British Conservative Party MP Bob Blackman has been conferred with the Padma Shri award this year for his contribution to the field of Public Affairs. Hours after the announcement by the government, Blackman took to Twitter to express his delight. He said that he is "deeply honoured, humbled and delighted to have been awarded Padma Shri as we celebrate Republic Day 2020". He thanked everyone for "all warm and wonderful messages of congratulation" and said that this award is for the whole Indian Diaspora in the UK. "Jai Hind and Bharat Mata ki Jai," he added.
Deeply honoured, humbled & delighted to have been awarded #PadmaShri by @rashtrapatibhvn as we celebrate #RepublicDay2020 Thank you to everyone for all warm & wonderful messages of congratulation, this award is for the whole #Indian Diaspora in #UK. #JaiHind #BharatMataKiJai— Bob Blackman (@BobBlackman) January 25, 2020
Bob Blackman is a staunch India supporter who regularly backs India on political platforms in the UK on issues like Kashmir and in the battle against terrorism. Recently, Blackman, who is not of Indian-origin, but who represents Harrow East, which has a large Hindu population, took his oath on both the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita during the swearing-in at the House of Commons becoming the first British MP to do so.
Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award in India. This year 141 Padma awards are being given in the fields of art, social work, public affair, science and engineering, medicine, trade and industry, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. While the Padma Shri is awarded for distinguished service in any field, Padma Bhushan is awarded for distinguished service of a high order and Padma Vibhushan is for exceptional and distinguished service.
The Padma awards are announced on Republic Day eve every year. The President of India will honour the Padma awardees at a ceremonial function which will be held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in March/April this year. Out of the 141 Padma awards this year, there are four duos. Seven people have been honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, 16 with Padma Bhushan and 118 with Padma Shri. The Padma awardees this year comprise 34 women. Twelve people including former ministers Arun Jaitley, George Fernandes, Sushma Swaraj and Manohar Parrikar have been honoured posthumously.