Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and late legendary singer S P Balasubramaniam are among the list of 119 personalities who will be conferred the Padma Awards by President Ram Nath Kovind this year. As many as seven persons, including Abe and Balasubramaniam, have been honoured with Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian award for exceptional and distinguished service. Ten people have been named for Padma Bhushan, while 102 others have been selected for Padma Sri award.
Padma Awards - one of the highest civilian awards of the country - are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The awards are given in various disciplines, fields of activities, viz. art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
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. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
The list of Padma Vibhushan awardee includes former Japan PM Shinzo Abe, late singer S P Balasubramaniam, Karnataka's Dr Belle Monappa Hegde (Medicine), late Narinder Singh Kapany (Science and Engineering), Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (Spiritualism), B B Lal (Archaeology) and Sudarshan Sahoo (Art).
Late LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan, ex-Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel, former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and retired bureaucrat Nripendra Misra were among list of Padma Bhushan awardees.
As per the list released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, 29 out of 119 awardees are women, 10 from the category of foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI, one transgender, and 16 posthumous awardees. The awards to these people will be conferred by President Ram Nath Kovind at ceremonial functions at Rashtrapati Bhawan in around March-April this year.