First president of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad ordered for establishing biggest ever civilian award Bharat Ratna on January 2, 1954. Concept of awarding this award posthumously was not there in the original statute declared in January 1954...


Key Points

Soon after the award was established its original concept followed presenting a circular gold medal that would have state emblem and motto and rest aspects as decided thereafter. Factors including concrete decision about design to choose...



Posthumous Bharat Ratna award to the Indian freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in 1992 came into news for typical reasons. A Public Interest Litigation stalled everything and the award was forced to be withdrawn thereafter...


Benefits to Bharat Ratna Awardee

The Indian Honour System, various awards are given by the India Government to citizens in recognition of their service or achievements in any field. Amongst these awards the “ Bharat Ratna” is the highest award.  Since the time, the “Bharat Ratna” was instituted in the year 1954, 45 great sons and daughters of India have received this most prestigious honour.

Apart from the honour, recognition and respect that recipients of this award get there are also certain benefits and facilities that the awardees get for the rest of their life. However, Bharat Ratna is not a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the name of the recipient.  The only way it can be added to the letterhead, visiting card or bio-data of the recipient is by writing “recipient of Bharat Ratna” or  “awarded Bharat Ratna by the President of India”.

The Process

The highest civilian award in India, the Bharat Ratna is conferred on an India citizen without credence to caste, religion, sex, age or occupation. The Prime Minister suggests the nominees to the President of India who makes the final decision about who should get the awards for the particular year. No other nominations are required and a maximum of three nominees can be selected for the award in a year.

The Bharat Ratna Award

The recipient of the award gets a Medallion and a Certificate which is called “Sanad” in Hindi, which is signed by the President of India.

The medal is minted in the Government Mint in Kolkota. It is shaped like a Peepul leaf (leaf of the tree Ficus Religiosa), a tree native to India and strongly associated with Indian ethos.  The Peepul Leaf is heart shaped and has a slender long tapering end. The medallion is 5.8 cms in length, 4.7 cms in width and 3.1 mms in thickness. It has the a sun with the words “Bharat Ratna” written in Devanagri script on one side and on the reverse the Emblem of India with the words “ Satyamev Jayate” written in Devanagri script.  The sun, the State Emblem and the rim are made of platinum and the rest of the medallion is made of bronze.  The cost of making this medallion, a miniature of this medallion and the box in which it is kept  is supposed to be more than Rs. 2.5 lacs.

Benefits and Facilities

While there is no monetary  benefit or grant that is associated with this award, there are a number of benefits and facilities that the recipients enjoy for the rest of their life.


The following Government dignitaries are State Guests of India:

  1. The President of India.

  2. The Vice-President of India.

  3. The Prime Minister of India.

  4. The Chief Justice of India.

  5. Governors of other states including

  6. Lieutenant Governor of Union Territories.

  7. The Ex-Presidents of India.

  8. The Ex-Vice Presidents of India.

  9. The Ex-Prime Ministers of India.

While travelling in India, the Bharat Ratna recipient is treated as a State Guest. A  State Guest in India is given free transportation, lodging, boarding and reception while travelling within the country according to the rules. The immediate family (wife/husband and children) are also given these benefits at the expense of the State. Security is also given to the Awardees and personal aides such as driver, peon, and secretary are also provided by the State.

Indian Missions abroad will provide proper facilitation on their visits abroad & the awardee is entitled for diplomatic passport

When travelling abroad, Awardees are given “Diplomatic Passport” which allows them to easier immigration, right to use of VIP lounge etc. The Indian High Commissions and Embassies abroad offer all help during their trip.

Lifetime free executive class travel on Air India

Also, Air India, our national Air Carrier gives them free Executive Class travel for their whole life.

Ceremonial Protocol

The Bharat Ratna Awardee is in position 7A in the “Table of Precedence”  of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The order of precedence of Government Dignitaries such as president, Prime Minister, Governors, Cabinets Ministers , Judges etc. are given in this table for ceremonial occasions and State Functions. The Bharat Ratna Awardees are above Chief Ministers or Governors from outside states at position 7A.

The honour that is accorded and the respect that the Bharat Ratna Award brings to the recipient are above all the most important benefits that he/ she gets.