India’s best: These 8 IAS officers are a credit to the service

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Caught between their commitment to serve and the whims of political bosses, IAS officers in India walk a difficult path.  And yet they carry on. Here are some who keep the flag flying and provide inspiration to others:

1. Armstrong Pame

The people of Tousem, one of India’s most backward regions, and a subdivision in Manipur, call him ‘Miracle Man’. For that’s what he wrought, when he gave them what they had never had – a motorable road linking to the outside world.  Pame, the 29-year-old IAS officer from the 2009 batch, is Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Tousem, a post he assumed in 2012. So moved was he by the plight of the people he went about building the road, beginning by putting in some money of his own. It soon became a crowd-sourced project and the road is now known as ‘The People’s Road’.

A Tousem resident spoke for all its people, when he said, ‘Armstrong Pame is the answer to our prayers.’

2. Anshul Mishra

When social media tags the day a district collector is transferred ‘Black Friday’ you get a sense of the impact he’s had. Madurai had come to count on Anshul Mishra, the 2004 batch officer who took over as collector in 2012. He promised fairness and transparency in administration and set up a Facebook page to interact with the public. It was estimated that in his tenure, which ended in 2013, he had redressed nearly 80 % of the issues raised.

Mishra also carried forward the crackdown on illegal granite quarrying initiated by his predecessor, U Sagayam, and a full-scale investigation is now under way. Mishra is now Joint Commissioner, Commercial Taxes Department, Chennai.

3. Aruna Sundararajan

This Kerala cadre IAS officer was described by Forbes magazine as ‘an IAS officer who thinks like a businesswoman’.  As IT secretary she played a key role in the growth of e-governance in Kerala. She also headed the Kudumbashree project, now held up as a shining example of women’s empowerment, creating sustainable employment opportunities for working class women.

Aruna Sundararajan is now head of the Universal Service Obligation Fund entrusted with increasing the telecom penetration in all parts of the country.

4. Dr Samit Sharma

Aamir Khan’s Satyameva Jayate may have made the whole country sit up and take notice of Dr Samit Sharma. But this IAS officer had begun his pioneering work in a generic medicine project long before that.

The Managing Director of the Rajasthan Medical Services Corporation was a practising paediatrician in the state before he decided to join the IAS.  His life’s work has been to provide affordable healthcare, particularly generic drugs, to every Indian.

5. Pratyaya Amrit

He built bridges. And roads. And was one of the main architects of Bihar’s turnaround story. Pratyaya Amrit, now the state’s Energy Secretary as also Chairman and Managing Director of the Bihar State Power Holding Co. Ltd, is known for his ‘get it done and now’ attitude and his attention to detail – whether ensuring that all complaints are immediately redressed or maintaining safety and hygiene in power stations.

6. Smitha Sabharwal

Her pretty, fragile looks give no indication of the woman of steel that she is. A 2001 cadre IAS officer, Smitha Sabharwal topped the UPSC exams and ranked 4th in the country.

As Municipal Commissioner of Warangal she launched an ambitious ‘Fund Your City’ scheme to provide the town with parks, traffic junctions and pedestrian ways, all managed through public-private partnerships.

As collector of Karimnagar she brought about remarkable improvements, and it was named ‘Best District’ under the PM’s 20-Point Programme for 2012-2013. As Medak district collector she ensured fair polling in last year’s general elections.

7. Poonam Malakondaiah

This 1988 batch officer is widely acknowledged as an honest, no-nonsense officer. She may keep a low profile, but politicians and other powerful lobbyists have found that she is not one to bend to their whims.  She has worked in education, social welfare, transport and civil supplies, leaving her imprint of efficiency and doing the best for the people in every department. Most remarkably, she took on Monsanto, making it put farmer welfare first.

8. Krishna Gopal Tiwari

This IAS officer sets an example and provides inspiration to thousands of the country’s differently-abled. The District Collector of Umaria in Madhya Pradesh is India’s first visually challenged collector. He has previously served as SDM in Bairasia and as the CEO Zilla Panchayat in Hoshangabad. He doesn’t believe being differently abled is a hurdle and even goes to construction sites where he tests work in progress with the use of an iron rod.

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