Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh -- who had last night hosted a dinner for the 41 awardees who were honoured today -- and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan were also present at the ceremony.
37-year-old Dhoni was conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the Indian Territorial Army in November 2011, months after he led his team to bring home its second World Cup. When his name was announced, Mr Dhoni, dressed in the Army uniform, walked like a soldier to receive the award.
Mr Dhoni has won several awards, including the ICC ODI Player of the Year award in 2008 and 2009 (the first player to win the award twice), the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2007 and the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour in 2009.
Veteran actor Manoj Joshi; Dasmodar Ganesh Bapat, who is working towards eradication of leprosy; Manipur-based weaver L Subadani Devi; Karanataka-based Sufi bhajan singer Ibrahim Nabisaheb Sutar, wildlife conservationist Romulus Whitaker and Mizoram-based educationist A Zakia were conferred the Padma Shri.
This year, 85 Padma Awards were announced. Also on the list of awardees were 10 individuals, one each from the 10 ASEAN countries whose leaders had attended the Republic Day parade.
The awards are given in three categories -- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri and the names of the winners are announced on the eve of Republic Day every year.
They are given in different fields and disciplines such as art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, science and engineering, public affairs, civil service, trade and industry.
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