When Anna Rajam Malhotra (née George) obtained chosen to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1951, her appointment order had a built-in caveat: she must depart the service if she ever married.
Malhotra, who was India’s first girl IAS officer, nonetheless, demonstrated resilience to construct an completed profession. She clinched the submit of sub-collector of Hosur even because the then chief minister of Madras state, C Rajagopalachari, was disinclined in direction of such an experimentation.
Later, she learnt to experience a horse and shoot a revolver, in an obvious demonstration that she was at least her male colleagues.
However Malhotra, hailing from Kerala’s Ernakulam district, needed to get the higher of one thing private. She fell in love along with her IAS batch mate RN Malhotra, figuring out that her profession may be choked by crimson tape in the event that they determined to tie the knot.
“They’d a really late marriage resulting from such a bizarre, sexist rule. However the authorities lastly relented,” says TR Raghunandan, a former IAS officer and creator of Every thing You Ever Wished to Know About Forms.
Raghunandan hails from a household of 4 IAS siblings. His eldest sister, Renuka Vishwanathan, turned the primary girl district Justice of the Peace in Karnataka. “A number of high politicians have denied girls civil servants their due. My sister Renuka additionally struggled loads to get what was resulting from her,” he provides.
Such sexist guidelines have ceased to exist. Moreover, ministers know that denying a promotion to a deserving girl candidate may spawn an argument.
Why then have girls bureaucrats did not clinch coveted posts similar to cupboard secretary, director of premier investigating companies or chairman of the railway board? “My expertise is,” says Meena Agarwal, a former Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) officer, “your gender doesn’t matter a lot in high bureaucratic positions. In some instances, deserving girls officers face a hurdle as a result of the pool of equally deserving male candidates is far bigger.” Agarwal, who was later made the secretary of the seventh Central Pay Fee, provides the state of affairs will change when extra girls attain greater grades.
Meena Agarwal, former IRAS officer and ex-secretary, seventh Central Pay Fee
Someday, an officer’s cadre may play spoilsport, says a senior railway officer on situation of anonymity. Within the railways, for instance, Vijayalakshmi Viswanathan — the primary girl to turn out to be a monetary commissioner on the Railway Board, in 2002 — may have presumably moved up. However when the chairman’s submit fell vacant, her drawback was that she was from the IRAS cadre. The railways unofficially desire engineering and site visitors service officers in high posts, the senior officer provides.
The winds of change for senior girls civil servants started to blow in 2001 when Chokila Iyer was made international secretary, the highest submit for a international service officer. Two different girls diplomats — Nirupama Rao and Sujatha Singh — additionally reached the identical place later. Within the finance ministry, three girls officers turned chairperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes in fast succession between 2004 and 2006. Shobha Majumdar was the primary to occupy the submit.
Forward of the 2009 full price range, Sushma Nath headed the expenditure division of the finance ministry. In 2011, she turned the primary girl finance secretary. Agarwal, who was then a joint secretary within the division, remembers that the extra secretary and three joint secretaries have been girls at the moment. “We used to enter our convention corridor and exclaim ‘no man round!’.”
In 2011, Praveen Mahajan turned the primary girl to move the Central Board of Excise and Customs, later renamed the Central Board of Oblique Taxes and Customs.
Within the Indian Police Service (IPS), Archana Ramasundaram scripted historical past in 2016 when she was made the director normal of Sashastra Seema Bal, changing into the primary girl cop to move a central police drive. Two hottest names amongst celeb girls cops are Kiran Bedi (India’s first girl IPS officer) and Kanchan Choudhary Bhattacharya (the primary girl officer to be appointed as director normal of police and on whose life standard TV serial Udaan was primarily based).
However these inspiring tales can’t conceal the fact that after seven a long time of Independence, the nation hasn’t had a girl cupboard secretary — the highest submit within the forms. No girl officer is within the queue both. In 2009, Sudha Pillai got here shut. She turned essentially the most senior IAS officer after Duvvuri Subbarao was made RBI governor. However the authorities determined to increase the tenure of the incumbent, KM Chandrasekhar, for a 12 months.
Did her gender are available the way in which? Pillai, who was appointed member-secretary of the erstwhile Planning Fee later, refuses to touch upon the problem.
The railways may see a girl head sooner. Many officers see Archana Joshi, an assistant normal supervisor in Northern Railway, as a possible member (site visitors), if not chairperson of the Railway Board. However there are not any such names doing the rounds for cupboard secretary. Although an officer is appointed cupboard secretary for 2 years, the unwritten conference has been to offer a number of extensions. This eliminates the probabilities of different senior IAS officers bagging the submit.
Pillai advices youthful officers to stay focussed. “A girl officer getting elevated as cupboard secretary has to occur finally. My recommendation to younger girls officers could be to not jockey for posts, be truthful in dealings, be immediate in file disposal and preserve your fame for integrity razor-sharp.”