President presents Padma awards
New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday presented Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri awards at a ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The ceremony, held at the majestic Durbar Hall, was attended by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh apart from other dignitaries. Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba anchored the event.
The President, Vice President and the Prime Minister informally met the awardees and their families over tea and interacted with them briefly after the ceremony was over.
The gesture thrilled the recipients and the attendees who hankered to get their pictures clicked with the highest office bearers of the country. The youngsters looked particularly enamoured with Modi and jostled to take selfies or pictures with him as he passed by greeting them.
For a change, the hawk-eyed security personnel did not mind people coming close to the Prime Minister, who looked dapper in his traditional kurta-pyjama and sky-blue jacket.
The President conferred Padma Vibhushan - the country's second highest civilian honour -- on film music director Ilaiyaraja, Hindustani classical vocalist Ghulam Mustafa Khan and writer-thinker P. Parameswaran.
He conferred Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour on Philipose Mar Chrusostom, the senior most Bishop of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church; Ramachandran Nagaswamy, an expert in Indian art; professor Ved Prakash Nanda, a John Evans Distinguished Professor at University of Denver; and Pandit Arvind Parikh, India's one of the top sitar players.
The President also gave away Padma Shri award to the first lot of 36 recipients including sporstsmen Somdev Devvarman and Kidambi Shrikanth, painter Bhajju Shyam and yoga trainer Nouf Almarwaai, a Saudi Arabi national.
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