New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) Retired IAS officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre, Nripendra Misra, who served as principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi from 2014 to 2019, is among the 10 Padma Bhushan awardees for 2021.
When Misra, a 1967 batch IAS officer, stepped down on August 30, 2019 as principal secretary to the Prime Minister, it had created a flutter in the bureaucratic circles.
Bidding farewell to Misra, Modi had recalled that when he became the Prime Minister for the first time, he was totally ignorant of Delhi’s politics. “It was Misra’s wisdom that saw me through many crises,” the PM had said then.
In his five years in Modi government’s first term, the officer had become one of the most powerful retired civil servants in the government. He was someone who had the Prime Minister’s ears, and the power to question and pull up senior civil servants, including secretary-rank officers, if their ministries’ performance was not up to the mark.
Misra was a top aide of two Uttar Pradesh Chief Ministers — Mulayam Singh Yadav when he became the Chief Minister in 1989, and Kalyan Singh who succeeded Yadav as the Chief Minister in 1991.
It was during Misra’s tenure as secretary to Yadav that senior BJP leader L.K. Advani undertook the rath yatra demanding the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, ex-Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, former Chief Minister of Gujarat Keshubhai Patel and Indian Islamic scholar Kalbe Sadiq are among the other Padma Bhushan awardees who were honoured with the third highest civilian award posthumously.
Besides, former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan; Member of the Parliament (representing Haryana) Tarlochan Singh, who served as Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities; playback singer from Kerala Shantakumari Chithra; prominent poet Chandrashekhara Kambara; businessman Rajnikant Devidas Shroff are among the other Padma Bhushan recipients.
Padma Bhushan is among the three Padma awards which are given in various disciplines — art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, and civil service, among others.
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. These awards are conferred by the President of India at a ceremonial function held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March or April every year.