Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Hindutva poster boy late Kalyan Singh, India's first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and former West Bengal Chief Minister and Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in New Delhi selected on Tuesday for this year's Padma awards.
Singh and General Rawat who died in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu last month were conferred Padama Vibushan, the country's second-highest civilian award, along with 88-year-old Indian classical vocalist Prabha Atre and the late Radheshyam Khemka, former chairman of Geeta Press, which publishes Hindu religious books.
The Babri Masjid was demolished when Singh was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
He resigned following the demolition, even as the then Union government dismissed the Bharatiya Janata Party dispensation in the state. Singh died last year
No names were announced for Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, which was last awarded in 2019 to former President Pranab Mukherjee, social reformer Nanaji Deshmukh and noted singer Bhupen Hazarika.
Cyrus Poonawalla of the Serum Institute of India, which manufactured COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, and Krishna Ella and Suchitra Ella of Bharat Biotech, which produced India's indigenous coronavirus vaccine Covaxin, were also given Padma Bhushan.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, chairperson of Tata Group Natarajan Chandrasekaran were conferred Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award.
Late Punjabi folk singer Gurmeet Bawa, actor Victor Banerjee and former Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi were also named for Padma Bhushan.
Senior Congress leader Azad, former West Bengal chief minister Bhattacharjee, US-based culinary expert Madhur Jaffrey, Paralympic javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia, religious teacher from Gujarat Swami Sachidanand were among the 17 Padma Bhushan awardees.
Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra and singer Sonu Nigam were awarded Padma Shri.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the President approved conferment of 128 Padma Awards, including two duo cases, this year. In a duo case, the award is counted as one.
The list comprises 4 Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri awards.
Thirty-four of the awardees are women and the list also includes 10 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 13 posthumous awardees.
Among the awardees include many 'unsung heroes' who have been contributing to the society through different ways.
The Narendra Modi government has been honouring many such 'unsung heroes' with Padma awards since 2014.
Padma Awards are conferred in three categories, namely Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
The awards are given in various disciplines or 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.