Fifty-six of the 112 "inspiring" personalities, who were selected for this year's Padma awards, will be conferred the prestigious honour today by President Ram Nath Kovind at a special function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, the officials said.
Among those receiving the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri today are late actor Kader Khan, Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and renowned journalist late Kuldip Nayar.
Kader Khan (posthumous) will be honoured with Padma Shri, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Kuldip Nayar (posthumous) will be honoured with Padma Bhushan, a Home Ministry official said.
Noted theatre personality from Maharashtra Babasaheb Purandare alias Balwant Moreshwar Purandare (Padma Vibhushan), Bihar leader Hukumdev Narayan Yadav (Padma Bhushan), former CEO of multinational techno giant Cisco systems John Chambers, renowned dancer and filmmaker Prabhu Deva (Padma Shri) will also be honoured.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other dignitaries are expected to attend the function.
The Padma awards were announced on the eve of Republic Day and the remaining awardees are likely to be conferred the honour at another function to be held on March 16.
This year's awardees are from across the nation, all segments of society and the government has gone beyond excellence alone, recognising larger impact and their selfless service, the official said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh will also have an interactive session with the Padma awardees and their families on Sunday.
The nomination process for Padma awards was made online in 2016 and a simple, accessible and secure online platform was put in place to encourage citizens at large to participate.
Erstwhile ''Government Awards'' transformed into ''Peoples Awards'', another official said.
A record 50,000 nominations were received for the 2019 awards, which is 20 times those received in 2014, when there were just 2,200 nominations.
The technological intervention has made the nomination process accessible to the people at large and the emphasis of the government to confer Padma awards on unsung heroes, who are doing selfless service for the nation, have resulted into the above transformation, the official said.
This is reflected in the awardees selected with an eclectic list, covering diverse fields.
An inspiration to all as the stories of their struggles, dedication, perseverance, selflessness and service script the story of ''New India'' and the government has transformed the Padma awards into a ''People's Awards'' in the true sense, the official said.
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