President Ram Nath Kovind presented Padma awards to 73 individuals, some posthumously, at a ceremony held in the Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Monday. Of these, four were Padma Vibhushan, eight Padma Bhushan and 61 Padma Shri awards for the year 2020, according to a statement issued by the President's office.
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.
Those awarded Padma Vibhushan were former Union ministers George Fernandes (posthumous), Arun Jaitley (posthumous), Sushma Swaraj (posthumous) and Pandit Chhannulal Mishra, Hindustani classical and semi-classical vocalist.
President Kovind presented Padma Vibhushan to Jaitley (posthumous), the former finance minister, for public affairs. "An outstanding parliamentarian and a distinguished lawyer, he made significant contributions in judicial reforms, electoral reforms and progressive social & economic legislations,” the Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a tweet. The award was received by Jaitley's wife.
Kovind also presented the Padma Vibhushan to Swaraj (posthumous), the former external affairs minister, for public affairs. "A visionary leader, deeply rooted in Indian traditions, Smt Swaraj embodied the empowerment of women and was a woman of many firsts," another tweet from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said. The award was received by Swaraj’s daughter.
President Kovind presented Padma Bhushan awards to badminton player P V Sindhu, Dr Anil Prakash Joshi for social work, Dr S C Jamir for public affairs and Mumtaz Ali for spiritualism.
He awarded Padma Shri awards to renowned litterateur of Santali language Damayanti Beshra, television and film actress Sarita Joshi, music composer Adnan Sami Khan and actress and filmmaker Kangana Ranaut.
The president also presented Padma Shri to captain of the Indian hockey team Rani and to Dr Raman Gangakhedkar, head of the division of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases, the Indian Council of Medical Research in New Delhi, among others.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were among the dignitaries present on the occasion, the statement added.