The award is to be given to a Astronomer / Astrophysicist of international recognition. Scientists from all nations are eligible for consideration. The award consists of a bronze Medal, an honorarium of Rs. 25,000/- and a citation. In the case of the award being given to a foreign Scientist, the international airfare would be met and he/she would be provided with cash equivalent of the honorarium in US dollars. The award was established in 1985 from an endowment by the mother of late Dr. Manali Vainu Bappu, an eminent Astronomer and a Fellow of the Academy.