In the Union Territory (UT) of Puducherry, one could say that woman power is considerably getting stronger, thanks to their increasing presence in both administrative and police departments.
Right from former IPS officer Dr Kiran Bedi, who has been efficiently holding the position of the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry for the past two years, the fact that women are currently holding all major posts is indeed a great motivator for more women to consider stepping into the Indian Civil Services.
With the appointment of IPS officer S Sundari Nanda, as the DGP of Puducherry last week, we now have a huge contingent of women in the top echelons of governance and services, who are proving that they are as adept as their male counterparts in ‘manning’ an entire administration.
Nanda is a 1988 batch officer who has become the first ever woman DGP of the erstwhile French colony.
While the posts of the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) and the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Puducherry have been assumed by IPS officers Apoorva Gupta and Dr Rachana Singh, respectively, Jahanzeb Akhtar and Akshita Sharma have taken over as the Income Tax Principal Commissioner and the Assistant Commandant of the Coast Guard.
For those unaware, Sharma was the first commissioned woman officer from Jammu and Kashmir to serve in the Indian Coast Guard. Additionally, the social welfare department of Puducherry is lead by secretary Alice Vaz.
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Some of these women have incredibly illustrious credentials pinned to their service. Jahanzeb Akhtar, who took over as Income Tax Principal Commissioner last year, is an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer from the 1989 batch who turned heads with a record-making revenue collection of ₹547 crore for the fiscal year 2017-18.
Akhtar has also exposed several cases of tax evasion and tax fraud and has managed to ensnare many elusive defaulters who had been hoodwinking the state for years.
Gupta, on the other hand, had initially joined Puducherry Police as an SP in June last year and quickly rose to the post of SSP (headquarters) in a month’s span and in April, she took over as SSP (law and order).
Women-centric initiatives like combining education and self-defence introduced by Gupta in Puducherry has garnered the stalwart officer a lot of appreciation from many people, including Bedi.
Lastly, four women MLAs are among the 30-member Legislative Assembly of Puducherry.
These women in top power positions in both administrative services and politics give us hope that times are indeed changing and with them, the wheel of power has now turned a full circle.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)