Padma Awards Panel Ignored Olympic Heroes


New Delhi, mar 6: Nominations of Olympic medal winners Sushil Kumar (wrestler) and Vijender Singh (boxing) were struck off by the Padma Awards Committee despite having been recommended by the sports and home ministries.

In response to an RTI query, home ministry said it had received recommendation in favour of both the Olympians from ministry of youth affairs and sports on November 20, 2008, well before the cut-off date for accepting nominations.

"The nominations were placed before the Padma Awards Committee. These names were not recommended by Padma Awards Committee for 2009," ministry's CPIO S K Bhatnagar said in reply to an application filed by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal.

Sushil and Vijender had won bronze medals in the Olympic Games held in Beijing. The ministry in its reply said 1,093 recommendations were placed before the Padma awards committee which selected 133 names for different categories — 10 Padma Vibhushan, 30 Padma Bhushan and 93 Padma Shri.

In fact, on at least two occasions earlier, the government has overruled the K R Narayanan committee — set up by the Supreme Court to frame guidelines on Padma awards to sportsmen. One of the guidelines said the government could not give Padma awards at any other time except for Republic Day. However, according to the home ministry, in March 1983 and June 1984 seven sportspersons were given these awards out of turn.

The awards committee is headed by the cabinet secretary and comprises home secretary, secretary to the President and principle secretary to the prime minister. Four non-official members this year were Kapila Vatsyayana, Tarun Das, Jyotindra Jain and R Chidambaram. 


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