March 14, 2011

Delhi docs hog lion's share of Padma awards

Doctors from Delhi seem to have an undue advantage when it comes to receiving the prestigious Padma awards. And, cardiologists and cardiac surgeons make the grade more often in the hallowed list.

An interesting analysis -- "Doctors and the Padma Awards" -- published in National Medical Journal of India on Tuesday lists that 1,166 Padma awards were announced between 2000 and 2010. Of these, 157 (13.4%) were from the field of medicine.

As many as 137 of the awardees were finally evaluated as the rest five were overseas awardees and 15 were from alternative field of medicine like ayurveda, siddha and homoeopathy.

Of the 137 awardees in medicine, 62 (45%) were from Delhi, 18 (13%) from Maharashtra and 17 (12%) from Tamil Nadu. There were less than 10 representatives from other states in the corresponding period.

Incidentally, not a single doctor from large states like West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana received any of the Padma awards.

Analysis of the state-wise distribution of the Padma awardees confirmed Delhi's dominance. It showed that among the seven Padma Vibhushan awardees, four (57%) were from Delhi. Among the 25 Padma Bhushans, 16 (64%) were from Delhi and among the 105 Padma Shris, 42 (40%) were from the national Capital.

The analysis -- done by a team, headed by Dr Samiran Nundy, from the department of surgical gastroenterology and liver transplantation of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital -- also revealed the dominance by cardiologists and cardiac surgeons. It showed that 31 out of the 137 awardees (23%) were cardiologists or cardiac surgeons, followed by ophthalmologists 15 (11%) and orthopedic surgeons 14 (10%).

Cardiologists received a greater proportion (43%) of the Padma Vibhushan awards. The other awardees were from Orthopedics (1), Neurology (1) and general medicine (1) discipline. Around 36% of the Padma Bhushans and 18% of the Padma Shris were conferred on cardiac specialists.

"The over representation of Delhi and cardiology in the Padma awards for medicine suggests that their distribution is not entirely fair," the study observed.

It explained, "This data is interesting on many accounts. Nearly half the awards were bestowed on Delhi doctors who were likely to have treated the politicians and bureaucrats who made the decisions. This skewed bias towards Delhi and towards the specialty of cardiology raises some questions about the representative nature of these awards and the selection process."

The Padma Awards were instituted in 1954, and are announced every year on the eve of Republic Day. Padma Shri is awarded for distinguished service, Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of a high order, and Padma Vibhushan for exceptional and distinguished service.

Link: Original Article

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