What are the Padma Awards? What are the criteria for the selection of Padma awardees? What are the criteria and fields for the awards like Bharata Ratna, Padma Vibushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri? Read to know more here.
The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours of India. They are announced annually on the eve of Republic Day.
The awards come under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Awards are given in three categories:
- Padma Vibhushan for exceptional and distinguished service.
- Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of higher order.
- Padma Shri for distinguished service.
The award seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.
The Padma Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year. The nomination process is open to the public. Even self-nomination can be made.
History of Padma Awards
The Government of India instituted two civilian awards, the Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan in 1954.
The Padma Vibhushan had three classes namely Pahela Varg, Dusra Varg, and Tisra Varg. These were later renamed Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri through a Presidential Notification issued on January 8, 1955.
Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award in the country. It is awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavor. It is considered on a different level from the Padma Award.
The number of Bharat Ratna Awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year. The government has conferred Bharat Ratna Award on 45 persons to date.
Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri: List of fields
Padma Awards, which were instituted in the year 1954, are announced every year on the occasion of Republic Day except for brief interruption(s) during the years 1978 and 1979 and 1993 to 1997.
The constitutional validity of the Padma Awards was challenged in 1992 in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh concerning the Public interest Litigation filed. The award was suspended until the issue was resolved in the respective courts.
All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex are eligible for these awards. However, Government servants including those working with PSUs, except doctors and scientists, are not eligible for these awards.
The award seeks to recognize works of distinction and is given for distinguished and exceptional achievements/service in all fields of activities/disciplines.
A list of the fields is as under:
- Art (Music, Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Cinema, Theatre, etc.)
- Social work (social service, charitable service, contribution to community projects, etc.)
- Public Affairs (Law, Public Life, Politics, etc.)
- Science & Engineering (Space Engineering, Nuclear Science, Information Technology, Research & Development in Science & its allied subjects, etc.)
- Trade & Industry (Banking, Economic Activities, Management, Promotion of Tourism, Business, etc.)
- Medicine (medical research, distinction/specialization in Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Siddha, Allopathy, Naturopathy, etc.)
- Literature & Education (Journalism, Teaching, Book composing, Literature, Poetry, Promotion of education, Promotion of literacy, Education Reforms, etc.)
- Civil Service (distinction/excellence in administration etc. by Government Servants)
- Sports (popular Sports, Athletics, Adventure, Mountaineering, promotion of sports, Yoga, etc.)
- Others (fields not covered above and may include propagation of Indian Culture, protection of Human Rights, wildlife protection/conservation, etc.)
The Padma Awards: Important Facts
The award is normally not conferred posthumously. However, in highly deserving cases, the Government could consider giving an award posthumously.
A higher category of Padma award can be conferred on a person only where at least five years have elapsed since the conferment of the earlier Padma award. However, in highly deserving cases, a relaxation can be made by the Awards Committee.
The awards are presented by the President of India usually in March/April every year where the awardees are presented a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a medallion.
The recipients are also given a small replica of the medallion, which they can wear during any ceremonial/State functions etc. if the awardees so desire. The names of the awardees are published in the Gazette of India on the day of the presentation ceremony.
The total number of awards to be given in a year (excluding posthumous awards and to NRI/foreigners/OCIs) should not be more than 120.
The award does not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the awardees’ name.
The Padma Awards Committee
All nominations received for the Padma Awards are placed before the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.
The Padma Awards Committee is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and includes the Home Secretary, the Secretary to the President, and four to six eminent persons as members.
The recommendations of the committee are submitted to the Prime Minister and the President of India for approval.
Padma Awards 2022
This year the President has approved the conferment of 128 Padma Awards. This comprises of 4 Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan, and 107 Padma Shri Awards. There are 13 Posthumous awardees on the list.
General Bipin Rawat, the first Chief of Defence Staff who died in an air crash recently, and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh who headed the State during the Babri masjid demolition were conferred with Padma Vibushan posthumously on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day.
Also read: National Sports Awards of India
Previous UPSC Question from the topic
Consider the following statements in respect of the Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards.
(1) Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards are titled under Article 18(1) of the Constitution of India.
(2) Padma Awards, which were instituted in the year 1954, were suspended only once.
(3) The number of Bharat Ratna Awards is restricted to a maximum of five in a particular year.
Which of the above statements is not correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(C) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3