The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day. The Awards are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order), and Padma Shri (distinguished service). The award seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.
The awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee constituted by the Prime Minister every year. It is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and includes the Union Home Secretary, the Secretary to the President, and four to six eminent persons as members. However, the names of the eminent members of the committee are not revealed. Even the names nominated and shortlisted by the committee are revealed after the awards have been announced. Even self-nomination can be made to the committee. The recommendations of the committee are submitted to the Prime Minister and the final list is signed by the President before it is notified in the Gazette of India.
The list of top civilian honours to recognise distinguished service includes nine Padma Bhushan and 91 Padma Shri awards; 19 of the 106 awards will go to women; seven are posthumous honours; personalities from poll-bound States feature on list