The Padma Awards were introduced in the year 1954 as Padma Vibhushan. It had three classes namely Pahela Varg, Dusra Varg and Tisra Varg. These were subsequently renamed as Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri vide Presidential Notification issued on January 8, 1955.
The award is normally not conferred posthumously except in highly deserving cases. A higher category of Padma award can be conferred on a person only where a period of atleast five years has elapsed since conferment of the earlier Padma award. The total number of awards to be given in a year (excluding posthumous awards and to foreigners) should not be more than 120.