NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Home Affairs has announced that the Padma awards ceremony, which was scheduled for April 3, has now been postponed. The decision has been taken in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Ministry said the new date and time of the ceremony will be announced later.
While the WHO has called the coronavirus a 'pandemic', India too designated it as a 'disaster'.
The government's decision was prompted by the fact that the virus is highly contagious and can best be avoided by avoiding social gatherings.
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As many as 141 Padma Awards, including four duo cases (in a duo case, the award is counted as one), will be handed over this year. The list comprises seven Padma Vibhushan, 16 Padma Bhushan and 118 Padma Shri Awards.
As many as 33 awardees are women and the list includes 18 persons from foreigners category, NRI, PIO, OCI and 12 posthumous awardees.
Political leaders George Fernandes, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj will be conferred Padma Vibhushan awards posthumously in the public affairs category while Vishveshateertha Swamiji Sri Pejavara Adhokhaja of Udupi Mutt will be honoured with similar award posthumously in the spiritual category.
Padma Awards -- conferred in Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri categories -- are among the highest civilian awards given in various disciplines/fields such as art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, and civil service.
Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service, Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of high order, and Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of the Republic Day every year.