Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee, Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh and singer Bhupen Hazarika were conferred Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award on 70th Republic day.
Padma Awards were also announced which includes more than 110 awardees in the three categories of the award.
Bharat Ratna Award
It was instituted in the year 1954.
Any person without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex is eligible for these awards.
It is awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour. It is given for exceptional service towards advancement of Art, Literature and Science, and in recognition of Public Service of the highest order.
It is also not mandatory that Bharat Ratna be awarded every year.
The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister himself to the President. No formal recommendations are necessary.
The number of annual awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year.
The Award does not carry any monetary grant, the recipient receives a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a medallion.
In terms of Article 18 (1) of the Constitution of India, the award cannot be used as a prefix or suffix to the recipient's name.
The first ever Indian to receive this award was the famous scientist, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman.
There is no written provision that Bharat Ratna should be awarded to Indian citizens only. The award has also been awarded to a naturalized Indian citizen, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa (1980) and to two non-Indians - Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Nelson Mandela (1990).
The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours only after Bharat Ratna of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day.
The Awards are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service).
The award seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.
The Padma Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.
The nomination process is open to the public. Even self-nomination can be made.
All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these awards.
Government servants including those working with PSUs, except doctors and scientists, are not eligible for these Awards.
The award is normally not conferred posthumously. However, in highly deserving cases, the Government could consider giving an award posthumously.
The awards are given in various disciplines or fields of activities: social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc
A higher category of Padma award can be conferred on a person only where a period of at least five years has elapsed since conferment of the earlier Padma award. However, in highly deserving cases, a relaxation can be made by the Awards Committee.
The awards are presented by the President of India usually in the month of March/April every year where the awardees are presented a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a medallion.
The total number of awards to be given in a year (excluding posthumous awards and to NRI/foreigners/OCIs) should not be more than 120.
The award does not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the awardees’ name.