IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Bharat Ratna

5th February, 2024 POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

Bharat Ratna

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that veteran BJP leader L K Advani will be conferred with the Bharat Ratna.

Bharat Ratna: India's Highest Civilian Award


  • Instituted: The Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, was instituted on January 2, 1954.
  • First Awardees: The first recipients of the Bharat Ratna were politician C. Rajagopalachari, scientist C.V. Raman, and philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan in 1954.

Criteria for Award:

  • Field of Achievement: The award is given in recognition of exceptional service in any field of human endeavor, including art, literature, science, and public service.
  • Non-discrimination: It is open to anyone, regardless of nationality, race, occupation, or sex.

Notable Features:

  • Multiple Awardees: Individuals can receive the Bharat Ratna more than once. Notable multiple awardees include former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
  • Posthumous Awards: The award can be conferred posthumously, honoring individuals who made significant contributions during their lifetimes.

Selection Process:

  • Recommendation: Nominations for the Bharat Ratna can be made by the Prime Minister, the President, or any citizen.
  • Screening Committee: A committee reviews the nominations and recommends candidates to the Prime Minister.
  • Final Decision: The Prime Minister makes the final recommendation to the President for approval.

Symbol and Privileges:

  • Medal and Certificate: Recipients receive a medal, a certificate, and a cash award.
  • Privileges: The award confers no formal title but grants the recipient certain privileges, including a stipend and free travel on Indian Airlines.

Controversies and Discussions:

  • Timing of Awards: The timing and choices of Bharat Ratna awardees have occasionally sparked debates and controversies.
  • Calls for Reevaluation: Over the years, there have been discussions about reevaluating the criteria and expanding the categories for the award.

Prominent Recipients:

  • Diverse Fields: Bharat Ratna has been awarded to individuals from diverse fields, including politics, science, arts, and social service.
  • Contributions to Nation: Recipients are honored for their outstanding contributions that have significantly impacted the nation.


  • The Bharat Ratna stands as a prestigious recognition of exceptional service and contributions to India, encompassing a wide range of fields.
  • Despite occasional debates, it continues to symbolize the nation's gratitude to those who have made outstanding contributions to humanity.


Q. Which of the following statements regarding the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, is/are correct?

1.The Bharat Ratna was first instituted in 1954 and awarded to C. Rajagopalachari, C.V. Raman, and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

2.The award can only be conferred during a person’s lifetime.

3.Recipients of the Bharat Ratna receive a formal title, along with a medal, certificate, and a cash award.

4.The selection process involves recommendations by the President of India, and the final decision is made by a screening committee.

Select the correct answer using the code below:

A) 1 only

B) 1 and 2 only

C) 1 and 3 only

D) 1, 2, and 4 only

Answer: A) 1 only


  1. Correct: The Bharat Ratna was indeed instituted in 1954, and the first recipients were C. Rajagopalachari, C.V. Raman, and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
  2. Incorrect: The award can be conferred both during an individual's lifetime and posthumously, honoring their contributions regardless of their survival.
  3. Incorrect: The Bharat Ratna does not confer a formal title upon recipients. They receive a medal, certificate, and a cash award.
  4. Incorrect: The selection process involves recommendations by the Prime Minister, not the President. The final decision is made by the Prime Minister, and the President approves the recommendation.

Therefore, option A is the correct answer as only statement 1 is accurate.