WIN Guruprasad Mohapatra-1643196969622
Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra Image Credit: ANI

New Delhi: A senior Indian Administrative Officer (IAS) Guruprasad Mohapatra, a 102-year-old Gandhian activist from Assam Shakuntala Choudhary and a veteran Orthopedic surgeon from Vishakapatnam Sunkara Venkata Adinarayana Rao are among some of the many unsung heroes who have been honoured with Padma Shri award this year.

The Central government on Tuesday announced the name of Guruprasad Mohapatra, as one of the awardees of Padma Shri. Mohapatra diligently performed his assigned responsibilities in India’s fight against COVID-19 till his last breath.

The 60-year-old Civil Servant, chaired the Empowered Groups that ensured the availability of oxygen and medical supplies during the COVID pandemic. Known for his administrative governance skills, Mohapatra worked on oxygen availability even from his hospital bed, finally succumbing to the virus.

Imbued with ideology of Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave, 102-year-old Gandhian activist Shakuntala Choudhary, who hails from Kamprup in Assam, is a Gandhian Social Worker and is popularly known as ‘Shakuntala Baideo’.

She has been silently promoting the value of service for the last seven decades and has founded Gram Seva Kendras across North East which made sustainable efforts in the field of social work. She has been working dedicatedly for villagers, especially women and children through the Stree Shakti Jagaran movement even during adverse times.

82-year-old ‘Polio Warror’ Sunkara Venkata Adinarayana Rao, a veteran orthopedic surgeon from Vishakapatnam, has selflessly dedicated himself to cure Polio patients and performed over one lakh Polio surgeries

He has treated more than 20 lakh patients with polio and cerebral palsy for free or nominal fees. He has also organized more than 900 camps across the country.

Prabhaben Shah also called ‘Daman ki Divya’, a nonagenarian social worker from Daman and Diu, is among other unsung heroes honoured with Padma Shri for dedicating her life to the upliftment of women and the environment.

With a motto of serving all, Shah has worked for the betterment of people, conducted awareness programs and organized ‘Vastra Bank’ for flood victims in Kutch. The 91-year-old also started canteen for patients and economically weaker people in hospitals.

Dubbed as ‘Democracy ke Sahayak’ engineer, academician and technocrat Dilip Shahani has been selected for Padma Shri. He has contributed towards designing and developing India’s EVM and VVPAT technology platforms.

One of the finest electronics experts, Shahani, who is an Emeritus Professor of IIT Delhi, served as Chairman of Technical Expert Committee, Election Commission of India.

‘Gramin Gujarat ni Gaurav’, 75-year-old pediatrician Lata Desai is among other unsung heroes whom the government has honoured with Padma Shri for her dedicated five decades of service for Tribal upliftment through her initiative SEWA Rural.

Lata, who along with her husband Dr Anil Desai quit her job in the US to provide affordable healthcare in rural Gujarat, is providing treatment to more than 24 lakh patients in 1,000 villages and has empowered youth by establishing vocational training centers which have benefitted thousands till date.

Gamit Ramilaben Raysingbhai, a tribal social worker from Tapi belonging from a very humble background, worked at the grassroots level to eradicate open defecation. Her dedicated efforts led to the transformation of 9 villages into open defecation-free villages. She created 300 plus sanitary units and held awareness events on open defecation, sickle cell in tribal belts.


Besides them, there are many more whose names are not known to everyone but they have been performing their services in different sectors to help people and the country.

The names of such unsung heroes are in the list of 128 people approved for this year’s Padma Awards, one of the highest civilian awards of the country.

President Ram Nath Kovind approved the conferment of 128 Padma Awards that comprises four Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri Awards.

Of the total, 34 of the awardees are women and 10 persons belong to the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 13 Posthumous awardees.

Padma Awards - one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.

The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz.- art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.

‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field.

The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.

These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March and April every year.