The last date for online nominations/recommendations for the Padma Awards has been set for September 15. Nominations for the awards opened on May 1. The nominations will be received online on the National Awards portal only.
The Padma Awards — Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan — are India’s highest civilian honours after the Bharat Ratna. The winners for 2023 will be announced on Republic Day. Instituted in 1954, the awards are announced on Republic Day. The award recognises “work of distinction” and is given for exceptional and distinguished achievements/service in all disciplines — literature and education, art, sports, social work, medicine, science and engineering, civil service, public affairs, and trade and industry, among many others. All persons, irrespective of occupation, race, or sex are eligible for the awards. Government servants, including those working for public sector units, except scientists and doctors, are not eligible.
The nominations should contain all details specified in the format available on the portal, including a citation in narrative form to highlight a nominee’s distinguished and exceptional achievements in their respective field/discipline.
In a statement, the Centre said: “The government is committed to transform Padma Awards into ‘People’s Padma’. All citizens are, therefore, requested to make nominations/recommendations, including self-nomination.” It also urged people to make concerted efforts to identify talented persons whose achievements and excellence deserve to be recognised. These include women, weaker sections, SCs & STs, divyang persons, and those serving society selflessly.
However, despite the government’s efforts to make the awards inclusive and free from political interference, it continues to court controversy over the awardees. In 2022, the Centre chose late BJP leader Kalyan Singh and veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad as two of the Padma Bhushan awardees. Singh was a BJP poster boy, under whose watch as chief minister the Babri Masjid was demolished by kar sevaks. The choice of Azad, one of the Congress’ G23 leaders who sought changes in how the party was run, was also thought to have been a political selection.