The Centre on Thursday announced the list of this year’s Padma awardees. The list of awardees include ‘Grandmother of Jungle’ Lakshmikutty, scientist toymaker Arvind Gupta, Gond artist Bhajju Shyam, ‘father of palliative care in India’ MR Rajagopal and 98-year-old social worker Sudhanshu Biswas. Music composer Ilayaraja has been conferred the Padma Vibhushan. When the music director was informed about being graced with the prestigious Padma Vibhushan, he told the media, ” The award shows that Modi government respects Tamil Nadu and Tamil people a lot.” During his media interaction, Ilayaraja told that a joint Secretary level official from the Information and Broadcasting ministry had telephoned to inform him about the award. He was reportedly conferred with Padma Bhushan by the government in 2010. Also Read - Republic Day Violence: Delhi Court Sends Actor-Activist Deep Sidhu To 14-Day Judicial Custody

The awards — Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri — are announced on the eve of the Republic Day every year. They are given in different fields and disciplines such as art, literature and education, sports, medicine, social work, science and engineering, public affairs, civil service, trade and industry. Also Read - 'Reflects Your Love For Nation': PM Modi Sends Letter of Praise to Dubai Boy Who Made His Portrait

More than 15,700 people applied for the prestigious awards for 2018, with the government laying stress on honouring the unsung heroes, an official said. Recommendations can also be made by the state governments, Union territories, ministries and departments of the government of India, Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan awardees, central and state ministers, chief ministers, state governors and Members of Parliament. Also Read - Republic Day Violence: Man Seen Swinging Swords at Red Fort Arrested

The nominations are placed before the Padma Awards Committee, constituted by the prime minister every year, which takes the final decision. Last year, the number of Padma awardees was 89, which included seven recipients each of Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan.

By inputs from PTI