The government has received a record 49,992 nominations for the country's top civilian Padma awards -- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri -- to be handed out on the Republic Day in 2019 for distinction and achievements in different fields.
The nominations for the Padma awards this year so far is 32 times higher than 1,313 nominations received in 2010, a Home Ministry statement said on Thursday, adding that 35,595 nominations were received in 2017 and 18,768 in 2016.
The online nomination process for the Padma awards commenced on May 1 and ended on September 15.
The nominations were invited from Central ministries and departments, states and Union Territories, Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan awardees, institutes of excellence as well as from several other sources to enable broad-based consideration. All citizens can make nominations and recommendations, including self-nomination.
The awards seek to recognise commendable works and exceptional achievements in the fields/disciplines of art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, science and engineering, public affairs, civil service, trade and industry.
A Home Ministry official said the government has transformed the Padma awards into "People's Awards" in true sense of the term as people are encouraged to nominate unsung heroes who deserve these top civilian awards.
The nomination process for Padma awards was made online in 2016, providing them an accessible and secure platform to encourage citizens to participate in large numbers.
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.
Instituted in 1954, these awards are announced on Republic Day eve every year.
Government servants, including those working with public sector undertakings, except doctors and scientists, are not eligible for the awards.
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