What Are Padma Awards

The government announced 25 Padma Shri awards and one Padma Vibhushan on January 25. Dilip Mahalanabis, who invented ORS, will receive the Padma Vibhushan posthumously in the discipline of medicine (paediatrics).

The Padma Awards, which attempt to “recognise achievements in all spheres of activity or disciplines where an element of public service is involved,” are India’s second-highest civilian honours after the Bharat Ratna,” according to the Padma Awards website.

The origins of the Padma Awards –

The Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan were established as the two highest civilian honours in India in 1954. Pahela Varg, Dusra Varg, and Tisra Varg were the first three courses of the later (third class). These awards were given the names Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri in 1955.

What Are Padma Awards

The Padma Awards are given annually to meritorious civilians; however, the Bharat Ratna is considered an uncommon honor, with just 45 Bharat Ratnas having been handed out so far. Every year, with the exception of 1978, 1979, and the years between 1993 and 1997, the honorees’ names are revealed on the eve of Republic Day.

Not including posthumous prizes and awards awarded to NRIs and foreigners, there are often little more than 120 awards granted each year. Though the government may contemplate posthumous felicitation in rare circumstances, the honour is often not given posthumously.

Scientist Satyendra Nath Bose, artist Nandalal Bose, educator and politician Zakir Hussain, social activist and politician Balasaheb Gangadhar Kher, and diplomat and academic V.K. Krishna Menon were the inaugural recipients of the Padma Vibhushan award. Jigme Dorji Wangchuk of Bhutan was the first non-Indian recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, and he also got it in 1954.

What are the Padma Awards

The awards are given out by the Indian President, usually at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The recipients do not get a monetary award; instead, they receive a certificate that has been signed by the president and a medallion that they can display at official events. The recipients are expected not to add the awards as a prefix or suffix to their names because they are not conferrals of titles.

A Padma awardee may obtain a higher award (for example, a Padma Shri awardee may receive a Padma Bhushan or Vibhushan), but only five years after the preceding honour was conferred.

The awards are offered in a few select areas, such as sports, social work, literature and education, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, public affairs, and social work. Awards are also presented for advancing Indian culture, defending human rights, and conserving biodiversity, among other things.

Qualifications for Padma Awards

All people, regardless of ethnicity, profession, status, or sexual orientation, are eligible for these honors. Government employees, including those employed by PSUs, are not eligible for these awards, with the exception of physicians and scientists.

The prize, which is granted for notable and extraordinary achievements or service in all activities and disciplines, aims to recognise works of distinction.

The Padma award is presented for “exceptional services” in addition to “long service,” as stated in the selection criteria for the award. The standard must be “excellence plus” rather than just excellence in a particular field.

The selection procedure for the Padma Awards –

Any Indian citizen is eligible to suggest a candidate. Even oneself may be nominated. All nominations must be made online, where a form must be filled out along with information on the candidate or organization. For the nomination to be taken into consideration, an 800-word essay describing the work completed by the potential awardee must also be submitted.

Every year between May 1 and September 15, the government opens the Padma Awards portal to nominations. In order to send nominations, it also writes to numerous state governments, governors, union territories, central ministries, and various departments.

According to MHA, there are no strict standards or complex formulas for selection. However, one of the most important factors is a person’s lifetime accomplishments.

The Padma Awards Committee, which is established annually by the Prime Minister, considers all nominees for the honor. The Home Secretary, the Secretary to the President, and four to six distinguished individuals serve on the Padma Awards Committee, which is presided over by the Cabinet Secretary. The Prime Minister and President of India are asked to approve the committee’s recommendations.

After a preliminary selection is made, the ancestry of the chosen grantees is verified with the assistance of central agencies, according to sources who spoke with The Indian Express in 2022, to make sure nothing troubling has been recorded or entered into the public record about them. Then a final list is created and made public.

Can one decline the Padma Awards –

The awardee is called by the MHA prior to the release of the final list, even though their express approval is not requested. They can decline at that time, and their names will be quietly deleted if they do not wish to accept the honor. In the past, there have, however, been a few cases of more outspoken rejections.

Romila Thapar, a historian, declined to receive the Padma Bhushan twice, once in 1992 and once more in 2005, saying that she would only accept honours “from academic institutions or those linked with my professional job.”

E.M.S. Namboodripad, a former chief minister of Kerala and a towering figure in India’s communist movement, denied the award in 1992, since it was against his character to accept a public honour.

Since the prize was given to Swami Ranganathananda personally rather than to the Ramakrishna Mission, his organisation, he declined it in 2000.

The award has also occasionally been “returned” in a few cases. In the wake of the violent farmer demonstrations in the state, Parkash Singh Badal, the former chief minister of Punjab, recently surrendered his Padma Vibhushan in 2020.

Revocation of the Padma Awards –

Although it happens very rarely, the President of India has the authority to revoke a recipient’s Padma award if they engage in very heinous misbehavior. This problem recently came to light when Sushil Kumar, a wrestler who has won medals and received the Padma Shri award, was charged with murder.

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