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10th February 2024 (8 Topics)

Bharat Ratna: India’s highest civilian award

Context

The Centre announced Bharat Ratna for former Prime Ministers PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, alongside agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan. Earlier Karpoori Thakur and Lal Krishna Advani were announced to be conferred with India’s highest civilian award.

What is Bharat ratna?

  • The Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India.
  • Instituted on 2 January 1954, this prestigious award is conferred in recognition of “exceptional service/performance of the highest order”, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or gender.
  • Initially limited to achievements in the arts, literature, science, and public services, the criteria were expanded in December 2011 to include "any field of human endeavor".
  • Recommendations for the award are made by the Prime Minister to the President.
  • Recipients receive) a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a peepal leaf-shaped medallion, with no monetary grant associated with the honor.
  • The Bharat Ratna recipients rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence. 

Brief background

  • The first recipients of the Bharat Ratna in 1954 were:
    • C. Rajagopalachari, former Governor-General of the Union of India
    • Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, former President of the Republic of India
    • C. V. Raman, Indian physicist
  • Since then, the award has been bestowed upon 53 individuals, including 18 posthumous awardees. Notably, it was amended in January 1966 to allow posthumous awards, honoring former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri as the first individual to receive this distinction after their passing.
  • The Bharat Ratna has been conferred on one naturalized citizen (Mother Teresa) and two non-Indians:
    • Abdul Ghaffar Khan (born in British India, later a citizen of Pakistan)
    • Nelson Mandela (a citizen of South Africa)

Contribution and profile of persons conferred Bharat Ratna 2024

Bharat Ratna Awardees

Important Contributions

Karpoori Thakur (Posthumous) (politician and former Bihar chief minister) (1924-1988)

  • Karpoori Thakur, a distinguished Indian political figure, served as the Chief Minister of Bihar.
  • His legacy is etched in Bihar’s political landscape.
  • Thakur championed social justice, implementing measures such as reservations in education and jobs.
  • He was popularly known as referred to as 'Jan Nayak' (people's leader).

Lal Krishna Advani (politician and former deputy prime minister) (1927)

  • Lal Krishna Advani, a stalwart in Indian politics, played a pivotal role in shaping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
  • Advani served as both the home minister and deputy Prime Minister under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee from 1999 to 2004.
  • Advani’s political journey spans decades, reflecting his unwavering commitment to conservative values.

Pamulaparthi Venkata Narasimha Rao (Posthumous) (former Prime Minister of India) (1921-2004)

  • PV Narasimha Rao, the 9th Prime Minister of India, led the country through significant economic reforms and global changes.
  • His pragmatic approach and ability to make tough decisions earned him praise, albeit sometimes controversial.
  • Rao’s tenure marked a crucial juncture in India’s economic trajectory, leaving a lasting impact on the nation’s development.
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Chaudhary Charan Singh (Posthumous) (former Prime Minister of India) (1902-1987)

  • Chaudhary Charan Singh, a prominent political figure, served as the Prime Minister of India.
  • He staunchly advocated for farmers’ rights and rural development.
  • His legacy resonates through his unwavering commitment to the agrarian community.
  • Singh’s contributions continue to shape policies and discussions related to agriculture in India.

Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan (Posthumous) (agriculture scientist) (1925-2023)

  • ·Dr. Monkomb Sambasivan Swaminathan, fondly known as the ‘Father of the Green Revolution’, played a pivotal role in transforming Indian agriculture. His monumental contributions to our nation include:
  • Self-Reliance in Agriculture: Dr. Swaminathan’s visionary leadership helped India achieve self-reliance in agriculture during challenging times.
  • Modernization of Indian Agriculture: He made outstanding efforts towards modernizing Indian agriculture, ensuring food security and prosperity.
  • Innovator and Mentor: Dr. Swaminathan encouraged learning and research among students, leaving an indelible mark on agricultural science.
  • International Influence: He served as the Independent Chairman of the Food and Agricultural Organisation Council, President of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, and President of the World Wide Fund for Nature (India).
  • Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR): His tenure at ICAR furthered agricultural research and development.

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