The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee presented the prestigious Padma awards to dignitaries belonging to various fields at a Civil Investiture Ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 30 March 2017. Among those present at the occasion were the Vice President of India, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Union Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh.
The President this year conferred 7 Padma Vibhushan awards (second highest civilian award), of which two were conferred posthumously, 7 Padma Bhushan awards, of which one was given posthumously and 75 Padma Shri awards, among which 3 were conferred posthumously. Among the awardees, 19 were women, 5 were from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs and 6 posthumous awardees.
The Padma awards were introduced in 1954. Since their institution, apart from the brief interruption during the years 1977-80 and 1993-97, the awards have been conferred every single year. They are announced on the Republic Day. The awards are conferred in three categories, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri in decreasing order of importance.
While the Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service, Padma Bhushan is given for distinguished service of a high order and Padma Shri for distinguished service. The awards are conferred to recognize exceptional achievements in all fields of activities including art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, civil service, science and public affairs. Further, not all awardees received the honour on 30 March, the remaining would be conferred the awards at a ceremony that is likely to be held on 13 April at Rashtrapati Bhavan itself.