In these harsh times, we’ve witnessed many women lead from the front in India’s fight against coronavirus. Among these are a large number of civil service officers who have been facing the situation with bravery and wit. As a part of our series, showcasing female IAS officers, we bring you Beela Rajesh, the Health Secretary of Tamil Nadu who has emerged as the face of the state’s fight against the coronavirus.

Education and career

Beela Rajesh finished her MBBS from Madras Medical College (MMC). Five years into marriage, Beela followed her husband’s footsteps and cleared the UPSC exam in 1997. After a few years in both Bihar and Rajasthan, she was posted to her home state. She has previously held posts such as Sub-Collector of Chengalpattu, Commissioner of Fisheries, and Commissioner for Town and Country Planning, and Commissioner for Indian Medicine and Homeopathy, after which she was appointed as the Principal Secretary of Health for the state.

An influential family

Beela Rajesh finished her MBBS from Madras Medical College (MMC). Five years into marriage, Beela followed her husband’s footsteps and cleared the UPSC exam in 1997.

Beela Rajesh comes from a highly influential family. Her husband Rajesh Das, an IPS officer from the 1982 Odisha batch, is currently serving as an Additional Director General of Police in Tamil Nadu. Her mother, Rani Venkatesan, was a senior Congress leader and a former MLA. Her father, SN Venkatesan, is a retired Director General of Police.

Also Read: 5 UPSC Toppers You Should Look Up To For Inspiration

Battled successive challenges

The officer has been tackling challenges back to back since her posting as the state’s health secretary in February last year. She had to handle mass outrage when there were allegations of infected blood leading to nine maternal deaths in Tamil Nadu. Later, in the month of April, she tackled the case of a deceased Adivasi girl from Dharmapuri whose rape was not recorded by the doctors in their examination. Following this, the state faced a strike by doctors and nurses.

Beela Rajesh comes from a highly influential family. Her husband Rajesh Das, is an IPS officer. Her mother, Rani Venkatesan, was a senior Congress leader and a former MLA. Her father, SN Venkatesan, is a retired Director General of Police.

Fighting the virus with dedication

Beela is ensuring that the departments are working in tandem with each other. She has been carrying out regular field visits to make sure that the preventive and containment measures as directed by the advisories are being followed strictly. Rajesh has been proactively tweeting about the crisis and steps being taken to manage it in the state.

Also Read: Tina Dabi, 2015 UPSC Topper Who leads the fight against Coronavirus

Chennai Port Health Officer, Dr. S Senthilnathan, praised her efforts, saying, “It was after her appeal that people started coming forward to get tested. Instead of ordering, she appealed to them and it is a very sensible approach.”

Saavriti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV.

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