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Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

Online nominations/recommendations for the Padma Awards to be announced on the occasion of Republic Day, 2021 have started.

The Padma Awards

  • The Padma Awards are announced annually on the eve of Republic Day (26th January).
  • There are 3 Padma Awards:
    1. Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service),
    2. Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher-order) and
    3. Padma Shri (distinguished service).
  • The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz.- art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
  • The Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.
  • 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.

Is it a title?

  • The award does not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the awardees’ name.
  • Article 18 clause 1- Abolishes titles and makes four provisions in that regard: It prohibits the state from conferring any title (except a military or academic distinction) on anybody, whether a citizen or a foreigner.

Prelims Bit: Is the Padma Vibhushan the highest civilian award?

NO: Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the country.

Bharat Ratna is awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour.

  • Recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President of India.
  • Only 3 Bharat Ratna Awards can be given in a year.


  1. Bharat Ratna- 1st degree of honour
  2. Padma Vibhushan- 2nd degree of honour
  3. Padma Bhushan- 3rd degree of honour
  4. Padma Shri- 4th degree of honour
December 2023