Former UP CM Kalyan Singh, India's first CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, Gita Press Trust Chairman Radheshyam Khemka, various sports and business leaders have been conferred the Padma award.
The Padma awards, which were announced on the eve of Republic Day, have been conferred on grassroots leaders from various fields.
Kalyan Singh, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Rajasthan governor, has been conferred the country's second-highest civilian honour, Padma Vibhushan. He was the Uttar Pradesh chief minister when Babri mosque was demolished in December 1992. As a chief minister, he had refused to order the police to open firing on the karsevaks. On August 21 last year, he passed away in Lucknow.
India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Bipin Rawat, has also been conferred with Padma Vibhushan. After a distinguished career of four decades in the Indian Army, he assumed charge as the country's first CDA on January 1, 2020. In a tragic accident on December 8 last year, the country lost a brave soldier and a true patriot.
Gen Rawat's helicopter crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu when he was on his way to Defence Services Staff College in Wellington for a lecture.
Radheyshyam Khemka, who led the Gita Press Gorakhpur and edited its magazine Kalyan for almost four decades, has been conferred with Padma Vibhushan. Khemka passed away in April last year in Varanasi. He was 86. All his life, Khemka lived what he preached.
Renowned classical vocalist of the Kirana Gharana, Dr Prabha Atre, has also been conferred with Padma Bhushan. "I am extremely happy for this recognition. I consider it as the blessings of my family members, friends and audience who supported me in my journey…There was no tradition of classical music or any kind of singing in my home, but I got into it. Looks like it was some divine message. I chose a unique path in my field, and the audience appreciated it and continued supporting me," she told PTI. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 1990 and the Padma Bhushan in 2002.
The year 2020 started with the news about Covid-19 spread in China. And, in no time, the world witnessed a global pandemic.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in March 2020 to check the spread of the virus. And since then, our brave scientists, doctors, healthcare professionals and sanitation professionals have been helping the country fight this pandemic.
Pune-based Serum Institute of India and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech emerged as a ray of hope as both the institutes were at the forefront of vaccine development in the country. Serum Institute has supplied more than 130 crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, and Bharat Biotech has developed an indigenous vaccine Covaxin.
Serum Institute of India head Cyrus Poonawalla and Bharat Biotech's Krishna Ella and Suchitra Ella have been honoured with the country's third-highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan.
Recognising the contributions of the opposition leaders, the Modi government conferred Padma Bhushan to Congress leader and former Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and former West Bengal chief minister and CPM stalwart Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.
The Modi government recognised the contribution of the business leaders. Tata Sons chairperson Natarajan Chandrasekaran had been conferred with Padma Bhushan. Chandrasekaran started his career as an intern in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in 1987. Since January 2017, he has been the chairman of the board.
Indian origin CEOs of global tech giants have also been recognised. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Alphabet (parent company of Google) CEO Sundar Pichai have been conferred with Padma Bhushan.
Rajiv Mehrishi, a retired IAS from Rajasthan, has been conferred with Padma Bhushan for his distinguished service to the country. He has served as the country's finance secretary, home secretary and CAG. On Tuesday (January 25), Mehrishi was appointed chairman of the governing board of NSE IFSC, NSE's International Exchange in GIFT City.
Javelin star Neeraj Chopra, who won the country Gold Medal in Tokyo Olympics, has been conferred Padma Shri. He has also been awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM). He is the first Indian to win individual Gold in a track & field event in Olympics.