Whenever women have held the position of power, they’ve excelled at it. And even though we have few women in administrative services, they’re indisputably leading by example, inspiring future generations.

Here’s looking at a few women officers who’re inspiring us with their dedication and commitment.

1. Anna Rajam Malhotra

Back in 1951, when Anna Rajam Malhotra appeared for an interview after clearing the civil services examination, the panellists discouraged her from joining the Indian Administrative Services and suggested that she join either Foreign Services or Central Services as they were more suitable for a woman. Not one to back off, Malhotra stood her ground and became India’s 1st IAS officer.   

In fact, the first Chief Minister she she worked with, C. Rajgopalachari, didn’t have much faith in her as he believed that a woman wouldn’t be able to handle the law and order situation. She fought the patriarchal outlook which questioned a woman’s ability to manage law. She worked closely with Rajiv Gandhi and played an important role in building India’s first computerised port, Nhavasheva, in Mumbai.


2. Aruna Sundararajan

An IAS officer of the 1982 batch, she played an instrumental role in setting up the IT department in Kerala in 1998. She also played a pivotal role in initiating Akshaya, the largest e-literacy project under which over 1 million people were trained in basic digital skills.


3. B Chandrakala

The 2008 batch IAS officer of UP cadre made headlines when she chided civic officials and contractors for low-quality road construction and swindling taxpayers. The no-nonsense officer is now the director of Swacch Bharat Mission and a deputy secretary in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. 


4. Smita Sabharwal

The fiery IAS officer from the 2001 batch cleared the exam at a young age of 22 securing the 4th rank in the country. She’s the youngest officer in India to be appointed to the Chief Minister’s Office and is popularly called ‘The People’s Officer’.

When Sabharwal was serving as the Municipal Commissioner of Warangal, she launched a ‘Fund Your City’ scheme and encouraged residents to take part in building infrastructure in Maoist- affected areas. She also changed the healthcare and education scenario of Karimnagar in Telangana when she was the District Collector there. 


5. Sanjukta Parashar

Sanjukta Parashar is an IPS officer of the 2006 batch in Assam. Within 15 months of her tenure, the tough cop took down 16 militants, arrested about 64 criminals and seized tons of illegal arms and ammunition.  


6. Mugdha Sinha

An IAS officer of the 1999 batch, she gained public attention when she took on the rampant illegal mining in Ajmer district. It ended in the officer being transferred to Sri Ganganagar. She had all the public support behind her with farmers, students and traders. 


7. Bandana Preyashi

The 2003 batch IAS officer is one of the most respected officers of the Bihar cadre. The bold officer showed her mettle when she took on the controversial Janata Dal-United legislator Anant Singh in Mokama by sealing all his food grain godowns after the state government’s order to shift all the godowns in the state to the market committees.

She’s also well-known for successfully conducting the Lok Sabha Elections in Siwan in 2009.


8. Ritu Maheshwari

In 2011, when she was in charge of Kanpur Electricity Supply Co., Maheshwari installed new electricity meters across almost one-third of their customer base which exposed real-time leaks in the distribution system. This significantly brought down the city’s distribution losses. Following this, she was transferred. The bold and honest officer has been fighting against the power and misogyny in bureaucracy ever since.


9. Vijaya Jadhav

Ever since she took charge of Giridih as the Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) in October 2017, the officer has continuously been working towards curbing the menace of inter-state sand mafias, illegal firecracker sellers, adulterated food manufacturers, noise polluters, and anti-encroachment drives to make the city cleaner and increase the revenue of the municipal corporation.


10. TV Anupama

TV Anupama was already a popular name when she secured the 4th rank in the UPSC examinations in 2010. But it was in 2017 when she took on the powerful minister in Pinarayi Vijayan’s cabinet as the District Collector of Alappuzha that she came to be known as a hard taskmaster. 


More power to you, officers!