|Awarded by |
Government of India
|Type||National Civilian distinguishment|
|Next (higher)||Padma Bhushan|
|Next (lower)||Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak|
Padma Shri (also Padma Shree) is the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan. It is awarded by the Government of India, every year on India's Republic Day.
Padma Awards were instituted in 1954 to be awarded to citizens of India in recognition of their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including the arts, education, industry, literature, science, sports, medicine, social service and public affairs. It has also been awarded to some distinguished individuals who were not citizens of India but did contribute in various ways to India.
The selection criteria have been criticized in some quarters with the claim that many highly deserving artists have been left out in order to favor certain individuals. India has now created an online nomination platform for the common citizens to recommend the nomination for the annually given civilian "Padma" awards.
On its obverse, the words "Padma", meaning lotus in Sanskrit, and "Shri", a Sanskrit-derived honorific equivalent to 'Mr.' or 'Ms.' (ie., "Noble One in Blossom"), appear in Devanagari above and below a lotus flower. The geometrical pattern on either side is in burnished bronze. All embossing is in white gold.
As of 2020, 3123 people have received the award.
Several intended recipients, including sitar player Vilayat Khan, academic and author Mamoni Raisom Goswami, journalist Kanak Sen Deka and noted Bollywood screenwriter Salim Khan, have declined the Padma Shri for various reasons. Some intended recipients, such as environmental activist Sunderlal Bahuguna and English billiards champion Michael Ferreira, have refused the honour but have subsequently accepted a more prestigious one such as the Padma Bhushan or Padma Vibhushan. Other individuals, such as author Phanishwar Nath 'Renu', Punjabi author Dalip Kaur Tiwana and noted poet Jayanta Mahapatra, have returned the honour after initially accepting it.