The government announced the Padma Awards for the year 2022 recently. With the 2022 awards, the total number of Padma awards including the Bharat Ratna crossed 5000. While Padma Shri awards were dominated by those from the Arts field, individuals from Literature and Education dominated the Padma Bhushan awards. In both Padma Vibhushan & Bharat Ratna, most awards were given to those from Public Affairs.
Recently, the President of India approved the conferment of 128 Padma Awards including 2 duo cases (in a duo case, the award is counted as one). This year’s awards comprise 4 Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan, and 107 Padma Shri awards. Of these, 34 of the awardees are women, 10 persons are Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI, and 13 Posthumous awardees.
For a few years now, citizens & other agencies submit their nominations for Padma Awards through padmaawards.gov.in. For 2022, the portal received more than 4.85 lakh nominations for the awards. In this story, we look at the trend of the Padma awards over the years.
Note: Data used in this story is sourced from both the Padma Awards dashboard and the document available on the Ministry of Home Affairs website. In case of any discrepancy between these two sources, we considered the one whose year-wise totals are higher. For 1971, three names that were missing in the Padma Awards dashboard were taken from the Ministry of Home Affairs document.
Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award conferred in India
Padma awards are conferred by the Government of India to honour and recognise the contributions of Indian citizens in various fields. On certain occasions, these awards are also given to persons who are not Indian citizens for their contribution in certain fields. The highest civilian award in India is the Bharat Ratna followed by Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri in the same order.
The Bharat Ratna was constituted in 1954 and a maximum of only three Bharat Ratna awards can be conferred annually. For Bharat Ratna, recommendations are made by the Prime Minister to the President. There is no formal recommendation for this award. Factly’s earlier story on benefits extended to Bharat Ratna recipients can be read here.
Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan were the only two civilian awards instituted by the Indian government until 1955. Padma Vibhushan had three categories- Pahela Varg, Dusra Varg, and Tisra Varg. From 1955, these awards were renamed Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri. These awards have been announced every year since then except during 1978, 1979, and 1993 to 1997. The awards seek to recognize work of any distinction and is given for distinguished and exceptional achievements or service in fields such as Art, Literature and Education, Sports, Medicine, Social Work, Science and Engineering, Public Affairs, Civil
Service, Trade and Industry, etc.
- Padma Vibhushan is given for exceptional and distinguished service.
- Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of a high order; and
- Padma Shri for distinguished service
Padma Awards Committee will decide the final awardees
All nominations received for Padma Awards are placed before the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year. The Committee is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and includes Home Secretary, Secretary to the President, and four to six eminent persons as members. For the 2021 Padma Awards, eminent personalities like A.R Rehman, Ilaiyaraaja, and P.T. Usha were part of the committee. The recommendations of the committee are submitted to the Prime Minister and the President of India for approval.
These awards are announced on the eve of Republic Day every year and are conferred by the President of India in ceremonial functions held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. It should be noted that Padma awards do not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the awardees’ name. Factly had earlier published a detailed explainer on Padma Awards.
More than 5000 awards have been conferred/approved till 2022
To date, a total of 5001 awards have been conferred/approved by the President of India, of which 3332 are Padma Shri, 1296 Padma Bhushan, 325 Padma Vibhushan, and 48 Bharat Rana awards. Padma Shri awardees constitute 67%, Padma Bhushan 26%, Padma Vibhushan 6%, and Bharat Ratna awardees are almost 1% of all total awardees.
Awardees with Arts as a field received the greatest number of awards
Persons belonging to the field of Arts received the highest number of awards (1030) followed by Literature and Education (969) and Medicine (572). These three fields/areas constitute more than 50 percent of the total awards given to date.
In the category of Padma Shri awards, Arts top the list with 785 awardees, followed by literature and Education (645) and Medicine (458). For Padma Bhushan awards, awardees belonging to the Literature and Education field received 296 awards, followed by Art (246) and Science & Engineering (156). Of the 325 Padma Vibhushan awardees, 75 awards went to the persons belonging to public affairs, 63 for Art and 53 for Civil Service. 27 awardees of Bharat Ratna were from the Public Affairs field, 7 are from Art, and 6 from Social Work.
More than 50% of awardees are from five states.
Delhi has the greatest number of awardees (782) which constitutes more than 16% of the total. Next in line is Maharashtra with 766 or about 16% followed by Tamil Nadu (417) with more than 8% awardees.
Five states, namely Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal account for more than 50% of the awardees and the top 10 states account for 73% of all the awardees.
‘Cricket’ is still the favourite among the Sports
Of the 258 awards conferred to Sportspersons, 22% or 57 awardees went to Cricketers. Cottari Kanakaiyah Nayudu (C.K.Nayudu) for Cricket and Hockey legend Dhyan Chand were the first sportspersons to be conferred with Padma Awards. They were both conferred with Padma Bhushan in 1956.
After Cricket, Mountaineering tops the list with 36 awardees. Of these, 30 awardees were conferred with Padma Shri, 5 with Padma Bhushan, and one with Padma Vibhushan. Sportspersons from Athletics and Hockey received 29 and 28 awards respectively. Awards for these four sports constitute about 58% of the total awards conferred on Sportspersons.
21 Sports Persons were awarded more than once
It’s a known fact that Sachin Tendulkar is the only sportsperson who was conferred with the Bharat Ratna in 2014. Earlier he was also awarded Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Vibhushan in 2008. Along with Sachin, Viswanathan Anand and Mary Kom are the only two other sportspersons who were conferred with three awards. They both are conferred with all the three Padma Awards.
Seven Cricketers were awarded more than once, three each from Mountaineering, Badminton, and Tennis were awarded both Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan on different occasions. A total of 21 sportspersons were awarded at least two awards.
Edmund Hillary of New Zealand is the only foreign sportsperson who was conferred with Padma Award. The Government of India conferred on him the second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, posthumously, in 2008 for Mountaineering. More awardees from sports are from Maharashtra (35), followed by Delhi (28) and West Bengal (21).