Mountaineer Edmund Hillary, who was the first to conquer Mt Everest and who died recently has been awarded Padma Vibhushan posthumously. Former Chief Justice of India and former National Human Rights Commission Chairman A S Anand, Delhi Metro Managing Director E Shreedharan, NRI businessman Lakshmi Narayan Mittal, hotelier P R S Oberoi and former diplomat P N Dhar have also been chosen for the Padma Vibhushan for their outstanding contribution in various fields. Astronaut Sunita Williams, Lord Meghnad Desai, eminent scientist and former Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research Prof N K Ganguly, educationist and Principal of Delhi Public School Shyama Chona and singer Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar are among the 35 people selected for the Padma Bhushan award For the seventh year in a row, the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian honour was not awarded to anyone this year.
The award had come into controversy of sorts in recent days with a spate of names being proposed, including those of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Dalit leader Jagjivan Ram and freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.
Film star Madhuri Dixit, film director Manoj Night Shyamalam and television journalists Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai and Vinod Dua are among the 71 people chosen for the Padma Shri awards on the eve of the 59th Republic Day.