita’s success story at the programme organised by Nabarangpur district education officer, Pradip Kumar Nag, on the day.

Encouraging more young spirits to think out of the box, Banita said, “The road would be visible wherever there is hope”.

“Banita wishes to be a space scientist and aspires to work at NASA someday. We are so proud of her”, said her father.

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