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Too much debate, too many controversies: Are the Padma Awards loosing their sanctity?
Government of India decides the name of the persons who are honored with the Padma Awards for their service to the nation by their distinguished contribution and individual achievements in various fields. This years shortlisted candidates initially included religious gurus like Baba Ramdev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. While Amitabh Bachchan bagged one more Padma Award this year, Salim Khan refused to take his. But who decides on what ground about whom the award is to be given? Debate continues.

On the eve of Republic day the Padma awards which constitutes of Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, which are known to be the highest civilian awards are given. But since last few years the awards come with an accusation of being 'politically influenced'.  

This is not only with the NDA government but has also happened in the UPA regime, as 70-year-old Sikh business tycoon Sant Singh Chatwal has been awarded Padma Bhushan in 2010, who was booked under illegal election donation case in US. And also, Atal Behari Vajpayee was ignored for the Bharat Ratna while his former secretary, Brajesh Mishra, got the Padma Vibhushan last year. All this shows the political influence on these awards. 

When asked Congress leader, Rashid Alvi about the political influence on the awards, he said, "Ya, I agree with your views. Since the new government has taken over, they are giving awards to its own man. Either those who are ideologically close to them or those who have supported them in the elections. So, if any government behaves in such a manner awards become irreverent." 

But when asked about the same thing has been repeated by Congress during the UPA regime, he defended the party saying, "No, during the UPA government, it didn't happened. Awards were given only to those who had deserved for that. So, only on merits awards were been given. Process was there, and on the basis of process awards were given that time." 

While BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal defended his party saying, "See, what is critical is the per-eminence of these people. Are these people eminent or not? See, Padma awards are being given to people who are eminent. See, my question is, are these people not suitable? If no. Then you can lay a allegation that inspite of non suitability, the political influence was the factor. But, on there own merit these people are suitable, then to attribute political allegiance would be unfair. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is there any less eminence to him then anybody in this country. Yet, the previous government denied him. So, if such injustice is corrected. Then eminence is always the quotient then the political background. 

However, Susan Visvanathan, professor at Department of Social Science in JNU also feels that the awards have lost their relevance. She said, "They have lost their relevance and all awards are politically motivated, clarifications by states and certain divisions are important to them. The state communicated through the party in office that certain individuals are important to them, therefore they receive awards."

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