The Padma Vibhushan is the second highest civilian award of the Republic of India, preceded by Bharat Ratna and followed by Padma Bhushan.
Instituted on 2 January 1954, the award is given for "exceptional and distinguished service", without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex.
The award criteria include "service in any field including service rendered by Government servants" including doctors and scientists, but excludes those working with the public sector undertakings.
The Padma Vibhushan award recipients are announced every year on Republic Day of India and registered in The Gazette of India—a publication released weekly by the Department of Publication, Ministry of Urban Development used for official government notices.
The conferral of the award is not considered official without its publication in the Gazette.
The original 1954 specifications of the award called for a circle made of gold gilt 1 3⁄8 inches (35 mm) in diameter, with rims on both sides. A year later, the design was modified. The current decoration is a circular-shaped bronze toned medallion 1 3⁄4 inches (44 mm) in diameter and 1⁄8 inch (3.2 mm) thick. The centrally placed pattern made of outer lines of a square of 1 3⁄16 inches (30 mm) side is embossed with a knob carved within each of the outer angles of the pattern.