“Bharat Ratna” is the highest civilian award in the country. The award was started by formal President of India Rajendra Prasad on 2nd January 1954. At that time only the alive people were eligible for their national service. Later these criteria were changed. The number of annual awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year. The award does not carry any monetary grant. The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President
- The medallion is cast in Bronze.
- The medallion is designed like the leaf of pipal tree with sunburst in the centre and Bharat Ratna is engraved underneath it.
- On the backside, Indian emblem of India is embossed and Satyameva Jayate is inscribed in Devanagari script.
- The medallion is worn around the neck using white ribbon.
- The award does not carry any monetary endowment.
WHO ARE ALL ENTITLED TO GET BHARAT RATNA?
- The award was initially restricted to accomplishments in the literature, science, arts, and public services, but the government of India expanded the conditions to comprise “any field of human endeavour” in 2011.
- There is no written provision that Bharat Ratna should be awarded to Indian citizens only.
- Recently Government of India has altered guidelines for eligibility of persons from sports field for the Bharat Ratna.
- The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President.
- The number of yearly awards is constrained to a maximum of three in a specific year.
Subhash Chandra Bose was awarded Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1992. But due to controversy (as there is no evidence of Subhash Chandra Bose\’s death) his family refused to accept the award. It is the only incident in the history of Bharat Ratna that an award was withdrawn.
As the recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister of India to the President, the then Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-64) and Indira Gandhi (1966-77, 1980-84) have been criticised for honouring themselves with the awards in 1955 and 1971 respectively.