List of Indian National Awards

Scholarship Examination in India

India is a country known to have produced many honourary and accomplished individuals. To recognise the contributions of its distinguished citizens, the Republic of India has a range of Indian national awards for people showing determination, bravery and exceptional talents. Over the years since it’s inception, these awards have adorned many outstanding individuals who would have been equally proud to receive them. Examin provides a list of major Indian national awards for military personnel, civilians as well as awards provided for extraordinary achievement in the fields of literature and sports. The awards are sorted in the order of their importance:

Indian National awards for civilians

The Civilian awards are provided to an ordinary citizen for their outstanding services and extraordinary endurance in the time of their need. There are no set criteria for providing the awards, but the award shall be provided to civilians displaying bravery at the hour of need or any other accomplishment entailing extraordinary endurance. It is not necessary for the award to be provided every year.


Bharat Ratna
  • Considered as the highest civilian award.
  • Provided for extraordinary feats in human endeavour.
  • Provided to 45 individuals till date.
Padma Vibhushan
  • Second highest civilian award after Bharat Ratna
  • Given to civilians for exceptional and distinguished service
  • Bestowed upon 300 individuals till date.
Padma Bhushan
  • Considered the third highest civilian award.
  • Given for extraordinary service in any field towards India.
  • Provided to 1240 individuals till date.
Padma Shri
  • It is the fourth highest civilian award provided by the Republic of India.
  • Provided for distinguished achievement in any recognised field or service.
  • A total of 2840 awards has been handed out till date.

Major Military Indian National Awards

The military awards are provided to military personnel who have shown exemplary courage and bravery on the battlefield. The Indian national award is provided to any officer or soldier irrespective of the forces they served in, that is, Armed, Navy or Air Force. The military awards are categorised into wartime and peacetime awards. They are provided for similar acts of bravery by the soldiers in the battlefield but are dependent on the diplomatic status of the country at the time of providing the awards. The awards are shown in the order of importance.

War Time Gallantry Awards

Param Vir Chakra
  • It is the highest wartime military honour.
  • Provided for acts of valour and bravery on the battlefield.
  • Has been awarded 21 times till date.
Maha Vir Chakra
  • It is considered the second highest war-time military honour after Param Vir Chakra.
  • Provided for acts of bravery in front of enemies.
  • The award has been given out 218 times till date.
Vir Chakra
  • It is the third highest war-time military award.
  • Provided for acts of bravery in the enemy lines.
  • A total of 361 awards has been given out till date.

Peace Time Gallantry Awards

Ashok Chakra
  • It is the highest peacetime military award.
  • Provided for acts of valour and self-sacrifice.
  • 58 awards have been handed out till date.
Kirti Chakra
  • Second in the order of importance after Ashok Chakra.
  • Handed out for courageous action or self-sacrifice.
  • 453 individuals have been given the award till date.
Shaurya Chakra
  • Considered the third highest peacetime military award.
  • Provided for acts of valour, courage or self sacrifice.
  • Total of 627 posthumous awards has been given out till date.

In addition to gallantry awards, Government of India also provides various service awards to recognise persons who had a distinguished career while serving any of the armed forces. The most prominent military service medals are Sena medal, Nau Sena Medal and Vayu Sena medal given to the military personnel with distinguished service in Army, Navy and Airforce respectively. In addition to these, Sarvottam Yudh Seva, Uttam Yudh Seva and Yudh Seva medals are provided for distinguished service during wartime. Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal are given for distinguished service during peacetime.

Major Literature Awards

Literature is an important aspect of a culture. It helps people appreciate it’s uniqueness and care about the problems our society is facing. Having great writers is an asset to any nation and Republic of India certainly does appreciate it’s writers. Here are the most prominent Indian national awards provided to writers who have created an exceptional piece of literature.

  • Introduced in 1965.
  • Provided to authors for their exceptional contributions towards literature.
  • A sum of ₹11 lakh is given as cash prize.
Sahitya Akademi
  • Introduced in 1954.
  • Provided to authors of most outstanding literature books.
  • A cash prize of ₹1 lakh is also provided.
Saraswati Samman
  • Introduced in 1991.
  • Given out for outstanding works in prose or poetry.
  • A cash prize of ₹15 lakh is handed out.

National Sports Awards

Sports are unquestionable aspects of Indian pride and identity.  Athletes and sports people take great pride in representing India at various sporting events and give out their best at such events. To reciprocate such dedication and enthusiasm, Republic of India hands out Indian national awards for sportspersons for providing exceptional results and dedications towards their sports.

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
  • Highest sporting award in India
  • Cash award of ₹7.5 lakhs are given to recipients
  • 36 individuals have been given the awards.
  • It is given out to coaches for nurturing sportspersons.
  • A sum of ₹5 lakhs is given as a cash award.
  • 104 awards are handed out till date.
  • Is provided for outstanding achievement in sports.
  • A cash prize of ₹5 lakhs is given to awardees.
  • 700 awards have been handed out till date.
Dhyan Chand
  • The award is given out for outstanding achievement in various international sporting events.
  • A cash prize of ₹5 lakhs is given with the awards.
  • 51 awards have been handed out till date.
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