President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, presented Bharat Ratna Awards to Nanaji Deshmukh (posthumously), Bhupendra Kumar Hazarika (posthumously) and Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Bharat Ratna 2019 Award Winners
Pranab Mukherjee: His life-long political career spanned about five decades. He was 13th President of India (from 2012 until 2017). He has also served as the Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012 under prime ministership of Manmohan Singh.
Bhupen Hazarika: He was a legendary Assamese singer-composer who died in 2011. He was most popular in Bengal and Bangladesh and was responsible for introducing culture and folk music of Assam and northeast India to Hindi cinema. He is popularly known as Sudhakantha, meaning the nightingale.
Nanaji Deshmukh: He had been a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He is credited with bolstering Jana Sangh in Uttar Pradesh (UP). As a social activist, he laid emphasis on education. He established 1st Saraswati Shishu Mandir at Gorakhpur in 1950. He has been honoured with Padma Vibhushan earlier.
NOTE: Other Presidents, who had been conferred Bharat Ratna earlier are- Dr S Radhakrishnan, Rajendra Prasad, Zakir Hussain and VV Giri.
About Bharat Ratna
It is highest civilian award of Republic of India. It was instituted in 2 January 1954.
First recipients of Bharat Ratna award (1954)- C. Rajagopalachari, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and C. V. Raman.
Bharat Ratna recipients rank 7th in order of precedence of Republic of India.
Criteria: Bharat Ratna award is conferred in recognition of exceptional service/performance of highest order in any field of human endeavor. Till 2011 the award was originally limited to achievements in fields of arts, literature, science, and public services which was then changed. Also, original statutes did not provide for posthumous awards but were amended in 1955 to permit them.
Eligibility: It is conferred without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. Although usually Bharat Ratna is conferred on India-born citizens, but it has been awarded to one naturalised citizen (Mother Teresa) and to 2 non-Indians (former South African President Nelson Mandela and Pakistan national Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan).
Award Process: There is no formal nomination process. The recommendations for award can only be made by the Prime Minister to President.
Limits: Maximum of 3 nominees can be awarded per year.
Medal: Bharat Ratna recipients receive a certificate signed by President and a medal. Medal is in shape of a peepal leaf rimmed in platinum. The sun burst design with rays spreading out, made of platinum, is embossed on obverse side of medal. The words ‘Bharat Ratna’, in Devanagari Script, is inscribed on obverse side. In centre of reverse side of me A State Emblem of India is placed in centre of reverse side with national motto, ‘Satyamev Jayate’ (Truth alone triumphs) in Devanagari Script. There is no monetary grant associated with award.