Padma Awards – one of the highest civilian awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The awards are given in various disciplines / fields of activities, viz. art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhavan usually around March / April every year. This year the President of India has approved conferment of Padma Awards to 112 persons. The list comprises of 10 Padma Vibhushan, 19 Padma Bhushan and 83 Padma Shri Awardees. Nineteen of the awardees are women and the list also includes 10 persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs, PIOs (include one posthumous) and 4 Posthumous awardees.
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman of The Akshaya Patra Foundation and President of ISKCON Bangalore has been awarded the prestigious Padma Shri. The award has been conferred in recognition of the distinguished service rendered by Akshaya Patra for the children of India. Akshaya Patra Foundation is feeding mid-day meals to more than 15 lakh children every day in 10 states across the nation.
Thanking the Government for this recognition, Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa said “I dedicate this award to Srila Prabhupada, a true visionary who wanted to see a hunger-free world. This award will give immense encouragement to the Akshaya Patra team to reach greater heights in its service.”
Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON desired that no one should go hungry in this country. This award is a recognition of the humble service by the Akshaya Patra Foundation in leading the cause of education among the government school children.
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa further added, “It is an inspiration for me and the entire team at Akshaya Patra to reach out the work of our foundation to many more hungry children of this country. Quality food for these children is a need for quality education that will in turn create citizens of great character. Our children are the real asset of our nation.”