The Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the country. It was introduced in the year 1954. Any person without distinction of race, profession, position, gender or religion is eligible for this award. It is awarded in appreciation of exceptional service/enactment of the highest order in any field of human venture. The receiver of this award gets a certificate signed by the President and a Medallion. It is not compulsory that this award should be given every year.
Padma Awards were introduced in the year 1954. These awards are announced every year on Republic Day, however during the years 1977 to 1980 and 1993 to 1997 these awards were not given away. The award is given in three following categories-
These awards are given away for "exceptional and distinguished service". Padma Vibhushan is the second-highest civilian award in India.
These awards are given away for “distinguished service of a high order". Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in India.
Padma Shri is awarded for "distinguished service". Padma Shri is the fourth-highest civilian award in India.
The award comprises a Certificate with the sign and seal of the President and a Medallion.
The recipients are also given a replica of the medallion, which they can wear during any ceremonial / State functions etc.
A memorial leaflet giving out brief details in respect of each award winner is also released on the day of the investiture ceremony.