Bigwigs recommended names for 2013 Padma awards

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The list of people who recommended names for the 2013 Padma awards reads like who’s who of India’s political, cultural, judicial, bureaucratic and scientific communities, an RTI inquiry has found.

    The list includes union ministers Sushilkumar Shinde, Salman Khurshid, Rajiv Shukla, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, music maestros Pandit Jasraj and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, former chief justice of India Justice (retd.) M.N. Venkatachalam, Justice (retd.) Asok Kumar Ganguly and former cabinet secretary B.K. Chaturvedi.

    The list of the people who were recommended and those who recommended was given by the union home ministry in pursuance to an order of the Central Information Commission on an application filed by RTI (right to information) activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal.

    Agrawal sought details of the names recommended for the Padma awards and of those who recommended these.

    The report said there were people who found no takers to recommend their names, and hence recommended their own names for the Padma awards.

    As in politics, Congress party treasurer Moti Lal Vohra appears to be equally active in recommending names for Padma awards. Vohra’s name appears in several places in the column of the recommending authority.

    Other union ministers include Sriprakash Jaiswal, Kishore Chandra Deo, and Harish Rawat.

    Other leaders, including Digvijaya Singh, Oscar Fernandes, D. Napolean, Charan Das Mahant, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, cricketer-turned-politician Mohammed Azharuddin, also recommended names for Padma awards.

    Former Andhra Pradesh governor and Uttarakhand chief minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari had recommended Basanti Bist’s name for vocal folk music.

    In the field of art and culture, prominent people who recommended names for Padma awards included Lata Mangeshkar, Sonal Mansingh, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, filmmaker Govind Nihalani, actress Hema Malini and Jaipur’s Maharani Padmini Devi.

    Eminent sarod player Amjad Ali Khan recommended the names of various people in the field of art and culture, including those of his two sons — Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan.

    Besides Venkatachaliah, and Ganguly, the chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, those from the judicial world who recommended names for Padma awards include Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, former attorney general K. Parasaran and senior counsel K.K. Venugopal.

    Former secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy Anil Kakodkar, eminent agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan, chairman of the National Centre for Human Settlement and Environment M.N. Buch, principal scientific advisor to the government R. Chidambram, CSIR Director General Samir K. Brahmachari, National Academy of Sciences president A.K. Sharma, and chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to Prime Minister C.N.R. Rao too recommended names for Padma awards in the field of science and technology, architecture and engineering.

    RTI activist Agrawal said that earlier the government used to make these details public but the practice was discontinued later.

    He said that since the home ministry started making these details public in the wake of an order by the CIC, the same should be continued and put on the website of the ministry for the information of the public soon after the Padma awards are announced.