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HomeIndiaModi govt defers Padma award ceremony over coronavirus outbreak

Modi govt defers Padma award ceremony over coronavirus outbreak

Former finance minister Arun Jaitley, former MEA Sushma Swaraj, and former Goa CM Manohar Parrikkar are set to be awarded posthumously this year.

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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government Saturday postponed the Padma awards ceremony scheduled for 3 April at the Rashtrapati Bhavan as a precautionary step on account of the coronavirus pandemic.

Padma awards are India’s highest civilian honours and are given in three categories — Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service).

This year the award will be conferred to 141 people including former finance minister Arun Jaitley, former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikkar, all of whom will be awarded posthumously.

A senior government official who didn’t want to be named told ThePrint that the awards have been postponed as a precautionary measure to check the coronavirus outbreak.

The official said that the Ministry of Home Affairs is yet to take a call on the new dates for the ceremony. “It’s an evolving situation and a call will be taken at a later date,” the official said.

According to the Union health ministry data, the confirmed of coronavirus cases in India have gone up to 83, of which 66 are Indians. India has reported two coronavirus deaths so far.

Also read: Only 6 of 15 Supreme Court benches to hear 12 urgent matters due to coronavirus scare

Not the first government event to be postponed

The Padma ceremony isn’t the first civilian event that has been postponed because of coronavirus. In the last week, the Modi government as well as state governments across India have postponed several high profile events to check the community transmission of coronavirus.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has postponed the Indian Premier League, the marquee Twenty20 cricketing event that was set to start from 29 March, until 15 April.

The Delhi government has also decided to cancel all sporting events in the city. The city government has also shut all schools, colleges and movie theatres until 31 March.

The Karnataka government Friday announced the closure of universities, colleges, movie theatres for a week and cancelled other public gathering like marriages and conferences. Private offices, especially in the IT sector, have been advised to encourage employees to work from home.

The Goa government has also announced closure of all casinos, pubs and other public places.

Also read: US-based scholar who gave Modi leadership award is one of 16 Padma Bhushan awardees


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