Third highest civilian award of India
The Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in the Republic of India, preceded by the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan and followed by the Padma Shri. Instituted on 2 January 1954, the award is given for "distinguished service of a high order...without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex." The award criteria include "service in any field including service rendered by Government servants" including doctors and scientists, but exclude those working with the public sector undertakings. As of 2019, the award has been bestowed on 1254 individuals, including twenty-one posthumous and ninety-six non-citizen recipients.
The Padma Awards Committee is constituted every year by the Prime Minister of India and the recommendations for the award are submitted between 1 May and 15 September. The recommendations are received from all the state and the union territory governments, as well as from Ministries of the Government of India, Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan awardees, the Institutes of Excellence, Ministers, Chief Ministers and Governors of States, Members of Parliament, and private individuals. The committee later submits their recommendations to the Prime Minister and the President of India for the further approval. The award recipients are announced on 26 January, the Republic Day of India.
When instituted in 1954, twenty-three recipients were honoured with the Padma Bhushan. The Padma Bhushan, along with other personal civil honours, was briefly suspended twice, from July 1977 to January 1980 and from August 1992 to December 1995. Some of the recipients have refused or returned their conferments.
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