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The government is throwing open the nomination process for the prestigious Padma Awards. In a bid to increase transparency and curb the crony culture of influence and lobbying, any Indian can now recommend an achiever.

The nominations can be made online but the nominators would be required to furnish their Aadhaar details for authenticity and accountability.

For the first time, the government of India is encouraging the people of India to nominate achievers for the Padma Awards, sources said.

It is a step towards transforming the national awards into a truly people’s award which will no longer remain restricted to elite rulers, they said. Opening up of the nomination process to the general public will also help in identifying unsung or lesser known people of excellence, the sources said.

Simple online nomination encourages and facilitates all Indian citizens to participate, the sources added.

They said the changes in the nomination process is aimed at curbing the crony culture of influence and lobbying.

Online application portal plus electronic management system harnesses technology to make processing of nominations efficient and transparent, the sources said.

The government has already received over 1,700 nominations and the last date of nomination is September 15.

The government has also launched an interactive dashboard of all Padma awardees between 1954 and 2016, allowing users to explore details about the winners. This marks another major step in the government’s efforts to bring transparency and people engagement into the Padma Award process, official sources said.

The history of Padma Awards dates back to 1954. Except for brief interruption 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 recognize 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.

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