The Government of India has released a list of 130 persons for whom three categories of the highest civilian awards, the Padma Awards, are to be conferred in 2010. The three Padma awards – Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Sri – are given for exceptional and distinguished service, distinguished service of the high order and distinguished service, respectively, in the fields of art, science & engineering, trade & industry, literature & education, public affairs, medicine or social work.
A perusal of the list shows that of the six Padma Vibhushan awardees three are from the arts, one from public affairs, one from science & technology but from the UK and the sixth is from trade & industry. The Government has a well established procedure for selecting awardees and the awardees help maintain the prestige of the awards.
It seems that it is now time to review the policy guidelines with a view to confer separate awards for an individual’s exceptional achievements in his/her field and individual’s distinguished service in his/her field to the country or the humanity as a whole.
The distinguished service could be like the following:
- Finding cures for till now incurable diseases such as cancer and new diseases such as chikungunya and swine flu
- Developing new and cheap technology
- Evolving new varieties of high yielding and drought resistant crops
- Sacrificing comforts and improving the standard of living and quality of life of people
Padma awards could be given for exceptional achievements in one’s field and a new category of awards could be instituted for distinguished service.