New Delhi: The possibility of conferring Padma Bhushan to ace shuttler Saina Nehwal continues to remain uncertain notwithstanding the Sports Ministry's nomination as the last date for receiving such applications by the Home Ministry was September 15 last year.
However, President, Vice-President, Prime Minister or the Home Minister may recommend any name to the seven-member Padma award selection committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary even at the eleventh hour.
Official sources also said there is another possibility of Saina's name having already been recommended by someone else as the selection panel is still to go through the 2,500-odd nominations received this year.
A self recommendation is also acceptable while the selection committee can also consider a name if it feels that any deserving person's name is left out.
The selection panel has already held two rounds of meeting and two more meetings are expected before finalising the names, sources said.
In 2014, the Home Ministry has received 1,878 nominations for the three categories of Padma awards and the committee finally decided to confer two Padma Vibhushan, 24 Padma Bhushan and 101 Padma Shri awards.
Apart from the Cabinet Secretary, the other members are the Union Home Secretary, Secretary to the President, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and three prominent personalities from different walks of life.
In 2014, the three public members were noted industrialist Jamshyd Godrej, renowned film maker Mira Nair and scientist Anil Kakodkar. Names of this year's public personalities in the panel have been kept secret and will be known only after the announcement of the awards.
As per the rules of 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.
Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told PTI that his Ministry today recommended Saina's name for Padma Bhushan and it is upto the Home Ministry to take a final decision.
"We want to promote all sports and all deserving sports talent must get the deserving award," he said.
After Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian awards of the country are conferred in three categories -- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
The awards are given in various disciplines of activities like art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service etc.
'Padma Vibhushan' is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; 'Padma Bhushan' for distinguished service of high order and 'Padma Shri' for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the eve of Republic Day every year.
These awards are conferred by the President at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan, usually around March/ April every year.
All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these awards. However, government servants, including those working with PSUs, except doctors and scientists, are not 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.
The usual practice is to invite recommendations every year from all state governments, Union Ministries and Departments, Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan awardees and Institutes of Excellence. 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 Padma 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.
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 the awardees so desire. The award does not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the awardee's name on letterheads, invitation cards, posters, books, etc.
No cash allowance or any facility/benefit in terms of concession etc. In rail or air travel is attached to these awards.