Founder of NGO Goonj, Anshu Gupta, who has been named for this year's Ramon Magsaysay Award says that social initiatives can succeed only when people are not treated as objects of charity.
"I come from a middle class family and I understand the sense of dignity. Why treat people as the subject or object of charity? Donation is not about donor's pride; it's about receiver's dignity," he said, speaking to NDTV.
The 42-year-old said the recognition will encourage social entrepreneurs to do more to solve India's problems. "I am overwhelmed for sure. This is recognition for the work we do," he said.
Mr Gupta left his corporate job to start an organisation known as Goonj in 1999. Today it works in 21 states across India for humanitarian aid, disaster relief and community development.
"We promote the idea of cloth-for-work where people who do work are rewarded with the material. There is a sense of dignity in this. Our initiative is also sort of a parallel economy - not cash based but trash based," Mr Gupta said.
"There are enough government schemes that need to be implemented. But let us not depend on the government, let's be part of the process and deliver. India doesn't need any more thinkers. We need more 'do-ers'," he added.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation has said that 42-year-old is being recognized for "his creative vision in transforming the culture of giving in India, his enterprising leadership in treating cloth as a sustainable development resource for the poor, and in reminding the world that true giving always respects and preserves human dignity."
Along with Mr Gupta, whistleblower bureaucrat Sanjiv Chaturvedi, has also been named for the award that recognises Asians for public service, governance, leadership and contribution to arts and literature.