National and Padma Awards in India

India has been honoring its exemplary citizens with various awards to recognize their outstanding contributions and achievements in various fields. The National Awards and the Padma Awards symbolize the nation's gratitude and appreciation towards individuals who have made a significant impact in their respective fields to preserve and promote India’s diverse cultural heritage.

National Awards

Instituted in 1954, the Government of India gives national awards to recognize exceptional talent and contributions in various domains including art, literature, cinema, sports, science, and social services annually.


Prominent National Awards are:

  • Bharat Ratna
  • Padma Vibhushan
  • Padma Bhushan
  • Padma Shri

Important facts:

  • From 1954-2022, 48 eminent persons have been awarded Bharat Ratna.
  • As of 2023, the Padma Vibhushan award has been bestowed on 331 individuals, including twenty-eight posthumous and twenty-four non-citizen recipients.
  • Till 2023, 1287 persons have been awarded with Padma Bhushan.
  • Padma Shri have been awarded to 3225 persons so far.

When are Padma awards presented?

The Padma Awards, including the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri, are part of the National Awards system. These awards were instituted in 1954 and are presented on the occasion of Republic Day every year. The award does not add up to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the recipient’s name.

Who are entitled to National Awards?

  • All individuals deprived of the difference of race, profession, sex or position are entitled to these awards.
  • Foreigners are also entitled to Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards.

Process of selection of awardees:

The Padma Awards are given on the recommendations of a committee constituted by Prime Minister annually, known as Padma Awards Committee. The Award Committee is supervised by the Cabinet Secretary and comprises of Secretary to the President, Home Secretary, and 4-6 distinguished individuals as members.
The proposal of the award committee is tabled to the President of India and the Prime Minister for consent.

Fields to which these awards can be granted:

The Padma award is given for distinguished works of excellence and extraordinary achievements in all fields of:

  • Art
  • Civil Service
  • Literature and Education
  • Medicine
  • Public Affairs
  • Science and Engineering,
  • Social work
  • Sports
  • Trade and Industry
  • Other fields may comprise propagation of Indian Culture, guarding Human Rights, Wild Life protection, and conservation, etc.

Bharat Ratna:

The Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award in India. It is awarded for exceptional service and achievements of the highest order in any field to the individuals who have left an indelible mark on the nation and have inspired generations.

Padma Vibhushan:

The Padma Vibhushan is the second-highest civilian award which is conferred for exceptional and distinguished service to the nation to honor individuals who have made a significant impact in their fields and continue to inspire others.

Padma Bhushan:

The Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award, recognizing outstanding contributions in various spheres, including art, science, literature, and public affairs.

Padma Shri:

The Padma Shri is the fourth-highest civilian award, given for distinguished service and achievements in different fields to celebrates the excellence and dedication of ordinary individuals who have achieved extraordinary feats.

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