New Delhi, Mar 31: Eminent scientist R A Mashelkar was today conferred the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, while acclaimed artiste, actor and filmmaker Kamal Haasan and ace shuttler P Gopichand were among the 12 personalities conferred the Padma Bhushan by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Award-winning actress Vidya Balan, coach of Indian women kabaddi team Sunil Dabas, sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik and activist Jawahar Lal Kaul were among the 53 personalities conferred the Padma Shri award at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan’s Durbar Hall.
The award ceremony was attended, among others, by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur, Union ministers Sushuilkumar Shinde, P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar and Sriprakash Jaiswal, and Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath.
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and leaders from opposition and other political parties were not present.
Mashelkar (71) is well known globally for his pathbreaking research in polymer science and engineering. He has chaired 12 high powered national level committees to look into diverse issues of higher education, national auto fuel policy and measures to deal with the menace of spurious drugs.
Anumolu Ramakrishna, who pioneered the use of precast concrete technology, was conferred the Padma Bhushan posthumously. He passed away last year at the age of 73.
Kaul (69), known for his voluntary services for the blind, had lost his eyesight due to smallpox at the age of five. The President climbed down from the podium to confer the Padma Shri on him.
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