Renowned scientist R A Mashelkar is among the 126 prominent personalities who will be conferred with Padma awards this year. The list of all the awardees is likely to be announced by Saturday evening. Mashelkar will get the highest Padma Vibhusan award for his contribution in shaping India’s science and technology policies. He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and also of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet set up by successive governments.
Besides Mashelkar, others who are being rewarded for their exemplary work include Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal and poet Ashok Chakradhar. Late Justice J S Verma, who headed the committee that recommended landmark changes to India’s anti-rape law following the Delhi bus gangrape and murder, is also being given the award posthumously along with rationalist and author Narendra Achyut Dabholkar, who was shot dead in Pune in August 2013.
The Home Ministry has given a list of nearly 140 “probables” for the awards which, after security clearance, is sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for approval and, finally, to Rashtrapati Bhawan. Praveen Talha, former member UPSC is also among the famous personality who is being given the highest honour. Sources said that the women this year getting the award is highest and presently stands at 27 among the 126 awardees.
The others in the list include personalities from the legal fraternity, the bureaucracy, the film industry, sport, medicine and civil society. The names were shortlisted by a committee headed by the home secretary from recommendations sent by state governments and prominent personalities. The awards, India’s highest civilian honours, are given in three categories — Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri — and announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
Among the names which were considered was that of 22-year-old Dipika Pallikal, the first Indian woman to enter the top 10 in the WSA rankings, the official women’s squash world rankings.
Prashant Bhushan has alleged that hooliganism and goondagardi was rampant in the Council.