Superstar Rajinikanth, founder of the Reliance empire late Dhirubhai Ambani, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and media baron Ramoji Rao have been chosen for Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second highest civilian award, this year.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Jagmohan, former Defence Research and Development Organisation chief V K Aatre, cancer specialist and chairperson of Adyar Cancer Institute Dr V Shanta and eminent Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dancer Yamini Krishnamurthi and classical vocalist Girija Devi and Indian-American economist Avinash Dixit have also been named for Padma Vibhushan on the occasion of this year's Republic Day celebrations.
Noted actor Anupam Kher, singer Udit Narayan, former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai, chairperson of media group Bennett, Coleman & Co. Indu Jain, sports star Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal, spiritual leaders late Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Tejomayananda and former United States ambassador to India Robert Blackwill are among the 19 eminent people chosen for Padma Bhushan.
Industrialist Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, Maruti Suzuki chairman R C Bhargava and eminent architect Hafeez Contractor also figure in the list of Padma Bhushan awardees.
Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, who was the prosecution counsel in the Mumbai terror attack case, actors Ajay Devgn and Priyanka Chopra get Padma Shri.
Renowned sculptor Ram V Sutar, Manipuri theatre personality Heisnam Kanhailal, Hindi and Telugu writer Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad, Sanskrit scholar N S Ramanuja Tatacharya, Punjabi journalist Barjinder Singh Hamdard, gastroenterologist D Nageshwar Reddy and scientist A V Rama Rao have been chosen for Padma Bhushan.
Actor the late Saeed Jaffrey, Chief Executive Officer of MasterCard Ajaypal Singh Banga, archer Deepika Kumari, Bharatanatyam dancer Prathibha Prahlad, Gujarati folk musician Bhikhudan Gadhvi, Goa’s musician Tulsidas Borkar and scientist Onkar Nath Srivastava were among those who were named for Padma Shri awards.
Telugu director of Baahubali fame S S Rajamouli and folk singer Malini Awasthi are also awarded Padma Shri.
The awards are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
The awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz.-- art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
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 awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.