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The Officer Who Never Says No to Calls for Help

The canvas of responsibility and the scope for work of a civil servant is huge and comes with expectations added. So, it’s a wonder that some of them still find time to do some extra work, walk that extra mile, to help people on a personal level, too. This attitude to go beyond the call of duty to offer help is what makes them a ‘people’s officer’. 

One such officer is Ms. Rashmi Saxena, who is from the 1984 batch of Indian Revenue Service. She is currently the Principle Chief Commissioner of Income Tax,(exemption) Delhi. During a conversation with Indian Masterminds, she spoke about her love for helping people, both on and off the field of work. 

ENSURING BETTER WORK CONDITIONS

During her initial days of service, Ms. Saxena was posted in Mumbai. Recalling her experiences in the maximum city, she says, “The condition of our office was really bad. People used to sit on both sides of the window. The space was too limited, and I used to feel claustrophobic. I made a report and send it to my senior. Nothing happened. After two years, I was again there, and in a position to access my report. I made a team and started searching for a better place by using some departmental funds allotted for it.” 

Ms. Saxena is currently Principle Chief Commissioner of Income Tax

Her search stopped in a building in Vaashi, Navi Mumbai. People resisted saying that the place is too far away, but today, due to connectivity ease, that is one of the most sought places for office spaces in Mumbai. 

Not only in Mumbai, Ms. Saxena ensured better amenities and facility for her staff in every posting. She believes people can give 100% only when they work in a congenial environment.

IDENTIFYING VULNERABLE CHILDREN

For a significant period, Ms. Saxena was posted in the Women & Child Affairs Ministry as Joint Secretary. There she worked to better equip the Child Helpline number 1098. She also worked closely with Childline on various stages of her career and created a ‘vulnerability map’ which focused on issues related to children. 

“Take nutrition, for instance. We pointed out on the map the places where the children are vulnerable and facing malnutrition problems,” she explained. This exercise helped her team to identify the problem areas and focus on fixing them. 

PROMOTING HINDI

She also served as a Rajbhasa Adhidhari for a brief period, where she helped to promote Hindi in every part of the country. Talking about it, she says, “My father was in government service and my husband is from navy. It is because of them that I travelled a lot in every part of the country, which gave me an open perspective. Whether I was in Kerala or Maharashtra, I always found a way to communicate with people in Hindi even if it is not proper. Since I belong to UP, I have a special place for this language and believe that it connects people.” 

REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE IN DISTRESS 

Ms. Saxena is also known for helping victims of natural disasters. Whether it was Kerala or Orissa, she never shied away from extending a helping hand. By mobilising her fellow officers and coordinating with people from the distressed areas, she sent out help in the form of ration, food, and clothes for the needy. 

During the Covid lockdown, she started a pan-India movement to provide mental health support to people in distress. And as one of the four members of the C Rangachary Committee on taxation, she encouraged and helped women of remote areas to make and market their exquisite handicrafts, so that they could become financially independent. 

Ms. Saxena’s prompt response to call for help is what marks her out as different, and her natural leaning towards the needy endears her to people wherever she is posted.

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