It is a well known fact that Padma Sri awards are given to people with either connections or collections, every year.
This year is no exception. The list includes people accused of swindling and illegal poaching. For the Indian people, who elected 150 MPs with Criminal charges pending against them to their 2009 parliament, this is not a big issue at all.
For the Government which runs on a Parliament that has 25 MPs with no PAN cards, yet report an income of more than 1 crores, law is an ass that needs to be flogged, tied at a convenient place and used only at times to carry difficult loads (like Telengana question, River water disputes, CNG vehicles or Introduction of CAS)
Let’s face the truth. Padma Shri is a much abused award scheme that serves the politicians to write a political contract.
Anyone to Challenge..?
Cricket, Cinema and Corporates
India has four levels of awards for civilians with distinguished contributions to society. Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Sri are these four hierarchical awards.
Padma Sri is supposed to be rewarded to those who have excelled in their field. Of late they have been hijacked by the three ‘C’s, Cricket, Cinema and Corporates.
Frankly fields like Cricket and Cinema are places which have high visibility. They are fields which have high returns and need no additional introduction to people. Do we need more role models in Cricket and Cinema..?
Cricket and Cinema have consumed this country for more than half-a-century now. But have never managed to raise the heights of their performance to International levels. At best, our performance in International Cricket has been highly inconsistent. And our Cinema, for most part, has been a ‘copy’ of International films, with more melodrama and monotonous gyrations.
So is it not time to raise the standards for Cricket and Cinema to very high levels for these awards..? Award only to the really excellent ones and not all the above average performers..?
In fact, I suggest we ban Padma Shri awards to Cricketers and Cine-actors for few years to come.
Padma Shri for corporates is almost like payback time for the politicians. Corporates which do not have even an iota of social responsibility get rewarded with Padma Shri, just because they served the political masters in times of need.
Padma Chee to Padma Shri
Should Padma Shri awards be blinded to those who have supposed to have ‘achieved’ in their fields..? Or should it be used as a tool to inspire the nation’s people in their weak areas..? If it is just a question of achievement, then almost everyone living in India is achieving something relative to their needs. It is foolish to differentiate an achievement as ‘big’ and another as ‘small’. Hence the best method for these awards is to use them as a tool to encourage the nation’s people in their weak areas.
India fares poorly in variety of sports and games. Should we not drill down, highlight achievers in these areas and bring up their name for Padma Shri awards to show spotlight on them..?
India fares very badly when it comes to indigenous science and technology development. Should we not identify and appreciate a whole lot of scientists, researchers and technology developers in various fields (working in different Indian Labs and Industries) and bring them up for these awards..? Will that not inspire young people to adapt role models from these fields..?
Are there not scientists who worked in Chandrayan, Agni, Brahmos and other projects, at various levels contributing greatly to the project , innovating a lot (apart from those project directors who got good recognition and acclaim), who could be the role-models for the younger generation in the society..? Should these not be recognized during the Padma Shri awards..?
Are there not management and employees of Public Sector like BEL, BHEL, SBI, LIC etc who work out of motivation for doing something to the country, rather than just personal economic goals, who have taken India’s flag Internationally, eligible for Padma shri awards..? Can we not identify some of them to be our role models in offering excellent public service at the cost of personal salaries..?
India fares very badly in promoting traditional and local arts and crafts. Should we not drill down, identify the protectors of these, who sacrifice their life to protect these treasures for our nation, award them with these awards and inspire other people too to promote them..?
India fares moderately in achievements in medicine. Currently our awards in this area are limited to those working in high-profile hospitals and treating high-profile politicians and those taking part in high-profile academies. Should we not identify the real people who contribute innovatively in various fields related to medicine from surgery to radiology, appreciate them in the public and make them as the role models for the country..? Should we not in specific appreciate those who are in rural service..?
India fares very poorly in Sanitation. Should Government not really use these awards as a mechanism to inspire people in this field..?
India fares very badly in agriculture and agri-technologies. Should we not identify those farmers in various parts of the country, who have stuck to agriculture and have been contributing to newer practices in agriculture..? Should these awards not be an inspiration to small and medium farmers to do something different to achieve higher goals..?
India fares very badly when it comes to human right abuses, in particular by police on weaker sections of society. It also fares very badly when it comes to corruption in bureaucracy. Should these awards not be used to highlight the achievers in bureaucracy as well as services, who serve the people against all the odds..? Should these awards not be used to create role-models in these fields..?
The Padma-Shri process: Selective election
Should the Government wait for Nobel Peace Prize Committee or Magsaysay or someone else to confer its awards to little known people..? Is it not a shame to all of us..? Does it not clearly state that in India awards are only for connections and collections..?
The process of ’selection’ for Padma Shri by awards committee is highly non-transparent. And Home Ministry reserves the veto rights as well as get-to rights over the awards committee. Should not this process and scrutiny be open to public..?
Should not the Public in various forms be included in this awards selection process..?
In short, the concept of Padma Shri awards have to be changed. It has to be liberated from the stranglehold of three ‘C’s. It needs to serve the nation’s cause by inspiring people to achieve in areas where the nation lacks development and focus.