President Ram Nath Kovind conferred Padma Awards to 54 distinguished individuals at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday.
India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, who died in a chopper crash last December, the late Radheshyam Khemka, former chairman of Gita Press that publishes Hindu religious books, and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad were among 54 prominent personalities who were conferred Padma awards by President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday
While General Rawat and Radheshyam Khemka were given Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian award, posthumously, Mr Azad, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekharan, former CAG Rajiv Mehrishi, founder of Serum Institute of India that made Covd-19 vaccine Covishield Cyrus Poonawalla were among the eight honoured with Padma Bhushan, the country’s third-highest civilian award, at a civil investiture ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
This year, no names were announced for ‘Bharat Ratna’, India’s highest civilian award, which was last awarded in 2019 to former president Pranab Mukherjee, social reformer Nanaji Deshmukh and noted singer Bhupen Hazarika.
The award for General Rawat was received by his daughters, while a close family member received the award for Khemka.
Many of those who received the Padma awards were “unsung heroes”, including 125-year-old yoga practitioner Swami Sivananda.
Members of the audience clapped as a bare-footed Swami Sivananda, dressed in a simple white kurta and dhoti, knelt before Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who promptly got up and bowed, touching the ground as he returned the greeting.