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Shattering The Glass Ceilings, These Officers Are Leading Their Pack 

Indian Masterminds Stories

In 1951 Ms. Anna Rajam Malhotra was selected as the first female IAS officer. And in 1972 Ms. Kiran Bedi was appointed as the first female IPS. For many years, the number of female officers remained in the single digits in what was called the man’s world of bureaucracy. Since then lot of water seems to have flown down the Ganges. Things have changed drastically. Now women participating in the bureaucracy have not only gone up significantly but they are also holding top positions in not only administrative and revenue services but in uniformed services as well.  

According to a report by the Trivedi Centre for Political Data, between 1951 and 2020, 11,569 IAS officers entered this prestigious service, of which only 13% were women. Things are changing now. In 2020, a total of 31 percent of women made it to the civil service, and 10 women were among the top 20 rank holders. In a similar trend, around 34% of women qualified for UPSC CSE 2022 and bagged the top four positions. This change and increase in women’s participation in bureaucracy is now visible in the topmost positions, as well. Now, the senior female officers are not only leading the police & administration of states, they are also leading paramilitary forces. 

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Indian Masterminds presents to you some of the most commendable female officers in the service who have shattered glass ceilings and are leading their pack. 

RADHA RATURI 

An Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer of the 1988 batch, Ms. Raturi, has been appointed as the first woman chief secretary of Uttarakhand. She is the first woman to hold the top administrative post in the state, replacing Sukhbir Singh Sandhu. Recently, the officer was granted a six-month extension as the Chief Secretary of the state, where she dealt with the unrest that took place in Haldwani and other places.

Radha Raturi

Ms. Raturi comes with a treasure trove of experience in the administrative field. She is among the few who could crack this highly tough exam in all their attempts. Before joining IAS, she had been selected for IPS and the Indian Information Service. She had joined as an IAS officer in Uttar Pradesh and then came to Uttarakhand after the division. She has served in various crucial positions, including that of Chief Electoral Officer of Uttarakhand, for 10 years. Known for her honesty and efficiency, Ms. Raturi also sings folk songs. 

VEERA RANA

IAS officer of the 1988 batch, is currently serving as the Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh. She is the second woman, after Nirmala Buch, to be appointed to the top post. 

Born in Uttar Pradesh, Ms. Rana has done her MBA and is considered among the disciplined administrative officers of Madhya Pradesh. She has served as the DC of Vidisha, Jabalpur, and Mahasamund (undivided) districts of Madhya Pradesh. She has also held the responsibilities of important departments like the Chairperson of the Madhya Pradesh Board of Madhyamik Shiksha Mandal, the Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh, the Additional Chief Secretary of the Sports and Youth Welfare Department, the Director General of Administration Academy, Cottage and Village Industries Department, and General Administration Department Personnel.

Renu Sharma 

IAS officer Renu Sharma is serving as the Chief Secretary of Mizoram. Ms. Sharma, who is an IAS officer of the 1988 batch AGMUT cadre, was appointed to the post in 2021. 

This officer has previously served as the Additional Chief Secretary (Transport) to the Government of NCT of Delhi. She has also served in various other top positions in Mizoram. Between June 2011 and August 2012, she served as the Commissioner and Secretary in the finance and general administration departments. In 2016, she was posted as principal secretary in the state home and personnel & administrative reforms department.

Shanti Kumari 

An Indian Administrative Services Officer with over 3 decades of extensive experience, Ms. Shanti Kumari is currently appointed as the Chief Secretary of Telangana. A 1989 batch IAS officer, Ms. Kumari, is the first woman to take up the top post in the state. She is a Marine Biology graduate and has pursued an MBA in the US. She also worked in United Nations programs for two years and has work experience in the Skill Development, Education, Health, and Forestry departments. 

She has also worked in the Chief Minister’s Office for four years as Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and can be credited with heading the “Industry Chasing Cell” in the CMO, which is responsible for the implementation of the Single Window Industrial Clearances system. 

Rashmi Shukla

Currently serving as the DGP of Maharashtra, Ms. Rashmi Shukla is an IPS officer of the 1988 batch Maharashtra cadre. Prior to this, she was serving as the Director General of Sashastra Seema Bal and had also served as the Additional Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

Ms. Shukla has held several key posts in Maharashtra, including serving as the Pune police commissioner and director of the state intelligence wing.

Nina Singh 

1989 batch IPS officer of the Rajasthan cadre, Ms. Nina Singh, is currently serving as the Special DG of CISF. She is the first woman Chief of the Central Industrial Security Force, which provides security cover to the Delhi Metro and airports across the country. 

Nina Singh

The first female IPS officer in Rajasthan, Ms. Singh, has earlier served as ADG (Training) and DG, Civil Rights & Anti-Human Trafficking, in the state. She has also been a part of the Rajasthan State Commission for Women and served as the Principal Secretary (Health) in Rajasthan. Furthermore, she has also served as the Joint Director of CBI, Delhi.

Originally hailing from Bihar, this officer has been actively involved in police reforms. She has co-authored two research papers with Nobel Prize winners in Economics, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. For her contribution to policing, she was awarded the Ati Utkrisht Seva Medal (AUSM) by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Sonali Mishra 

IPS officer of the 1993 batch Madhya Pradesh Cadre, Ms. Sonali Mishra is currently serving as Additional Director General at Headquarters, Special Director General, Eastern Command, BSF. She is the first woman officer to command the Eastern Front since the inception of BSF in 1965.

Earlier, Ms. Mishra served as Inspector General, BSF Punjab Frontier. The officer has also worked as an SP and DIG in the CBI’s Delhi and Mumbai offices.

Along with that, she has led the Indian CIVPOL (Civilian Police) contingent to the UN in Kosovo and has been awarded the prestigious President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service in 2020 for her commendable service to the nation. Ms. Mishra can also be credited with commanding the militancy-infested Kashmir Frontier in the BSF. 

Charu Sinha 

Ms. Charu Sinha, a Telangana cadre IPS officer, holds the distinction of being the first IPS officer in the country amongst several officers who headed four sectors of the CRPF – Bihar, Jammu, Srinagar, and now the Southern sector. Belonging to the 1996 batch of IPS, she has added many firsts to her name.

Charu Sinha

Inspired by her cousin, who is an IPS officer herself, she cleared the UPSC exam to get into the Indian Police Service (IPS). She was the first woman to be posted as the ASP of Pulivendula (Kadapa district) and Eluru (West Godavari).

She held various positions in Telangana and served as the 1st lady Superintendent of Police in Prakasam, Nizamabad, Mahbubnagar, Chittoor, and East Godavari districts. She has been the SP of the Intelligence Security Wing.

In September 2020, Sinha was designated as the first female CRPF IG for the Srinagar region. She oversaw the team in over 69 anti-insurgency actions during her tenure of two years. She headed 22 battalions of over 22,000 CRPF members in Jammu & Kashmir and took part in anti-Maoist operations in Bihar. 


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