MANINDER DABAS //
While most accuse them of being mere pencil pushers, who seldom understand people’s concern, it remains an undisputed truth that beyond the veil of political show-offs, it’s the bureaucracy that runs the country.Despite seen as the key source of hindrance known as ‘Administrative Bottlenecks’, it’s these bureaucrats who plan and carry out schemes on the ground for the mass welfare while politicians just take credits for these schemes.
Therefore, these officers are real unsung heroes and among them are Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers who take maximum burden when it comes to run a district because they are the go-to persons in all circumstances.Here are the stories of 10 IAS officers whose initiatives and efforts brought changes in the lives of the masses in 2017:
1. Rohini R. Bhajibhakare
Rohini R. Bhajibhakare stands for everything that defines the tale of success against odds. A daughter of marginal farmer, this lady IAS officer is the collector of Salem district and she is a celebrity among the local people. She is the first woman collector of Tamil Nadu since 1790, which says a lot about her breaking many conventions.
She is known for swift action, Rohini gives surprise visits to hospitals and keeps in touch with officials through WhatsApp. She also gives pep talks to school student and also goes deep in the hinterland to monitor the working of the schemes and she listens in people’s grievances. Moreover, she has banned the use of plastic and polythene articles on the Collectorate campus, a prelude to her target of achieving plastic-free status for Salem.
2. Parikipandla Narahari
This officer of 2001 batch Madhya Pradesh cadre is known for his work for people with disabilities. Parikipandla Narahari, was recently awarded at the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards – 2017 in recognition of his outstanding work for persons with disabilities.
This award is just one achievement as Parik as he took a slew of initiatives in his tenure as district collectors of various areas of the state. For example, Parikipandla introduced e-health ideas (such as Active Tracker devices) to eradicate female infanticide. His efforts made it difficult for ultrasound centres to carry out illegal sex detection tests. He also made Gwalior, a disable friendly city by making ramps and railings at various places to help people with disabilities. His brainchild the Ladli Laxmi Yojana that aims to improve their educational and economic status has become inspiration for many other schemes Andhra’s Bangaru Thall and Central government’s ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme.
3. Mir Mohamed Ali
Another gem from Kerala, Mir Mohammed Ali joined Kerala cadre in 2011. He is the district collector of Kannur. His achievement speaks off his credentials as under him Kannur became India’s first plastic free district and that too in just months. Mir initiated a focused campaign towards phasing out plastic carry-bags and disposables last November.
Parallel efforts were made at young officer’s desecration by handloom department to promote the use of handloom bags to fill in the gap. He roped in various weavers cooperative society in produce the handloom bags. Mir also directed heads of local bodies to take action against people and business establishments which continue to use of plastic bags.
4. Ronald Rose
Ronald Rose, the collector of Mahbubnagar district of Telegana has done a lot for the area. His efforts have paved way fro making area open defecation free. He has also worked for farmers and helped them adopting organic methods. The district has also been in the news for successfully digging soak pits in all the houses as well as for its very successful Haritha Haaram (afforestation) programme.
The 2006 batch officer has ensured the effective implementation of the scheme in the district. One of the many programmes he started was Divyang Solar Society, an initiative that employs differently-abled persons in the production of affordable, effective, energy-efficient and non-polluting products for rural India.
Bharathi Hollikeri, the district collector of Telangana’s Medak, efforts did bring massive change in the life of the lactating women. Her scheme made sure that pregnant women who visit the PHCs get good hygienic food.
And the best part is that it didn’t cost any extra money to the state as she connected the Anganwadis with PHCs from where the food reached the whole network. The best part is that this is happening without the addition of a substantial financial burden on government exchequers as the food is brought from local Anganwadi centres.
Bharathi realised the problem that when women visit PHCs for treatment, they miss their food and therefore she came up with this idea. She also collaborated with IIT Hyderabad to conduct an extensive socio-economic survey of villages that would help identify grassroots issues.
