Why Smita Sabharwal, First Woman IAS In CM Office, Is Known As The People’s Officer

Smita Sabharwal
Smita Sabharwal isn’t famous as the ‘people’s officer’ for nothing. Her work as an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer stands out for its massive social value, her contributions to issues ranging from women empowerment to resource access for the marginalised distinct in bureaucracy.

The growth Sabharwal’s administration has heralded in the state of Telangana, where she is the first woman IAS officer ever to serve in the Chief Minister’s office, can be testified to by not just the many accolades she has won, but also the people who hold her up as their ‘messiah.’

She is upright, dignified, communicative and has surged on through the glass ceiling for positive change in her two decades of service – a standing inspiration to many, right from her qualifications to dedication for the upliftment of citizens.

Hailing from West Bengal, Sabharwal notably secured the fourth All India Rank in her Union Public Service Commission exam in 2000. She was only in her early 20s at the time. Such was her subsequent work record that Sabharwal was appointed to the CM’s office in Telangana as Secretary in 2014 with only 13 years of service, two years short of the requirement for the position.

The real happiness is in the outcome… when dreams become a reality — like the wide roads in Warangal for instance, or when a young mother thanks you for the facilities — at the end of the day, that’s all that matters,” she was quoted saying by Deccan Chronicle in 2014.

Smita Sabharwal: Standing Up For Women With Integrity

Sabharwal rose to prominence in the years that agitations in Andhra Pradesh, over the reorganisation of a separate state, were raging. Despite the environment, she continued to lead growth during her stints in Warangal, Karimnagar and Medak at the district level, with major work in the health, education and utility sector.

A true show of Sabharwal’s active pursuit for equality came in 2015 when she famously sued leading news magazine Outlook for describing her as “eye candy at meetings” in a piece. The column sparked a furore for alleged sexist insinuations it made about a connection between Sabharwal’s rise to prominence and her appearances.

“What disturbs me the most is the suggestion that a woman is able to rise in her career because of her beauty. It is very demoralising for the thousands of women stepping out of their homes and making their career,” the 44-year-old told the BBC at the time. “…they insulted women in general across India, across the world and they have to be brought to book for this.”

Under her leadership, parts of Telangana have exhibited noticeable progress, with evils like child marriage charting downward trends and school performances shooting upwards.

Image: Smita Sabharwal / Facebook

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