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How A Telugu Ammayi Became Total Bihari 

India is country of diverse culture and traditions.  Dialect, the culture and food changes every 100 kms. How would a person born and brought up down South feel when she has to spend her entire working life up in the North. Nobody exemplifies the issues better than the 1995-batch IAS officer Dr. N Vijaya Lakshmi. She hails from Andhra Pradesh and is now serving the Bihar cadre. 

She found it difficult to adjust initially but now she claims herself to be a ‘Total Bihari’. During an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, Dr. Lakshmi spoke about her experiences and the adulation she received in Bihar.

Dr. Lakshmi recently received an award from the president for the E-NAM initiative

ADAPTING THE CULTURE 

Dr. Lakshmi is passionate about classical music, Bharatnatyam and literature. But she always wanted to know and explore different cultures. That’s why she did her second Post-graduation in Anthropology. She strongly believes in the famous dictum of Anthropology – ‘stepping into to the shoes of natives’ (to understand them better). 

Dr. Lakshmi while preparing Chhath Puja Prasad

It was really exciting for her to come to Bihar but adjusting in the new environment wasn’t easy. Dr. Lakshmi says, ” That is the beauty of our services. We are sent to places which is unknown to us and we get the opportunity to know, explore and understand the people & environment there.” 

Language was an issue initially but she adapted quite easily. Not only she understands local languages and dialects, she has been following local customs and traditions like Chhath Puja for a long time. 

NAWADA VIJAYALAKSHMI 

In the career spanning 27 years, Dr. Lakshmi held many key positions in the state. However, her most memorable experience was as DM, Nawada. She served there between 2001-2003 and every day was eventful for her as she initiated many reforms specially for the abolition of child labour, child marriage and implementation of child rights. 

She is a passionate Bharatnatyam dancer

Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi also appreciated her work upon his visit to the district in 2002. She got immense love from the people and they still remember her as N (Nawada) Vijay Lakshmi. 

Besides this during her tenure as Secretary, Agriculture (2011-13), Bihar, state created records in paddy and wheat production. Bihar also got Krishi Karman Awards for two years successively. Under, her leadership Bihar created a world record in potato production. She also served in the Animal Husbandry department for four years and initiated many reforms. 

E-NAM 

Recently, the Digital India Jury selected an initiative taken by the Department of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare, Bihar titled E-NAM (Electronic-Nnational Agri Market) for an award from the President of India. While talking to Indian Masterminds Dr. Lakshmi who is serving as the Joint Secretary for the department said that E-NAM is basically a trading platform specially developed for the farmers. 

Currently, over 1.7 crores farmers and 2.3 lakh traders are registered on the platform. Using E-NAM farmers can directly auction their produce online and get better prices. “Unlike other states, APMC act has been abolished from Bihar since 2005. While the mandis are still there but they are not governed by the act. Hence, mostly they don’t get a good price”, she said. 

By using E-NAM farmers not only do they get a fair price but other services like fintech, logistics as well. They get quality checking services too. Till now 69 million metric tons agri-products have been traded worth of 2.5 lakh crore on this platform. It has already become the world’s largest agri-commodity spot market. 

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