#WhatTheFAQ: PM Modi biggest contender for Nobel Peace Prize? Who said this? What is the nomination process?

It is only two times that India received the Nobel Peace Prize. One was in 2014, awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and the other in 1989, awarded to the Dalai Lama
Pic credits: Edex Live
Pic credits: Edex Live

On Wednesday, March 15, the Deputy Leader of the Nobel Prize Committee, Asle Toje, said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the biggest contender for the Nobel Peace Prize. Additionally, he called the PM the “most reliable face of peace in the world”. Toje hailed his governance and added that India is becoming a rich and powerful country because of PM Modi’s policies.

But as per the latest news reports, Toje denied the same. "A fake news tweet was sent out and I think we should treat it as fake news. It's fake. Let's not discuss it, give it energy or oxygen. I categorically deny that I said anything resembling what was in that tweet," he said while talking to news agency ANI.

So, what is this Nobel Peace Prize? What are the criteria? Who selects the awardee? And how many times did India win this prize? 

What is the Nobel Peace Prize?
With regard to the Peace Prize, the will of Alfred Nobel stipulated that it was to be awarded to the person "who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses". Over the course of time, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded in recognition of many different kinds of peace work and concepts of peace.

Additionally, Laureates are presented with a medal, a diploma and a cheque for a large sum of money (currently 10 million Swedish crowns).

What are the criteria for the nomination?
As per the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize is considered valid if it is submitted by a person who falls within one of the following categories:

- Members of national assemblies and national governments (cabinet members/ministers) of sovereign states as well as current heads of state
- Members of the International Court of Justice and The Permanent Court of Arbitration, both at The Hague
- Members of l'Institut de Droit International
- Members of the International Board of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
- University professors, professors emeriti and associate professors of history, social sciences, law, philosophy, theology and religion; university rectors and university directors (or their equivalents); directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes
- Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
- Members of the main board of directors or its equivalent of organisations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
- Current and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee (proposals by current members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after February 1)
- Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee

Do note, these criteria were revised in April 2018. Moreover, a personal application for an award will not be considered, it added. 

What is the process to select a noble Laureate?
The process is a long eight-month screening and decision-making one. Here's the breakdown of the whole process:

1. Nomination Period: Nominations for next year's candidates are welcome from September 1. And nominations for the prize are accepted until January 31

2. These nominations are handed over to the Nobel Committee in mid-February

3. The committee reviews all valid nominations and prepares a shortlist for further examination

4. Candidate reports are submitted by the committee's permanent advisers and other Norwegian or international experts

5. Regular deliberations are held from mid-February through September to discuss and steadily narrow the field of candidates

6. The Norwegian Nobel Committee decides who will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

7. Finally, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate is announced on the Friday of the first full week of October

How many nominations have been received for this year?
As per the official website of the Nobel Peace Prize, each year the Norwegian Nobel Committee receives several hundred nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. And for 2023, there are 306 candidates, out of which, 213 are individuals and 93 are organisations.

At 306 candidates, the number is less than last year (343) and the lowest number of candidates since 2019. For eight years in a row, the number of candidates has been exceeding 300. The record of 376 candidates was reached in 2016. However, neither the names of the nominators nor the nominees for the Prize are disclosed. 

Why the confidentiality?
Answering this, the Statutes of the Nobel Foundation said, 

"A prize-awarding body may, however, after due consideration in each individual case, permit access to material which formed the basis for the evaluation and decision concerning a prize, for purposes of research in intellectual history. Such permission may not, however, be granted until at least 50 years have elapsed after the date on which the decision in question was made."

How many times did India receive a Nobel Peace Prize?
In 2014, children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “focusing attention on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain”. Another important reason was that he followed the non-violent tradition of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.

In 1989, the religious and political leader the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He has since 1959 stood as the head of the nonviolent opposition to China's occupation of Tibet. The award of the Peace Prize gave the Dalai Lama the opportunity to present a plan for the restoration of peace and human rights in Tibet. 

Who are the previous winners?
Ales Bialiatski for promoting democracy and human rights in Belarus, Europe since the 1980s

2021: Philippines's Maria Ressa and Russia's Dmitry Muratov for fighting for press freedom

2020: World Food Programme for combatting hunger on a global scale

2019: Ethiopia's then Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for a historic peace agreement with Eritrean (Country in East Africa) President Isaias Afwerki in 2018 

2018: Democratic Republic of the Congo's Denis Mukwege and Iraq's Nadia Murad for for helping combat sexual violence

2017: Australia's International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for fighting to prevent nuclear disaster

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