Vini Mahajan has been appointed the new chief secretary of Punjab. She is the first woman to become chief secretary of the state. Mahajan, who is from the 1987 IAS batch, replaces Karan Avtar Singh, who is going to retire in August later this year.

This is the first time that both Punjab and neighbouring Haryana’s chief secretaries are women. Keshni Anand Arora is Haryana’s current chief secretary.

Mahajan was the erstwhile additional chief secretary, investment promotion, industries and commerce, IT and governance reforms and public grievances. As chairperson, Health Sector Response and Procurement Committee, she has played a monumental role in the state government’s battle against COVID-19.

What You Should Know

  • Vini Mahajan has been appointed the new chief secretary of Punjab. She is the first woman to become chief secretary of the state.
  • She replaces Karan Avtar Singh of 1984 who would retire in August later this year.
  • This is the first time that both Punjab and neighbouring Haryana’s chief secretaries are women.

A Distinguished Civil Servant

Mahajan studied economics from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. She also has an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, where she consequently earned a place on the roll of honour. Furthermore, she also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

She has occupied eminent positions in Punjab, and served in the Prime Minister’s Office during the term of Dr Manmohan Singh from 2005 to 2012.

Mahajan played a pivotal role in the state’s ability to attract over Rs 20,000 crore as investment annually during her tenure in Investment Promotion and Industries and Commerce portfolios. Under her leadership, Punjab participated for the first time in the World Economic Forum at Davos in 2019. It also organised a highly successful Investor Summit, with a focus on MSMEs, in December 2019.

Projects like mega ‘Industrial Parks’ were also taken up under her leadership. As the additional Chief Secretary Revenue, Punjab became the first state in the country to roll out the National Generic Document Registration System.

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Mahajan’s husband, Dinkar Gupta, a 1987-batch IPS officer, is Punjab’s director-general of police. He was appointed to the post in February 2019.

Vini Mahajan has superseded an array of senior officers to get the chief secretary’s post. “She can continue till the government’s remaining term. Also, there is nothing wrong in having a husband and wife working together as state’s police chief and Chief Secretary. I had nobody other than Mahajan who could carry on till 2022,” Punjab Chief Minister,  Capt. Amarinder Singh, told The Tribune, responding to the criticism of her appointment.

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Picture Credits: The Indian Express

Ria Chakraborty is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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