Prema Cariappa’s illustrious career record is perhaps a tribute to her multitasking skills. Given her grounding in social work, it would be unfair to label her as just a Congress politician. Over the years, Prema Cariappa has made a name in local Karnataka politics and has also won recognition for her involvement in various social projects.
Her Personal Background and Career
Prema Cariappa was born in Virajpet, Karnataka in 1951. She completed her college education in Mysore and then married into the Cariappa family and thus got one of the most famous Karnataka surnames.
Her involvement in social work and politics began soon after her marriage. She was first noticed in the State political arena when she became the Mayor of Bangalore in the year 2000. Her rise to the post of the mayor was not sudden as she had been active in the Bangalore city council for several years.
During her years in the city council, she initiated and worked on several projects for the empowerment of widows and destitute. Her other areas of interest include urban and rural sanitation as well as environment protection.
Prema Cariappa made a leap into the national political scene when she was elected as the Congress Rajya Sabha candidate from the state in 2002. Her selection for the Rajya Sabha seat did raise eyebrows. The controversy arose as Prema Cariappa had never contested a State Assembly or Legislative Council election. Her name had not even been in the reckoning when various candidates were being discussed.
After her stint in the Rajya Sabha, the next major landmark in Prema Cariappa’s career was her appointment as the chairperson of the Central Social Welfare Board. She assumed charge in 2008 and focused the attention of the board on the plight of the girl child in India.
Her Achievements and Awards
Prema Cariappa has held several important posts during her career and has also worked in various committees involved in social and political causes. As chairperson of the Central Social Welfare Board, she launched the Balika Sanrakshan Abhiyan, a campaign against female foeticide.
Some of the committees she has served in include the Central Silk Board, Coffee Board, Urban Development Ministry consultative committee, external affairs committee and women’s empowerment committee. She was also appointed as the Chief Whip of the Congress party in the Rajya Sabha.
For her contribution to social work, Prema Cariappa was given the Rashtriya Gaurav Award by the India International Friendship Society. She was conferred with the Indira Gandhi Award by the Indian Farm Journalist Association in 2009. She has also travelled widely in the course of her work and has attended global conferences focused on her areas of interest.
Prema Cariappa’s involvement in politics and social work has made her a well recognized figure in Karnataka. She may have kept away from the chaotic electoral scene at the state and national levels, but has still managed to make her presence felt.