History Of The Awards
- The Padma Awards, consisting of the Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan, were first instituted in 1954 as India’s highest civilian honors.
- In 1955, the awards were renamed as Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri, respectively.
- The Bharat Ratna is considered an exceptional award, with only 45 recipients till date. The Padma Awards are annually conferred to deserving civilians.
- Names of recipients are typically announced on Republic Day eve, with a maximum of 120 awards given in a year (excluding posthumous and NRI/foreigner awards).
- The first ever Padma Vibhushan awardees in 1954 were scientist Satyendra Nath Bose, artist Nandalal Bose, educationist and politician Zakir Hussain, social worker and politician Balasaheb Gangadhar Kher, and diplomat and academic V.K. Krishna Menon. The first non-Indian recipient was Bhutanese king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.
How The Winners Are Chose
- The awards are presented by the President of India, usually at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
- Awardees do not receive any cash reward, but are given a certificate signed by the President and a medallion that they can wear at public and government functions.
- The awards are not a conferment of title, and awardees are not supposed to use them as prefix or suffix to their names.
- A Padma awardee can be given a higher award, but only after five years of the conferment of the previous award.
- Awards are given in certain categories such as Art, Social Work, Public Affairs, Science & Engineering, Trade & Industry, Medicine, Literature & Education, Civil Service, and Sports. Awards are also given for propagation of Indian culture, protection of human rights, wildlife protection among others.
Padma Awards Eligibility:
- All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex are eligible for these awards.
- Government servants, including those working with PSUs, are not eligible for these awards, except for doctors and scientists.
The award seeks to recognize works of distinction and is given for distinguished and exceptional achievements or service in all fields of activities and disciplines. According to Padma awards selection criteria, the award is given for “special services” and not just for “long service”. The criteria for selection is “excellence plus”
The Process of Selection for Padma Awards:
- Any citizen of India can nominate a potential recipient, including oneself.
- All nominations are to be done online, where a form is to be filled along with details of the person or the organization being nominated.
- An 800-word essay detailing the work done by the potential awardee is also to be submitted for the nomination to be considered.
- The government opens the Padma awards portal for nominations between May 1 and September 15 every year. It also writes to various state governments, governors, Union territories, central ministries, and various departments to send nominations.
- There is no rigid criteria or trenchant formula for selection, according to MHA. However, the lifetime achievement of an individual is among the main considerations.
- All nominations received for 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 Home Secretary, 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.
- Once a preliminary selection is made, the antecedents of the selected awardees are verified using the services of central agencies to ensure nothing untoward has been reported or come on record about them.
- A final list is then prepared and announced.
Can The Padma Awards Be Refused?
Yes, the Padma Awards can be refused. While explicit consent is not sought from the awardee, before the final list is announced, they receive a call from the MHA. If they do not wish to receive the award, they can refuse at that time, and their names will be removed without any noise. However, there have been instances of more public refusals in the past.
For instance, historian Romila Thapar refused to accept the Padma Bhushan twice, in 1992, and later again in 2005, stating that she would accept awards only “from academic institutions or those associated with my professional work.”
Former Kerala Chief Minister and doyen of India’s communist movement E.M.S. Namboodripad declined the award in 1992, as it went against his nature to accept a state honor.
Swami Ranganathananda declined the award in 2000 as it was conferred to him as an individual and not to the Ramakrishna Mission, his institution.
There have also been instances when the award has been “returned.” Recently, former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal returned his Padma Vibhushan in 2020, in the wake of the raging farmers’ protests in the state.
The President of India can also annul or cancel someone’s Padma award in case of any egregious misconduct committed by the recipient. Recently, this issue came up when medal-winning wrestler and Padma Shri awardee Sushil Kumar was implicated in a case of murder.
Padma Awards 2023 Announced
This year’s Padma Awards, which are the second highest civilian award in the country, have recognized 26 unsung heroes among the 106 awardees.
Dilip Mahalanabis, a medical researcher who promoted the worldwide use of Oral Rehydration Solution and saved over 5 crore lives globally, has been selected for the Padma Vibhushan.
Other notable recipients include retired government doctor Ratan Chandra Kar, who works with the Jarawa tribe in the Nicobar islands, Siddi tribal social worker Hirabai Lobi, war veteran Munishwar Chander Dawar, who has been treating underprivileged people in Madhya Pradesh, and Naga social worker Ramkuiwangbe Newme, who has protected and promoted Heraka indigenous culture.
V.P. Appukuttan Poduval, a 99-year-old freedom fighter who participated in the Quit India movement, snake catchers Vadivel Gopal and Masi Sadaiyan of the Irula Tribe in Tamil Nadu, and 98-year-old self-sustained small organic farmer Tula Ram Upreti have also been selected for Padma Shri.
These awards are conferred by the President at ceremonial functions, which are held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March or April every year. The recipients of the award receive a certificate signed by the President and a medallion that they can wear at public and government functions. The awards are not a conferment of title, and the awardees are expected to not use them as prefix or suffix to their names.
Full List of 2023 Padma Awards
|Balkrishna Doshi (Posthumous)||Others – Architecture||Gujarat|
|S M Krishna||Public Affairs||Karnataka|
|Dilip Mahalanabis (Posthumous)||Medicine||West Bengal|
|Srinivas Varadhan||Science & Engineering||USA|
|Mulayam Singh Yadav (Posthumous)||Public Affairs||Uttar Pradesh|
|S L Bhyrappa||Literature & Education||Karnataka|
|Kumar Mangalam Birla||Trade & Industry||Maharashtra|
|Shri Deepak Dhar||Science & Engineering||Maharashtra|
|Vani Jairam||Art||Tamil Nadu|
|Swami Chinna Jeeyar||Others – Spiritualism||Telangana|
|Kapil Kapoor||Literature & Education||Delhi|
|Sudha Murty||Social Work||Karnataka|
|Kamlesh D Patel||Others – Spiritualism||Telangana|