President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday conferred the Padma awards upon prominent personalities in the field of art, including actor Manoj Bajpayee and musician Swapan Chaudhuri, at a civil investiture ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhawan. This year, 112 personalities were shortlisted for the honour. The first set of Padma awards was presented on March 11, in which President Kovind had presented awards to 56 personalities. The remaining 56 were honoured today.
The Padma awards are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, the second, third and fourth highest civilian awards of the country respectively, only after Bharat Ratna. Bajpayee, who is known for his outstanding performance in films like 'Aligarh', 'Zubeidaa ', 'Gangs of Wasseypur' and 'Aiyaary', was honoured with Padma Shri award.
Soon after the nominations were announced in January, Bajpayee had said that he is really happy that no one has abused him on social media platforms after his name was announced. "My friends, relatives and followers are very happy with it. I have observed that till now, no one has abused me on social media and no controversy has been created when my name was announced," he had added.
In the field of music, celebrated Indian tabla player Swapan Chaudhuri was honoured with Padma Shri while folk singer Teejan Bai received a Padma Vibhushan. Earlier this year, while commenting on being nominated for the prestigious honour, Teejan Bai told ANI that coming from an Adivasi community, she never thought that she would be considered for the Padma Vibhushan award.
"I am from Adivasi community. The mindset of this community is very different. I never thought that I will receive such an honour. I have faced a lot of problems, but despite these difficulties, I kept moving forward," the singer had said. This year's awardees comprised four Padma Vibhushan, 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri recipients. The Padma awards, which were announced on the eve of Republic Day, include 21 women and 11 persons from the category of foreigners, NRI, PIO, OCI and one transgender person. The government had received nearly 50,000 nominations for this year's Padma awards.