She is also responsible for many other positive transformations. Her surprise sanitation checks and fields visits have helped Medak achieve the Open Defecation Free status.
6. PS Pradyumna
From initiating construction of one lakh individual toilets under Palle Nidra programme to water conservation in drought prone under Handri Neeva project, this Andhra cadre officer is a man on the mission.
Pradyumna started ‘Palle Vanam’ in Chittoor district – a rural afforestation programme that will create natural green spots with benches and walking tracks for villagers. Pradyumna also started another programme to enhance the security of the women. He started Nirbhaya Patrolling in which women cops on electric bicycles keep an eye on eve-teasers around colleges, bus stop and other areas prone to crime against girls.
To help farmers, he started centres from where farmers could hire farming equipment at decent rents. He also started Yashoda campaign to teach basic English and computer to Anganwadis workers alongside best practices in community mobilisation, health and nutrition.
7. Saurabh Kumar
This IAS officer of 2009 of Chhattisgarh cadre, Saurabh Kumar has given new life to Naxal hit Dantewada. He understood how lack of knowledge and jobs force innocent youth to join naxals the pro-active collector introduced counselling sessions to help students make the right career choice.
The initiative is called ‘Lunch with the collector’ these session involve Saurabh and other officials directly interacting with students – listening to their problems and giving them possible help. Saurabh also received PM’s award in the category of excellence in innovation for converting Naxal-hit Palnar village of Chhattisgarh into a cashless village post demonetisation.
8. Collector Prasanth Nair
An IAS officer of Kerala cadre who joined service in 2007 has recently been appointed the secretary to the minister of state for Tourism, but Prasanth’s shot to fame was the popular initiatives he took while remaining the collector of Kozhikode.
As a collector, Prasanth started three major operations in the India which were hailed by people as they did bring massive change on the ground. Operation Sulaimani, a decentralised participatory project to address hunger in urban areas; Tere Mere Beach Mein– a project to tackle the waste and enhance the waste management at Kozhikode beach and Yo Appooppa- a project to improve the quality of life of the aged people.
People have participated in the project initiated by him and his efforts did bring changes on the ground which resulted in his popularity touching new heights and he was known as ‘Collector Bro’.
He once offered a free plate of Malabar biryani to every individual who pitches in to clean a 14-acre pond in Koyilandy. Unsurprisingly, the idea was a resounding success!
9. Poma Tudu
District collector of Naupada in Odisha is famous in the tribal belt because she listens to them. Yes, Poma Tudu, the collector of naxal-infested tribal area treks through the rugged terrain for more than two hours just to hear their grievances. The collector once came to know that people living in tribal belts have to travel over 90 km to reach the district headquarter and avail government services, Poma decided to reach to them and she herself starting travelling to far-flung areas herself to listen to their grievances.
Pomu is graduate of Delhi’s Lady Hardinge Medical College and was inducted in the 2012 batch of Odisha-cadre IAS officer. She now plans to improve connectivity and medical services in the area.
Pomu was motivated and inspired from the early age as her mother is the first female in her tribal family to go to school and join bank services later.
10. Surendra Kumar Solanki
His picture with PM Modi speaks in itself that he is good at his work. On Civil Services Day 2017, Surender Kumar Solanki, the district collector of Dungarpur in Rajasthan was conferred with PM’s award in the category of best innovation.
Solanki initiated a unique solar lamp project that turned the poor and semi-educated women of the tribal areas into green entrepreneurs.o do this, Solanki roped in three bodies- district administration, IIT Bombay and Rajeevika (Rajasthan Grameen Ajeevika Vikas Parishad) to form women self-help groups (SHGs). The members then trained and mentored women who could locally assemble, repair and sell solar lamps. These lamps were also distributed to children and other people in need at affordable prices.Last year, Solanki took burden of bearing the educational and personal expenses of 9-year-old Chhaya Pargi whom he met at the Muskan Shelter home in Udaipur.