India celebrates its 74th Republic Day on 26 January this year. The day is observed to honour the day when the Constitution of India was enacted in 1950. A plethora of events will be organised on this day with the centre of attraction being the annual parade held at the Kartavya Path (formerly Rajpath) near the Rashtrapati Bhavan. During the official ceremony, the President of India acknowledges and pays tribute to the courageous officers of the police department and armed forces for their exceptional bravery in the field. Additionally, several awards are given to citizens who have displayed courage in various circumstances. Here, let’s take a look at the awards given out on the occasion of Republic Day:
Bharat Ratna is the nation’s highest civilian award. It is given in honour of great work or accomplishment of the highest order in any area of human endeavour. The Prime Minister recommends candidates for Bharat Ratna to the President of India. There is no requirement for official recommendations for Bharat Ratna. There can only be three Bharat Ratna Awards given out in a calendar year.
The recipients of the Padma Awards- one of the highest civilian honours in the country- are announced annually on the eve of Republic Day. Instituted in 1954, these awards seek to recognise achievements across various fields involving an element of public service. The awards are split into three categories based on the level of achievement. In descending order, first comes Padma Vibhushan, followed by Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri.
All nominations for Padma Awards are presented to a special committee, which is constituted each year separately by the prime minister. The Home Secretary, the Secretary to the President, and four to six distinguished individuals serve on the Padma Awards Committee, presided over by the Cabinet Secretary. The Prime Minister and President of India are required to approve the committee’s recommendations.
On 26 January 1950, the Government of India established the first three gallantry awards- Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, and Vir Chakra. The government then introduced the three additional gallantry awards known as the Ashoka Chakra Class-I, Class-II, and Class-III on 4 January 1952. However, in January 1967, these honours were given new titles: the Ashoka Chakra, Kirti Chakra, and Shaurya Chakra, respectively. The recipients of these honours are announced twice a year- first on Republic Day and later on Independence Day. As per significance, the gallantry awards are the Param Vir Chakra, the Ashoka Chakra, the Mahavir Chakra, the Kirti Chakra, the Vir Chakra, and the Shaurya Chakra.
President’s Police Medals
The awards were once known as the President’s Police and Fire Service Medal when they were first established on 1 March 1951. Regardless of rank or length of service, the medals may be presented to any police officer. The country’s law enforcement officials are recognised by the President with three police medals for meritorious service- distinguished service, and bravery. A monthly stipend is awarded to those who achieve the medal. It is paid to them even after retirement and is continued to be paid to the recipient’s surviving spouse after their demise.
Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar
This award is presented to youngsters under the age of 18 who have demonstrated exceptional creativity, academic excellence, or outstanding contribution in the fields of social service, the arts and humanities, bravery, or sports. In
Jeevan Raksha Padak
Instituted in 1961, this particular award is given to a person for saving someone’s life. It comes in three categories: Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak, Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak and Jeevan Raksha Padak. The award is given to citizens who save lives from fire, drowning, or other tragedies.
Correctional Service Medals
The President of India honours prison staff in three categories including Distinguished Service, Meritorious Service, and Gallantry Medals in the recognition of their work in the nation’s correctional facilities.