Ministry of Defence invites recommendations twice in a year from the Armed Forces and Union Ministry of Home Affairs for gallantry awards. Recommendations are invited normally in the month of August for the awards to be announced on the occasion of the Republic Day and in the month of March for the awards to be announced on the occasion of the Independence Day. 

In respect of the Armed Forces, a case for the gallantry award is initiated by the Unit and if found fit the same is forwarded to respective Services HQrs duly recommended by Commanders in chain, immediately after the act of gallantry is performed. All such proposals are then considered by the Awards Committee at Services HQrs before recommending the proposals to the Ministry of Defence with the approval of the respective Chiefs.

Recommendations in respect of civilian citizens (other than Defence personnel) are received from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). MHA calls for recommendations (in respect of civilians) from all State/UT Governments, Central Ministries/ Departments, Central Armed Police Forces and Railway Protection Force etc. Recommendations received directly from private individuals, including VIP references are not accepted. Recommendations are scrutinized by a Sub-Committee in the MHA and their recommendation is received in the Ministry of Defence with the approval of Union Home Secretary.

Persons recommended for the award shall not be involved in any adverse report or should not have been conveyed any displeasure or censure or given any punishment in a court martial proceedings or through administrative action.

Recommendation for gallantry awards is normally required to be sent to the Ministry of Defence as early as possible after the act of gallantry is performed. In any case, the time limit for considering gallantry awards should not be beyond two calendar years from the date on which the act of gallantry is performed. 
Recommendations received from the Armed Forces and MHA are considered by the Central Honours & Awards Committee (CH&AC) comprising of Raksha Mantri, three Service Chiefs & Defence Secretary. Home Secretary is also member for the cases recommended by the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

Thereafter, recommendations of the CH&AC are submitted for approval of the Prime Minister and the President. After approval of the President, awards are announced on the occasion of the Republic Day and Independence Day.