The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday announced that the online nominations and recommendations for the Padma Awards for 2022 have been opened till September 15. With this announcement, the fake news mill gained momentum as a viral WhatsApp message claims to have accessed the list of Padma Awardees before the official announcement.
A viral WhatsApp message includes a PDF list of Padma Shri winners of 2021 along with a message that reads: "No Bollywood actor, no Cricketer, no politician, but ONLY down to earth people - who live and work for other people."
The list includes 15 names of social workers, who have contributed towards the welfare of the people and the society in one way or the other. They include:
- Jagdish Lal Ahuja, a social worker from Punjab
- Rahibai Soma Popere, self-taught organic farmer from Maharashtra
- Moozhikkal Pankajakshi, Kerala-based puppetry art practitioner
- Mohammed Sharif, UP-based social worker
- Ravi Kannan, Assamese medical oncologist
- Harekala Hajabba, Karnataka's social worker
- Usha Chaumar, social worker from Rajasthan
- Tulasi Gowda, social worker from Karnataka
- Abdul Jabbar, MP-based social worker
- S Ramakrishnan, TN-based social worker
- Yogi Aeron, Uttarakhand based affordable healthcare provider
- Munna Master, Rajasthan based Muslim bhajan singer
- Sundaram Verma, Rajasthan's environmentalist and social worker
- Radha Mohan and Sabarmatee, Odisha's organic farming father-daughter duo
- Sathyanarayan Mundayoor, Arunachal Pradesh-based social worker making education affordable
This list, along with short bio of the social workers, has gone viral on WhatsApp, which has already flagged the message as "forwarded many times."
International Business Times, like many WhatsApp users, came across this list. Given the timing of the government's announcement for nomination for Padma Awards, the Padma Shri awardees list was received by many with little doubt. But a simple Google search reveals the truth.
Visiting the official government dashboard for Padma Awardees gives a list of all the recipients of the Padma Shri. Going through the list revealed to us that the 15 names have been picked from 118 recipients of Padma Shri in 2020.
The claim made with the viral list on WhatsApp is also misleading as it claims to be 2021 list. But anyone who goes through the list can easily tell that the names are from last year as it clearly mentions in every person's bio.
In addition to that, Press Information Bureau Fact Check team debunked the misinformation regarding Padma Awards 2021 recipients and labeled it misleading.
The Padma Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year. The nomination process is open to the public. Even self-nomination can be made. The recommendations for these civilian awards Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri are given every year and the recipients names are announced on the occasion of Republic Day.
Based on these facts, IBTimes has arrived at the conclusion that the viral WhatsApp message with 2021 Padma Shri recipients is misleading.