Former union ministers Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and George Fernandes were among the eminent personalities who have been honoured with the Padma Vibhushan on the Republic Day this year. Besides, Olympian boxer Mary Kom and former Mauritius prime minister Anerood Jugnauth have been conferred the coveted award, officials said.
Former defence minister Manohar Parrikar, industrialists Anand Mahindra and Venu Shrinivasan, Olympian badminton player P V Sindhu, former Nagaland chief minister S C Jamir and Jammu and Kashmir politician Muzaffar Hussain Baig have been awarded with the Padma Bhushan, they said.
Jaitley, Swaraj, Fernandes and Parrikar have been given the award posthumously, the officials said. The Padma Vibhushan for this year has been awarded to a total of seven prominent personalities, while 16 have been given the Padma Bhushan, 118 have been given the Padma Shri on the 71st Republic Day this year, they said.
Six sportspersons, including cricketer Zaheer Khan, current Indian women’s hockey captain Rani Rampal, former Indian men’s hockey player MP Ganesh, shooter Jitu Rai, former Indian women’s football team captain Oinam Bembem Devi and archer Tarundeep Rai, were named for Padma Shri.
Filmmakers Karan Johar and Ekta Kapoor, and actor Kangana Ranaut have been awarded the Padma Shri, officials said. Singers Suresh Wadkar and Adnan Sami, as well as veteran TV actor Sarita Joshi have also been conferred with the fourth highest civilian award of the country.
Naukri.com founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani, industrialist Bharat Goenka, technocrat Nemnath Jain have also been conferred the Padma Shri.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Padma awardees, saying they include extraordinary people. “Congratulations to all those who have been conferred the Padma Awards,” he tweeted. He said the awardees include “extraordinary individuals who have made exceptional contributions to our society, nation and humanity”.
In the unsung heroes category, the coveted Padma Shri was awarded to Jagdish Lal Ahuja, who serves free food to patients and attendants outside PGI hospital in Chandigarh, Mohammed Sharif from Faizabad, who has performed the last rites of over 25,000 unclaimed bodies, and elephant doctor from Assam Kushal Konwar Sarma.
The awardees also include Javed Ahmad Tak, a specially-abled social worker, Tulasi Gowda, who earned the sobriquet “encyclopaedia of forests”, and Sathyanarayan Mundayoor, who has been promoting education and reading culture in remote areas of northeastern states for the last four decades.
Other awardees include Abdul Jabbar (posthumously), Usha Chaumar, Poptarao Pawar, Harekala Hazabba, Arunoday Mondal, Radha Mohan and his daughter Sabarmatee, Trinity Saioo, Ravi Kannan, S Ramakrishnan, Sundaram Verma, Munna Master, Yogi Aeron, and Rahibai Soma Popere.
(With inputs from agencies)