All You Need To Know About the Padma Awards

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The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian awards of India and are announced on the eve of Republic Day every year. These awards recognize ‘work of distinction’ and are given for extraordinary services or achievements in diverse fields, such as Social Work, Medicine, Sports, Public Affairs, Art, Literature and Education, Science and Engineering, Civil Service etc. All persons without race, position, sex or occupation are eligible for these awards.

History and Relevance

The Indian government instituted two civilian awards – the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan in 1954 and for the latter, had three categories, namely Pahela Varg, Dusra Varg and Tisra Varg.

Later these were renamed as,

  • Padma Vibhushan for exceptional and distinguished service;
  • Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of a high order; and
  • Padma Shri for distinguished service.

The awards are presented by the President of India along with a Sanad (certificate) and a medallion. The total number of awards given in a year (excluding posthumous awards and to NRI/foreigners/OCIs) is not more than 120. The awardees’ names are published in the Gazette of India on the day of the presentation ceremony.

The award is usually not given posthumously. However, in exceptional cases, the Government of India does consider giving an award posthumously.

Who Decides

All nominations received for Padma Awards are presented to Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year. The Padma Awards Committee is managed by the Cabinet Secretary and incorporates Home Secretary, Secretary to the President and four to six renowned people. On the basis of the recommendations of the Padma Awards Committee, and after approval of the President, Prime Minister and Home Minister, the Padma Awards are announced on the Republic Day every year.

These awards represent the work of recognition done by fellow Indians, and also serve as an inspiration to the citizens for the difference that a single individual can make, or the influence they can generate. This year’s list of Padma awardees introduced us to several names whose impact on the country and its people has been noticeable – a list worth going over! Who knows, when inspiration may strike and a reader of this blog becomes a Padma awardee in times to come 🙂