Veteran sculptor Sudarsan Sahoo and former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan were among those given the Padma awards by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Sahoo, who hails from Odisha, was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his contribution to the field of art.
Veteran doctor and educationist from Karnataka Belle Monappa Hegde and archaeology legend B B Lal were also given the Padma Vibhushan awards.
Sumitra Mahajan, India’s first eight-time woman MP, and Nripendra Misra, veteran Indian Administrative Service officer, were presented the Padma Bhushan for their contribution to public affairs and civil service, respectively.
Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel and ex-Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan were honoured with the Padma Bhushan posthumously.
The awards were received by their family members.
Seven out of 60 recipients, including Shinzo Abe, was the longest-serving Japanese prime minister, and noted British theatre and film director Peter Brook were not present at the ceremony to receive the awards.
Abe was awarded the India’s second highest civilian medal Padma Vibhushan and Brook was conferred with Padma Shri on the eve of this year’s Republic Day.
Social worker from Assam Lakhimi Baruah, Professor Jai Bhagwan Goyal, Hindi litterateur from Haryana’s Kurukshetra, Manganiyar folk singer from Rajasthan Lakha Khan, acclaimed Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri Ramnath, senior orthopaedic surgeon from Dehradun Bhupendra Kumar Singh Sanjay and noted Hindi professor and journalist from Srinagar Chaman Lal Sapru were given Padma Shri awards.
Rajasthan-based Pali writer Arjun Singh Shekhawat, foremost authority on Sanskrit Vyakaran Ram Yatna Shukla, Delhi-based social worker Jitender Singh Shunty, steeplechase athlete Sudha Singh, veteran Hindi writer from Bihar Mridula Sinha (posthumous), gear man of Coimbatore P Subramanian (posthumous), social worker from West Bengal Guru Maa Kamali Soren and tribal folk culture scholar from Bhopal Kapil Tiwari were also given the Padma Shri awards.
India’s leading dwarf para athlete K Y Venkatesh and Bangladesh liberation war veteran Lt Col Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir were also honoured with the Padma Shri awards.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were among the dignitaries present during the civil investiture ceremony to give away the awards.
Through the Padma awards, the government seeks to recognise ‘work of distinction’ in various fields such as art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, science and engineering, public affairs, civil service, trade and industry.
The Padma awards are given in three categories — Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri — and announced annually on the eve of Republic Day.
The Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service, Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of high order and Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field.
The Narendra Modi government has been honouring many ‘unsung heroes’, who are contributing to society in different ways, with Padma awards since 2014.