Who Was The First Woman IAS Officer of India?

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First Woman IAS Officer of India; Anna Ranjan Malhotra

The First Woman IAS Officer of India is Anna Ranjam Malhotra (née George). Even though she was discouraged by the UPSC board as well as by the then CM Chakravarti Rajagopalachari she went on to become the first woman Sub Collector of Tirupattur in Madras State. Anna was the second woman to brave societal norms and pass the UPSC IAS examination in 1951. 

Did you know? Anna was initially offered the Indian Foreign Services by the UPSC board as they were regarded as more suitable for women, but she vouched for herself and refused. 

Who is Anna Rajam Malhotra?

Anna was born on the 17th of July 1927 in Pathanamthitta, Kerela and was the daughter of Anna Paul and Ottavelil O. A. George.  

  • She belonged to a family with literary roots, being the granddaughter of the Malayalam author Pailo Paul. 
  • Moreover, Anna was brought up in Calicut where she attended Providence Women’s College and completed her intermediate studies. 
  • Continuing her academic journey, she pursued her bachelor’s degree at Malabar Christian College in Calicut. 
  • Anna got her master’s degree in English literature from the esteemed University of Madras in 1949.
  • She married Ram Narain Malhotra who was also from the same IAS batch as her. 

Anna, the First Woman IAS Officer also briefly worked with the First Woman Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi

Achievements of the First Woman IAS Officer

Furthermore, the achievements of Anna Ranjam Malhotra are as follows:

  • Her training in magisterial powers, horse riding, revolver and rifle shooting led her to become the first woman sub-collector. 
  • Anna also held several important positions in the Government of India:
    • As an Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture.
    • As the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
    • As the Chairperson of the National Seeds Corporation.
    • Also, as the Secretary to the Government of India, which was a first. 
  • Additionally, Anna also served under 7 Chief Ministers during her career. 
  • Moreover, she also had an important part in the Asiad Project(Asian Games), collaborating closely with Rajiv Gandhi. 
  • Anna during her tenure as Chairperson of the Nhava Sheva Port Trust, was behind the construction of India’s First Computerized Port Nhavasheva, situated in Mumbai.
  • In the year 1989, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan. 

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