From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Padma Awards
Mains level : National Honours
The central government has announced the names of Padma awardees for this year.
What are Padma awards?
- The Padma awards are the highest civilian honor of India after the Bharat Ratna.
- They are announced every year on the eve of Republic Day.
- The awards are given in three categories:
- Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service)
- Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and
- Padma Shri (distinguished service)
- The award seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.
Note: During the years 1978 and 1979 and 1993 to 1997, Padma awards were not announced.
Who are the awardees?
- The awards are given in certain select categories which include 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, wild life protection among others.
- The PADMA Awards were instituted in 1954 along with Bharat Ratna.
- At that time only Padma Vibhushan existed with three sub-categories – Pahela Varg, Dusra Varg and Tisra Varg.
- These were subsequently renamed as Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri vide Presidential Notification issued on January 8, 1955.
Particulars of the awards
- The awardees do not get any cash reward but a certificate signed by the President apart from a medallion which they can wear at public and government functions.
- The awards are, however, not a conferment of title and the awardees are expected to not use them as prefix or suffix to their names.
- A Padma awardee can be given a higher award only after five years of the conferment of the earlier award.
Terms of awarding
- Not more than 120 awards can be given in a year but this does not include posthumous awards or awards given to NRIs and foreigners.
- The award is normally not conferred posthumously.
- However, in highly deserving cases, the Government could consider giving an award posthumously.
Who is eligible for Padma awards?
- 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 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”.
- It should not be merely excellence in a particular field, but the criteria has to be ‘excellence plus’.
Who nominates the awardees?
- Any citizen of India can nominate a potential recipient.
- One can even nominate one’s own self. All nominations are to be done online where a form is to be filled along with details of the person or the organisation 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 also writes to various state governments, governors, Union territories, central ministries and various departments to send nominations.
Who selects the awardees?
- 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.
- 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.
Is the recipient’s consent sought?
- There is no provision for seeking a written or formal consent of the recipient before the announcement of the award.
- However, before the announcement, every recipient receives a call from the Ministry of Home Affairs informing him or her about the selection.
- In case the recipient expresses a desire to be excluded from the award list, the name is removed.
Try this question from CSP 2021
Q.Consider the following statements in respect of Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards
- Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards are titles under the Article 18(1) of the Constitution of India.
- Padma wards, which were instituted in the year 1954, were suspended only once.
- The number of Bharat Ratna Awards is restricted to a maximum of five in a particular year.
Which of the above statements are not correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Post your answers here.