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Padma award and the recipient’s consent:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government policies and issues arising out of their implementation.

 

 

Context:

The Padma awards are announced every year on the eve of Republic Day.

  • As many as 128 people ranging from veteran politicians, businessmen, scientists and doctors to artists and ordinary people engaged in public service were announced to have been selected for conferment of Padma awards this year.
  • While most accepted the awards gracefully, former West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee refused to accept it.

 

What are Padma awards?

They are the highest civilian honour of India after the Bharat Ratna.

Instituted in 1954 along with Bharat Ratna.

  • 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 recognise achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.

 

Limitations and exceptions:

  • 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.
  • 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.

 

Eligibility:

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 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.

 

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.

 

Is the recipient’s consent sought?

There is no provision for seeking a written or formal consent of the recipient before 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.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that in 1954 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 in 1955.

Sources: Indian Express.