The Maharashtra government has pulled up its socks to avoid allegations of nepotism and favouritism in the country's second-highest civilian honours, and sent out detailed guidelines with well-defined criteria for selection of nominees for the Padma awards.
The recommendations are to be based on meritocracy, with preference given to nominees from under-served sections and those who choose to stay away from the glare of publicity.
On Friday, the state issued a notification asking departments concerned to submit recommendations at the state secretariat by July 30.
The government wants district collectors to strictly give priority to and to persons from scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, other backward classes, women and the physically challenged.
"The government," said an official, "strictly wants district collectors to desist from rolling out advertisements in print media and other mediums to invite applications from aspirants. The underlying message is that publicity mongers should be kept at an arm's length."
He added that government servants, including those working with public sector undertakings, except doctors and scientists, would not be eligible. Divisional Commissioners have been told to cross-check recommendations made by district collectors to see that necessary criteria has been met. "It was noticed that some recommendations were made in a random manner," the officer added.
- Recommendations are to be based on meritocracy from now onwards
- Preference to be given to under-served sections of society
- Those who choose to stay away from the spotlight will be considered first