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Indian honours system

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Title: Indian honours system  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Rashtrapati Award, Indian Order of Merit, Wound Medal (India), Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal, K. P. Udayabhanu
Collection: Honours Systems, Orders, Decorations, and Medals of India
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Indian honours system

The Indian Honour System is primarily recognized by India Government. The Indian honour system is broadly classified in five types - Leadership, Literature, Civilian, Patriotic, and Particular.


  • Leadership awards 1
  • Literature awards 2
  • Civilian awards 3
    • Bharat Ratna 3.1
    • Padma awards 3.2
  • Patriotic Awards 4
    • Wartime gallantry awards 4.1
    • Peacetime gallantry awards 4.2
    • Wartime/Peacetime service and gallantry awards 4.3
    • Wartime Distinguished Service 4.4
    • Peacetime Distinguished Service 4.5
  • Particular awards 5
    • National sports awards 5.1
    • Police awards 5.2
    • Bravery awards 5.3
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Leadership awards

Literature awards

Civilian awards

Bharat Ratna

The Bharat Ratna [1] — ‘Bharat Ratna’, the highest civilian Award of the country, was instituted in the year 1954. Any person without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex is eligible for these awards. It is awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour. The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister himself to the President. No formal recommendations for this are necessary. The number of annual awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year. On conferment of the award, the recipient receives a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a medallion. The Award does not carry any monetary grant.

Padma awards

  • Padma Awards[2]

• Padma Awards were instituted in the year 1954. Except for brief interruption(s) during the years 1977 and 1980 and 1993 to 1997, these awards have been announced every year on Republic day.

• The award is given in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.

Padma Shri is awarded for ‘distinguished service’.

Padma Bhushan for ‘distinguished service of a high order’.

Padma Vibhushan for ‘exceptional and distinguished service'.

• The award seeks to recognise work of any distinction and is given for distinguished and exceptional achievements/service in all fields of activities/disciplines, such as Art, Literature and Education, Sports, Medicine, Social Work, Science and Engineering, Public Affairs, Civil Service, Trade and Industry etc.

• All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these awards.

• The award is normally not conferred posthumously. However, in highly deserving cases, the Government could consider giving an award posthumously if the demise of the person proposed to be honoured has been recent, say within a period of one year preceding the Republic Day on which it is proposed to announce the award.

• A higher category of Padma award can be conferred on a person only where a period of at least five years has elapsed since conferment of the earlier Padma award. However, in highly deserving cases, a relaxation can be made by the Awards Committee.

• It is the usual practice is to invite recommendations every year from all State/UT Governments, Ministries/Departments of the Government of India, Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan awardees and Institutes of Excellence by 1 October. Recommendations received from them and also from other sources like Ministers, Chief Ministers/Governors of State, Members of Parliament, as also private individuals, bodies etc., are placed before the Padma Awards Committee. The Awards Committee is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.

• The recommendations made by the Awards Committee are submitted to the Prime Minister and the President for their approval. No award is conferred except on the recommendation of the Awards Committee.

• The names of the award winners are published in the Gazette of India. The President may cancel and annul the award of the decoration to any person.

• The Awards are announced on 26 January every year and are presented by the President of India in an Awards presentation Ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The ceremony is generally held in the month of March/April.

• The decoration comprises a Sanad (Certificate) issued under the hand and seal of the President and a Medallion. A commemorative brochure giving out brief details in respect of each award winner is also released on the day of the investiture ceremony.

• The recipients are also given a replica of the medallion, which they can wear during any ceremonial/State functions etc., if they so desire.

• The award does not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the award winner’s name on letterheads, invitation cards, posters, books etc. In the case of any misuse, the defaulter will forfeit the award.

• No cash allowance or any facility/benefit in terms of concession etc. in rail/air travel is attached to these awards.

Patriotic Awards

Wartime gallantry awards

  • Param Vir Chakra — Highest military award for valour, equivalent to the Victoria Cross (which was replaced once India gained its independence).
  • Maha Vir Chakra- The Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) is the second highest military decoration in India and is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air.
  • Vir Chakra-It is third in precedence in the war time gallantry

Peacetime gallantry awards

  • Ashok Chakra Award- an Indian military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield. It is the peace time equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra.
  • Kirti Chakra-It is second in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.
  • Shaurya Chakra-It happens to be third in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.

Wartime/Peacetime service and gallantry awards

Wartime Distinguished Service

Peacetime Distinguished Service

Particular awards

National sports awards

Police awards

  • President's Police Medal for Gallantry
  • President's Fire Services Medal for Gallantry
  • President's Correctional Service Medal for Gallantry
  • President's Home Guards and Civil Defence Medal for Gallantry
  • Police Medal for Gallantry
  • Fire Services Medal for Gallantry
  • Correctional Service Medal for Gallantry
  • Home Guards and Civil Defence Medal for Gallantry
  • President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service
  • President's Fire Services Medal for Distinguished Service
  • President's Correctional Service Medal for Distinguished Service
  • President's Home Guards and Civil Defence for Distinguished Service
  • Police Medal for Meritorious Service
  • Fire Services Medal for Meritorious Service
  • Correction Service Medal for Meritorious Service
  • Home Guards and Civil Defence Medal for Meritorious Service

Bravery awards

See also


  1. ^ Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India (Award Scheme)
  2. ^ Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India (Award Scheme)

External links

  • Current orders, decorations and medals of India
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