New Delhi: The 2020 Padma awardees are still to get their award from the hands of the President of India, nearly one year after it was announced, even as the name of the 2021 Padma awardees are to be announced on 26 January, as has been the custom.
These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March and April every year.
On 25 January 2020, the Government of India, through the President of India, had approved the conferment of 141 Padma Awards, including four duo cases. The list comprised of 7 Padma Vibhushan, 16 Padma Bhushan and 118 Padma Shri Awards. Of the awardees, 33 were women; 18 persons were from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 12, including Manohar Parrikar, Sushma Swaraj, George Fernandes, Arun Jaitley, were Posthumous awardees. Many of the awardees in the list are in their advanced age including the 94-year-old Ramjee Singh, who got the Padma Shri, 90-year-old S.C. Jamir, 85-year-old Channulal Mishra and the 81-year-old Sujoy Guha.
Official sources in the Padma award section, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), confirmed to The Sunday Guardian that the 2020 awardees had still not received their award and in all probability, they were likely to get it in March-April along with the 2021 awardees. However, no fixed timeline of anything has been decided yet, the official said.
Patna-based Bimal Kumar Jain, who got the Padma Shri for the work that he has done for divyangs and promotion of organ donation, told The Sunday Guardian, that the awardees were eagerly waiting for the award function to take place so that they can get the award from the hands of the President of India. “After the announcement in January 2020, we received a communication intimating the itinerary of the function. However, after that no further communication came, probably due to the problems that arose due to Covid-19. Now elections are taking place, official meetings are taking place and there is no reason why the Padma award function cannot happen, with social distancing and maybe by giving the award in batches. The award should be given physically, not virtually,” Jain told The Sunday Guardian.
On 14 March 2020, the government had stated that it was postponing the Padma award ceremonies that was scheduled to be held on 26 March 26 and 3 April due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
Padma Awards, one of the highest civilian awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz. art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. “Padma Vibhushan” is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; “Padma Bhushan” for distinguished service of high order and “Padma Shri” for distinguished service in any field.