Renowned singer late S P Balasubrahmanyam, former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and late chief minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi were among the 118 prominent personalities who were given the Padma awards by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Archaeologist B B Lal, who led an excavation at the Ram Janmabhoomi site in the mid-1970s, Balasubrahmanyam (posthumous) and Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (posthumous) were conferred the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second-highest civilian award.
Veteran sculptor from Odisha Sudarshan Sahoo, renowned doctor and educationist from Karnataka Belle Monappa Hegde and United States-based engineering scientist Narinder Singh Kapany (posthumous) were also given the Padma Vibhushan award at two Civil Investiture ceremonies held in the morning and the evening.
Japan's longest-serving prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was awarded with the Padma Vibhushan, was not present at the event to receive the award.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were among those who were present on the occasion.
Sumitra Mahajan, India's first eight-time woman MP, former principal secretary to PM Modi, Nripendra Misra, industrialist Rajnikant D Shroff and former MP Tarlochan Singh were presented the Padma Bhushan for their contribution to public affairs and civil service.
Gogoi, Assam's longest-serving chief minister, former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel, ex-Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Islamic scholar Syed Kalbe Sadiq were honoured with the Padma Bhushan posthumously. The award was received by their family members.
Poet and playwright from Karnataka Chandrashekar Kambara and singer K N Shantakumari Chithra were also conferred Padma Bhushan, the country's third-highest civilian award.
Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award has not been given to anyone since 2019.
A total of seven individuals were given the Padma Vibhushan, 10 were given Padma Bhushan and 101 were given Padma Shri.
Noted British theatre and film director Peter Brook, who was given the Padma Shri, was not present at the ceremony to receive the award.
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.
Former union minister Bijoya Chakravarty, Rajasthan-based Pali writer Arjun Singh Shekhawat, the 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), industrialist P Subramanian (posthumous), who was known as gear man of Coimbatore, social worker from West Bengal Guru Maa Kamali Soren and tribal folk culture scholar from Bhopal Kapil Tiwari were also given the Padma Shri.
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.
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.
Two separate ceremonies were also held on Monday to present the Padma awards to those who were chosen for 2020 as the function could not be held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.