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Durga Ratan Awards are given by the Durga Das Ratan Devi Trust, which was founded by Durga Das from out of the royalty he got from his memoirs “India From Curzon to Nehru & After” (1969) and the fund that had accumulated in his wife's name out of half the share she got out of his Provident Fund and Gratuity on retirement as Chief Editor of the Hindustan Times. The corpus is the product of his sweat and labour as a journalist. In his memoirs he says that his wife relieved him of the task of managing their domestic affairs and that without association of her name with the Trust, the Awards would not truly reflect the facts of his life. 

The institution of the awards was the first major step taken in India to recognize professional merit among journalists and encourage them to achieve greater professional heights. The awards are on the lines of the Pulitzer Awards. However, the system chosen by the Trust is superior. Both the Awards provided for an Advisory Committee to select the recipients. But in the case of Durga Das' Trust the recommendations of this Committee were binding on the Trustees,.Whereas the Pulitzer Trustees had the right to alter the recommendations. 

The Award consists of a Gold Medal, a citation and a cash prize to the recipients in the following categories: 

  • The Editor, whose advocacy of a cause has made the greatest impact on the public and/or on the authorities during the year.
  • The columnist whose writings over the year marked him out as the most outstanding analyst and commentator of the year.
  • The best performance in the sphere of investigative reporting during the year.
  • The author of the most outstanding news story --- the scoop of the year.
  • The most outstanding portrayal of an event which attracted nationwide attention through pictorial reproduction or through a cartoon.
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