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Modi Govt postpones Padma awards ceremony following coronavirus epidemic

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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government postponed the Padma awards ceremony scheduled for April 3 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday as a precaution due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Padma Awards are India's highest civil honors and are awarded in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for outstanding and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished high-ranking service) and Padma Shri (service distinguished).

This year, the award will go to 141 people, including former Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley, former Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, former Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikkar, who will all awarded posthumously.

A senior government official who did not want to be named told ThePrint that the awards had been postponed as a precaution to verify the coronavirus epidemic.

The official said that the Interior Ministry had not yet called the new dates for the ceremony. This is an evolving situation and a call will be answered at a later date, said the official.

According to data from the Union's Ministry of Health, the confirmed number of coronavirus cases in India has increased to 83, including 66 Indians. India has so far reported two deaths from coronaviruses.


Read also: Only 6 of 15 Supreme Court seats to hear 12 urgent cases due to fear of coronavirus


Not the first government event to be reported

The Padma ceremony is not the first civil event that has been postponed because of the coronavirus. Last week, the Modi government as well as the state governments of India postponed several large-scale events to verify community transmission of coronaviruses.

The Cricket Control Board in India has postponed the Indian Premier League, the landmark Twenty20 cricket event which was scheduled to start from March 29 to April 15.

The Delhi government has also decided to cancel all sporting events in the city. The city government also closed all schools, colleges and cinemas until March 31.

On Friday, the government of Karnataka announced the closure of universities, colleges and cinemas and has canceled other public gatherings such as weddings and conferences. Private offices, particularly in the IT sector, have been advised to encourage employees to work from home.

The Goa government has also announced the closure of all casinos, pubs and other public places.


Read also: An American Academic Who Awarded the Modi Leadership Award is One of 16 Padma Bhushan Winners


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