Rajesh Khanna likely to be awarded Padma Vibhushan

NEW DELHI (TIP): Legendary film actor late Rajesh Khanna, reputed director of Sholay fame Ramesh Sippy and singer Kailash Kher may get next year’s Padma awards – the country’s prestigious civilian awards – that will be announced on the eve of the 2013 Republic Day.

The information and broadcasting ministry has recommended these three names to the home ministry for conferring the awards under the arts category.

While the name of Khanna, who passed away July 18, has been recommended for Padma Vibhushan (the highest category among the Padma awards), Sippy and Kher have been recommended for Padma Shri.

Though the Padma awards are usually not conferred posthumously, there is an indication that the government could consider Khanna’s case as “highly deserving”, and honour him with Padma Vibhushan by making an exception.
The rule says that the government can consider the highly deserving case “if the demise of the person proposed to be honoured has been within a period of one year preceding the Republic Day on which it is proposed to announce the award”.

Government had made such exception in the past. Music director and singer Bhupen Hazarika, who had passed away last year, was conferred with Padma Vibhushan posthumously in 2012.

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Khanna, who was also Congress MP from New Delhi constituency from 1992 to 1996, was never given the Padma award in his lifetime, whereas most of his contemporaries, including Dharmendra, Dev Anand, Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Hema Malini and Waheeda Rehman, had got one or the other category of the Padma award over the years.
Similarly, film producer and director Ramesh Sippy (65), too, would be a late entrant of the Padma hall of fame, if the government finally selects him for this award. A number of film producers and directors of his generation has been conferred with the Padma awards through the years.

The final decision will be taken by the Padma Awards Committee, which is to be constituted by the Prime Minister. The recommendations made by the seven or eight-member panel will be submitted to the Prime Minister and the President for their approval.

Though the home ministry every year, on an average, receives around 1,000-1,200 recommendations from various ministries, state governments, chief ministers, governors and private individuals\bodies, the committee usually selects nearly 1\10th of them under the existing rules.

The total number of awards to be given in a year, under the rule, should not be more than 120 (excluding posthumous awards and to foreigners).

The Padma award is given to persons from any fields of activities like art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, science and engineering, public affairs, civil services and trade and industry.

Padma Shri is awarded for distinguished service, whereas Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of a high order, and Padma Vibhushan for exceptional and distinguished service.

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