New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked people to send Padma awards nominations for those “doing exceptional work at the grassroots but not much known.”
“India has many talented people, who are doing exceptional work at the grassroots. Often, we don’t see or hear much of them. Do you know such inspiring people? You can nominate them for the #PeoplesPadma. Nominations are open till 15th September,” PM Modi said in a tweet.
The Padma awards—Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan—are among the highest civilian honours awarded by the Indian government on the Republic Day’s eve after being recommended by a Padma Awards Committee. This committee headed by cabinet secretary has Union home secretary, secretary to the President and other eminent persons as members.
“Padma Awards, which were instituted in the year 1954, is announced every year on the occasion of Republic Day except for brief interruption(s) during the years 1978 and 1979 and 1993 to 1997,” according to information available on the Padma awards website.
The awards have been facing controversy over some time now. The government on its part has been trying to introduce greater transparency in the award process and earlier launched an interactive dashboard of all the awardees since the awards have been given.
The call for nominations for these awards comes in the backdrop of the country grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. The government has faced criticism over its mishandling of the second wave, with superspreader events, such as political rallies and Kumbh Mela.
With the health infrastructure unable to take cafe care of the high number of cases during the second wave, it was the private citizens and civil society organisations who stepped forward to provide support as India faced a shortage of medical oxygen, medicines, vaccines, and healthcare facilities.
As part of the course correction by the government, Union minister of health and family welfare Harsh Vardhan was dropped from the Union cabinet. Mansukh Mandaviya has replaced him as the new Union health minister.