The Bharat Ratna  is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. Instituted in 1954, the award is conferred “in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order”, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex.

The award was originally limited to achievements in the arts, literature, science, and public services, but the government expanded the criteria to include “any field of human endeavour” in December 2011.

The recommendations for the Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President, with a maximum of three nominees being awarded per year. Recipients receive a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a peepal-leaf–shaped medallion; there is no monetary grant associated with the award. Bharat Ratna recipients rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence.

2019 Bharat Ratna Awardees

19 Pranab MukherjeeMukherjee is an Indian politician who served as the 13th President of India from 2012 until 2017. In a political career spanning five decades, Mukherjee has been a senior leader in the Indian National Congress and has occupied several ministerial portfolios in the Government of India. Prior to his election as President, he was Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012.
 Bhupen HazarikaHazarika was an Indian playback singer, lyricist, musician, poet and film-maker from Assam, widely known as Sudhakantha. His songs, written and sung mainly in the Assamese language by himself, are marked by humanity and universal brotherhood and have been translated and sung in many languages, most notably in Bengali and Hindi.
 Nanaji DeshmukhChandikadas Amritrao Deshmukh also known as Nanaji Deshmukh (11 October 1916 – 27 February 2010) was a social activist from India. He worked in the fields of education, health, and rural self-reliance. He was a leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and also a member of the Rajya Sabha.

Relevant for GS Prelims

Source: PIB