Instituted in the year 1954, Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award in India. It is awarded in recognition of exceptional service towards any field of human endeavor, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex.
A maximum of three Bharat Ratna awards can be given each year upon the recommendations made by the Prime Minister to the President of India. On conferment of the award, the recipient receives a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a medallion. No monetary grant is associated with the award.
As mentioned in Article 18(1) of the Indian Constitution, the recipients cannot use Bharat Ratna as a prefix or suffix to their names. However, a recipient can use the below-mentioned expression in their biodata, letterhead, visiting card, etc.
The original award was a circular gold medal (35 mm in diameter) with a sun on the obverse side. ‘Bharat Ratna’ was inscribed in Devanagari script above with a floral wreath below. The reverse side carried the National Emblem of India, made of platinum, with the National Motto, ‘Satyameva Jayate’, inscribed in Devanagari script.
The aforementioned design was altered after a year. At present, the award is in the shape of a peepal leaf rimmed in platinum. It is approximately 59 mm long, 48 mm wide, and 3.2 mm thick. On the obverse side, the embossed sunburst design, made of platinum, has a diameter of 16 mm with rays spreading out from the center of the Sun. The words ‘Bharat Ratna’ on the obverse side and ‘Satyameva Jayate’ on the reverse side in Devanagari script, and the National Emblem on the reverse side remained the same. A 2-inch-wide white ribbon is attached to the medal so it can be worn around the neck.
The Bharat Ratna medals are produced at Kolkata’s Alipore Mint, along with other prestigious awards such as Padma Vibushan, Padma Bhushan