President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday conferred the Gandhi Peace Prize 2014 to Indian Space Research Organisation in recognition of its services in transforming India through the use of space technology and space based services.
ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar received the honour which carries Rs one crore in cash, a plaque and a citation.
"Countering the challenges of scarce resources, limited technical manpower and physical infrastructure in the early years, ISRO has today established operational space systems and services, attained self-reliance in development of indigenous technology and accomplished exemplary feats in space exploration.
"It has, at the same time, remained true to its mission of bringing space to the service of the common man," the president said.
From a humble beginning, launching small sounding rockets from Thumba for atmospheric studies, ISRO is presently one of the six largest space agencies of the world, he said.
Mukherjee praised ISRO for scripting space history on September 24, 2014 by successfully placing the Mars Orbiter around Mars. India is the only country in the world to achieve this feat in its first attempt and ISRO the fourth space agency in the world to reach Mars.
"It makes us even more proud that this mission was achieved at a fraction of the cost incurred by other successful nations," he said.
ISRO's people centric space programmes are designed to support various national priorities such as food and water security, sustainable environmental practices, conservation of resources, livelihood support, poverty alleviation, rural prosperity, education and health care and disaster management amongst others, the president said.
"It is my privilege and honour to receive the prestigious award on behalf of my organisation ISRO," Kiran Kumar said in his acceptance speech.
Gandhi Peace Prize, whose secretariat is provided by the culture ministry, is presented annually by the president. This award is given to individuals and institutions for their contribution towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani and other dignitaries were present in the ceremony.