Padma Shri (also Padmashree) is the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan. It is awarded by the Government of India.
It is awarded to citizens of India to recognize their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including the Arts, Education, Industry, Literature, Science, Sports, Medicine, Social Service and public life. However it has also been awarded to some distinguished individuals who were not citizens of India and who did contribute in various ways to India.
The selection criteria, however, has been heavily criticized as many highly deserving artists have been left out in order to favor certain individuals.
On its obverse, the words "Padma", meaning lotus in Sanskrit and "Shri", in Devanagari, appear above and below a lotus flower. The geometrical pattern on either side is in burnished bronze. All embossing is in white gold.
, 2420 people have received the award.
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