President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday conferred Padma awards to former Karnataka chief minister S M Krishna, noted industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and famous playback singer Suman Kalyanpur at a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Besides them, billionaire stock market investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, who had passed away last year, was given the honour posthumously along with several unsung heroes.
The president had approved the conferment of 106 Padma awards, including three duo cases (in a duo case, the award is counted as one), on the eve of this year’s Republic Day.
Of these, over 50 people were awarded Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri on Wednesday.
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Krishna, who was external affairs minister in the Congress-led UPA government and had later joined the BJP, was awarded the Padma Vibhushan.
Noted architect Balkrishna Doshi (posthumously) was also given the Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second highest civilian honour.
Birla, Delhi-based professor Kapil Kapoor, who is widely known for his books on Indian grammatical theories and models, spiritual leader Kamlesh D Patel and Kalyanpur were conferred the Padma Bhushan, the country’s third highest civilian award.
Jhunjhunwala was conferred with the Padma Shri.
Padma awards are conferred in three categories — Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. India’s top civilian award Bharat Ratna has not been given to anyone since 2019.
The awards are given in various disciplines and fields of activities vis-a-vis art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports and civil service, among others.
The Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; the Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of high order; and the Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field.
The Narendra Modi government has been honouring many unsung heroes who have been contributing to society in different ways with Padma awards since 2014 when it came to power for the first time.