Thursday, October 29, 2020
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Padma awards 2018

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It was for the first time ever since institution of Padma awards in the year 1954 that no one from Delhi was honoured with these awards. Otherwise Delhi dominated all other states in getting maximum share of Padma awards. Medical practitioners from natural methods got honoured while in earlier years, practitioners of modern medicines had a lion-share in Padma awards to shine their practice. However, too much of everything is bad. Delhi must not have been totally ignored because it is but natural that the city has many such deserving persons because of their shifting to Delhi.

Selection of awardees makes it clear that inviting self-nominations on website is just a gimmick with no proper mechanism to scrutiny above 15000 nominations as compared to just about 2000 before introducing such a system in name of transparency. Real selection can only be when perfect scrutiny from all the concerned intelligence agencies may be done before initiation of selection-procedure. Last date of nomination in such a case can be advanced to say June 30. An affidavit from the nominee about not being involved in any criminal case should be there, which may also serve as automatic consent for Padma awards. There have been known cases when persons with criminal records and those being willful bank-defaulters have been unduly decorated with Padma awards with even intelligence authorities clearing their names in a hurry without any proper verification. 

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There must not be any relaxation in last date for nomination except for President and Prime Minister to avoid misuse of power in this respect especially by members of Awards Committee. An individual (except President and Prime Minister) should be allowed to nominate only one person for Padma award. There are politicians who nominate dozens of persons in a please-all policy to gather funds for their political parties, unnecessarily burdening selection-procedure with extra large number of nominations. For a real value of Padma Shri, other higher variants should be removed with a provision of one individual getting honoured with any of Padma awards only once in life-time, with secretary of opposition-leader being a permanent member of awards-committee. However, Bharat Ratna may be retained but with opposition-leader being a part of committee deciding the highest civilian honour.

Madhu Agrawal

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(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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