Recently, India got its first visually challenged IAS officer. What amazes people is that it’s not a ‘he’, it’s a ‘She’. We are talking about Pranjal Patil, who took the charge as Sub-Collector of Thiruvananthapuram. 

She was welcomed with a warm reception on Monday as she took over from former collector B Gopalakrishnan after serving as an assistant collector in Ernakulam for a year in 2018 before taking charge in Thiruvananthapuram. In a conversation with Media, she said:

“I am extremely glad and proud for taking this charge. As soon as I start working, I will be able to know more about the district and would plan better for it. I expect support and co-operation from my fellow officials and people of Trivandrum.”

Giving a message to the youth she said: “We should never be defeated and never give up. With our efforts, we will always be able to achieve what we desire.”

On this occasion, to celebrate the Women Power of India, we are here to tell you about 4 such women IAS officers, who are the first of their kind.

1. Pranjal Patil, First Visually Challenged IAS Officer of India

She is the first visually challenged person in India to have a made it to an IAS officer’s seat. She comes hails from Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra. Unfortunately, Patil lost her eye-sight at the age of six but that did not stop her from attaining one of the highest official positions in India. She completed her graduation in political science with a master’s in International relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She was ranked 733 in civil services examination in her first attempt in 2016. Ironically, she was refused a job in the Indian Railway Accounts Service for being visually challenged.

In the very next year, she bagged 124th rank and got posted as Assistant Collector in Ernakulam, Kerala, in 2018. Currently, she is posted as Sub-Collector in Thiruvananthapuram.

2. Swati Meena Naik, Youngest Woman IAS Officer

Swati Meena Naik is a pass-out of 2008 IAS batch who cleared her UPSC exams in 2007 to become the youngest women IAS officer of the country. She was born on 9th December 1984 and raised in Sikar, Rajasthan. She completed her schooling and college education from Rajasthan and then went to Delhi to prepare for UPSC examinations. She was posted as the collector of Khandwa District of Madhya Pradesh.

3. Anna Rajam Malhotra, First Woman IAS Officer

The first-ever woman IAS officer of the country Anna Rajam Malhotra comes from 1951 IAS officer’s batch. Rajam is born in 1927 in Niranam, Alleppey and grew up in Calicut. She has completed her intermediate from Providence Women’s College and bachelor’s degree from Malabar Christian College, Calicut only.

She obtained her master’s degree in English literature from the University of Madras in 1949. She cleared her civil services examination in 1950 to become the first woman to do so in the country. She got her first post as an IAS officer in Madras State. Primarily she was not allotted a post on the grounds of her being a woman.

She has completed her training in horse riding, rifle and revolver shooting and in using magisterial powers. After a lot of struggle, she eventually got posted as the Sub Collector of Tirupattur in Madras State, becoming the first woman to do so. She had experience of working under seven chief ministers and worked closely with Rajiv Gandhi & Indira Gandhi.

4. IRA Singhal, First Physically Challenged IAS Officer & Topper of the Year

Ira Singhal is a 2015 batch IAS officer. She was in headlines in the year for scoring the highest marks in the UPSC’s Civil Services Examination, 2014. She topped the exam in her fourth attempt, to become the first differently-abled woman to top the civil services exam in the general category. 

She completed her B.E. graduation from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, University of Delhi. She was the topper at Sophia Girls School, Meerut and Loreto Convent School, Delhi. She has completed her schooling from the Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan and a double MBA in Marketing & Finance from Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi. She scored 1,082 marks out of a total 2,025 and secured 53.43% in UPSC Exam 2014-2015.

Even after clearing the exams, Singhal was not allowed to take the position in office for she has She scoliosis(a physical disability). However, this did not stop her from gaining her dreams. She filed a case in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and won after four years of hearing. As a result, she was given a posting as Assistant Commissioner in Indian Revenue Service.