Gallantry Awards in India – UPSC Prelims

Gallantry Awards in India:
  • Post-Independence, first three gallantry awards namely Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra were instituted by the government of India on 26th January, 1950 which were deemed to have effect from 15th August,1947.
  • Thereafter, other three gallantry awards, the Ashoka Chakra Class-I, the Ashoka Chakra Class-II and the Ashoka Chakra Class-III, were instituted in 1952, which were deemed to have effect from 15th August, 1947.
  • These awards were renamed as Ashoka Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra respectively in January 1967.
  • Order of precedence of these awards is the Param Vir Chakra, the Ashoka Chakra, the Mahavir Chakra, the Kirti Chakra, the Vir Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra.
People Eligible for the Awards:
  • All officers of all ranks of the Army, Navy and the Air Force or of any of the reserve forces, territorial army and any other lawfully constituted armed forces.
  • In addition to the above-mentioned personnel, matrons, sisters, nurses, alongside the staff of the nursing services and other services pertaining to hospitals and nursing and civilians, both male and females, serving regularly or temporarily under the orders, directions or supervision of any of the above-mentioned forces.
Wartime Highest Gallantry Awards:
  • Param Vir Chakra: It is India’s highest military decoration awarded for displaying distinguished acts of valour during wartime whether on land, at sea or in the air.
  • Maha Vir Chakra: It is the second highest gallantry award for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy whether on land, at sea or in the air.
  • Vir Chakra: It is the country’s third highest wartime gallantry award after Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra.
Peacetime Highest Gallantry Awards:
  • Ashoka Chakra: It is the highest military award during peacetime for valour, courageous action or sacrifice. It is awarded for most conspicuous bravery or some act of daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice otherwise than in the face of the enemy.
  • Kirti Chakra: It is the second highest peacetime gallantry award and is awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the field of battle.
  • Shaurya Chakra: It is awarded to the personnel of the armed forces for instances of extraordinary gallantry.
Other Awards:
  • Sena Medal: It is awarded for acts of exceptional devotion to duty or courage in the Army.
  • Nao Sena Medal: It is awarded for individual acts of exceptional devotion to duty or courage in the Navy.
  • Vayu Sena Medal: It is awarded for individual acts of exceptional devotion to duty or courage in the Air Force.

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