Padma awards 2017: Virat Kohli among 39 who receive awards
The Padma awards, announced earlier this year, were handed out to 39 of total 89 awardees, at a ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday. Among those felicitated include, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, veteran politician Murli Manohar Joshi, and musical maestro Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. The remaining awards will be given out on April 13 at the same venue.
Padma awards announced
The Padma awards felicitating civilians for their contributions made in the fields including arts, sports and culture were announced in the lead up to the nation's 67th Republic Day. The list comprises of 75 Padma Shri, and 7 each of Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan respectively. 5 posthumous awardees ,19 women and 5 foreign awardees find place in this year's list.
The Padma awards
The Padma Vibhushan was instituted in 1954, along with the Bharat Ratna. The three categories instituted within the Padma Vibhushan, Pehla Varg, Dusra Varg and the Tisra Varg, were rechristened in the form we know, as the second, third and fourth highest civilian awards respectively. The announcement, limited at 120 names, has been made every year since its inception, except 1978, 1979 and 1993-1997.
The three awards
The Padma awards include, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri. While the Padma Vibhushan is given for "exceptional and distinguished service", the other two are awarded for "distinguished service of high order" and "distinguished service in any field" respectively.
Padma awardees, 2017
Padma Vibhushan has been conferred to luminaries including NCP leader Sharad Pawar and singer K.J.Yesudas and posthumously to former minister P.A. Sangma. The Padma Bhushan has been conferred on those including late writer-critic Cho Ramaswamy and Thai princess Maya Chakri Sirindhorn. 74 awardees including Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik and popular chef Sanjeev Kapoor have been felicitated with the Padma Shri.
Controversy never far away
Critics suggest that awards are "purchased and lobbied for" and not given on merit. RTI activists questioned inclusion of politicians in the list, including controversial names like Sharad Pawar and Murli Manohar Joshi. Pawar's name is believed to have figured prominently in Vohra committee report (1993) on links between crime and politics. Joshi, like 2016 awardee Advani, are both implicated in Babri Masjid attack.