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Explained | Padma awards and how they are different from each other

Announced annually on the eve of Republic Day, the awards seek to recognise individuals and achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines
Last Updated : 26 January 2023, 11:45 IST
Last Updated : 26 January 2023, 11:45 IST
Last Updated : 26 January 2023, 11:45 IST
Last Updated : 26 January 2023, 11:45 IST

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The coveted Padma awards -- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri -- for the year 2023 were announced on Wednesday.

Announced annually on the eve of Republic Day, the awards seek to recognise individuals and achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines "where an element of public service is involved". The awards are given to exemplary individuals from various disciplines and fields such as art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.

But how are each of these awards different from each other? How exactly do these awards get decided? What criteria must be met for a nominee to win a Padma award? Let's take a closer look.

History

The Padma awards date back to the 1950s.

The Government of India instituted two civilian awards, namely, the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan on January 2, 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.

What's the difference?

The Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri are three distinct awards given by the Government of India to exceptional Indian citizens.

As per the official website for the Padma Awards, the Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; the Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of a high order; while the Padma Shri for distinguished service.

Padma Vibhushan
Padma Vibhushan

Padma Vibhushan

The Padma Vibhushan (Lotus Decoration) is the second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna.

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.

Padma Bhushan
Padma Bhushan

Padma Bhushan

The Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in the Republic of India, preceded by the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan and followed by the Padma Shri.

The award is given for "distinguished service of a high order...without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex."

The award criteria include "service in any field including service rendered by Government servants" including doctors and scientists, but exclude those working with the public sector undertakings.

Padma Shri

Padma Bhushan
Padma Bhushan

The Padma Shri, on the other hand is the fourth-highest civilian award of the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan.

The award is conferred in recognition of "distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including the arts, education, industry, literature, science, acting, medicine, social service and public affairs".

Who decides?

All nominations received for the Padma Awards are placed before a committee that is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.

The Padma Awards Committee is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and includes the 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 awards are then announced on the eve of Republic Day on the basis of the information secured from the awards committee, and after the approval of the Home Minister, Prime Minister, and President.

Finally, when does it take place?

The awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions held typically at the Rashtrapati Bhawan around March or April every year.

As per a press release by the Ministry of Home Affairs, a total of 106 Padma awards have been announced this year, including 3 duo cases (in a duo case, the Award is counted as one). The list comprises six Padma Vibhushan, nine Padma Bhushan and 91 Padma Shri Awards. Nineteen of the awardees are women. The list also includes two persons from the category of foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and seven posthumous awardees.

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Published 26 January 2023, 10:55 IST

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