The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day. The award seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.
The Government of India instituted two civilian awards-Bharat Ratna & Padma Vibhushan in 1954. The latter had three classes namely 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.
Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the country. It is awarded in recognition of exceptional service / performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour. It is treated on a different footing from Padma Award. The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President of India. No formal recommendations for Bharat Ratna are necessary. The number of Bharat Ratna Awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year. Government has conferred Bharat Ratna Award on 48 persons till date.
Padma Awards, which were instituted in the year 1954, is 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 award is given in three categories, namely,
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. An illustrative list of the fields is as under:
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 a period of at least five years has elapsed since 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 the month of 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.
Nominations are invited from Central Ministries/Departments, States/UT Governments, Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan awardees, Institutes of Excellence as also from several other sources to enable broadbased consideration. All citizens can make nominations/recommendation including self-nomination. The nominations/recommendations should contain all relevant details specified in the format available on the above said website, including a citation in narrative form (maximum 800 words), clearly bringing out the distinguished and exceptional achievements/service of the person recommended in her/his respective field/discipline. While recommending a person online, it should be ensured that all the necessary details are filled properly.
The nominations/recommendations for the Padma Awards are being received online only on the Padma portal www.padmaawards.gov.in.
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.
Source : Ministry of Home Affairs