The selection criteria, however, have been heavily criticized with the claim that many highly deserving artists have been left out in order to favor certain individuals.
On its obverse, the words "Padma", meaning lotus in Sanskrit, and "Shri", a Sanskrit-derived honorific equivalent to 'Mr.' or 'Ms.', appear in Devanagari above and below a lotus flower. The geometrical pattern on either side is in burnished bronze. All embossing is in white gold.
As of 2014[update], 2679 people have received the award.