New Delhi: Political stalwarts Sharad Pawar, Murli Manohar Joshi and the late Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, cricketer Virat Kohli and Bollywood singer Anuradha Paudwal were among the 39 people who were conferred this year's Padma awards on Thursday.
Joshi, Pawar, Sangma (posthumous) and former Chairman of ISRO Prof. Udipi Ramachandra Rao were conferred Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian award, by President Pranab Mukherjee at a special function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
Yoga guru Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, Thai princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and the father of laparoscopic surgery in India Tehemton Erach Udwadia were conferred Padma Bhushan awards.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, senior BJP leader L K Advani, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, several Union ministers and top bureaucrats attended the event.
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, former Lok Sabha Secretary General T K Vishwanathan, well-known endocrinologist M M Godbole, French historian Michel Danino, former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Anant Agarwal, and vice-president of Kanyakumari's Vivekananda Rock Memorial Nivedita Raghunath Bhide were conferred Padma Shri.
Folk singer Basanti Bisht, entrepreneur Mohan Reddy Venkat Rama Bodanapu, Madhubani artist Baoa Devi, folk artist of Halakki tribe in Karnataka, Sukri Bommu Gouda, 'Bike ambulance dada' of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal Karimul Hak were also conferred Padma Shri award.
Others who received the Padma Shri award include writer Narendra Kohli, para-athlete Deepa Malik, theatre artist Wareppa Naba, Kathakali exponent Chemancheri Kunhairaman Nair, Malayalam poet Akkitham Achyuthan Nambudiri, tribal artist from Kharkhan Mukund Nayak, environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal and well-known gynaecologist Bhakti Yadav.
The number of Padma awardees this year is 89, which includes seven recipients each for Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan. The rest of the awardees will be conferred the awards on April 13.
Out of the 89 awardees, 19 are women. The list also includes five persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs and six posthumous awardees.
The government had received 18,000 nominations this time out of which 4,000 were submitted online. The announcement was made on January 25 on the eve of Republic Day.