7 Indian civil service officers who deserve our respect!

As an Indian, it is disheartening to know that our bureaucracy (the Civil Services of India) was ranked the worst in Asia in 2012 by the Hong Kong based Political & Economic Risk Consultancy. Riddled with problems such as political interference and incompetent pay – the civil servants of India are often accused of being corrupt, inefficient and indifferent.

But should all “Indian babus” be cast in the same mould? We were sure that the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS) still produce sincere & sensitive officers who live up to their name, servicing the needs of the people of India – as civil “servants”.

[Want to join the prestigious Civil Services of India? Apply before 19 June, 2015 to write the UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam]

We were surprised to find that the list was quite long! We’ve short listed seven honest, courageous and upright officers whose integrity towards serving the nation may change your impression about the IAS/ IFS/ IPS officers of India:

1. Sanjukta Parashar - striking terror amidst Bodo militants

Despite securing the 85th rank in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil services examinations, Sanjukta Parashar chose IPS over IAS, thus becoming the first and only Assamese woman IPS officer to get a posting in Assam. As Superintendent of Police in Assam’s Johar district, Sanjukta has been leading the anti-Bodo militant operations in Sonitpur district of Assam, gunning down 16 militants and arresting another 64 in the last one and a half years. Wielding a Kalashnikov, she has been leading a team of CRPF jawans as they recover arms & ammunitions and tackle the insurgency in the north east. An IPS officer of the 2006 batch, Sanjukta is mother to a 2 year old son and manages to meet her husband (IAS officer Puru Gupta) only once every two months.

She graduated in Political Science from the Indraprastha College for Women, Delhi University and then pursued her her Masters, M.Phil and Ph.D. in International Relations from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

Image courtesy: Sanjukta's Facebook page

2. Armstrong Pame - "Miracle Man" who built Manipur's "People's Road"

30 year old Armstrong Pame is the 5th IAS officer from the Zeliangrong community (consisting of Zeme, Liangmai and Rongmei Naga tribes.) In 2012, after becoming the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Tousem, which lies in his home district, Tamenglong, Manipur, Armstrong was moved by the plight of his people who had to walk for hours, carrying sacks of rice, firewood etc. due to the lack of a non-motorable road. In July 2012, an outbreak of typhoid and malaria in the area saw hundreds of afflicted villages dying as they could not make it to the nearest hospital in town on time – very few who were carried on makeshift bamboo stretchers, on foot, survived. With the government refusing funds citing lack of resources, Armstrong decided to build a 100-km road on his own that would link Manipur with Nagaland and Assam.

“My wife and I donated a month’s salary, Armstrong put in Rs.5 lakh, and our mother paid our dad’s one month’s pension of Rs.5,000. Our youngest brother, Lungtuabui, recently started working. He donated his entire first month’s pay for the project,” Jeremiah Pame, an assistant professor at the Delhi University and elder brother of Armstrong told the Times of India in an interview.

Jeremiah then turned to Facebook to raise funds which led to help pouring in from across the world. The 100 km “People’s road” was successfully built, with the villages working as labourers, by early 2013, earning Armstrong Pame the sobriquet, “Miracle Man.”

Armstrong is a 2009 batch IAS officer and a graduate from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University.

Armstrong Pame with a 50 year old blind man who was on his way to a Mao village in Senapati district (Manipur). "I can't imagine how he collects firewood, identifying the dried ones and then carrying them back home on his shoulders", wonders Armstrong. Image courtesy: Armstrong's Facebook page

3. Durga Shakti Nagpal - sand-mining & real estate mafia, beware!

She has been attributed with qualities of Hindu goddess, Ma Durga, for first unearthing a land scam in Mohali during her stint there trainee IAS officer and then going on to tackle the illegal sand-mining in the Yamuna and Hindon river banks while serving as the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Sadar, Noida. An attempt was made on her lifein April 2013, allegedly by the “sand mafia”. She was then suspended on flimsy grounds in July 2013, but her suspension was revoked in September in the midst of widespread public outrage across the nation. Even her husband (IAS officer Abhishek Singh) had to face the wrath of the offended parties and was suspended by UP chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav for allegedly mistreating a dalit teacher.

[List of various civil service jobs in India through the UPSC exam]

A Punjab cadre IAS officer, Durga was ranked 20 in the UPSC civils exam in 2009. She hold a B.Tech (Computer Sc.) degree from the Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology, Delhi.

Image courtesy: archive.indianexpress.com

4. Ashok Khemka - Khemka Vs. Vadra!

A senior IAS officer of the 1991 batch, whistleblower Ashok Khemka has been transferred 45 times in the 23 years of his service! He is famous for cancelling an illegal, multi-million rupee land deal between Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and DLF during the Congress regime. When posted at the Haryana Seeds Development Corporation (HSDC) he exposed irregularities related to sale of wheat seeds in the state.

He obtained a B.Tech (Computer Sc.) degree from IIT, Kharagpur and also holds a Ph.D in the same subject from TIFR, Mumbai apart from an MBA and an M.A (Economics) degree.

Image courtesy: indianexpress.com

5. Sanjiv Chaturvedi - forest officer on a mission

Soon after taking charge of the Delhi government in February 2015, Arvind Kejriwal wanted this man on his team as an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to tackle the corruption in the national capital. Meet Sanjiv Chaturvedi, an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer who has been transferred 12 times between 2005 – 10 in the aftermath of his campaign to expose the corruption in Haryana’s forest department. In 2009, as the Divisional Forest Officer of Jhajjar, Haryana, he blew the lid off a multi-crore plantation scam where the funds from the state government and international agencies were being siphoned off for imaginary plantations. After taking charge as the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) at AIIMS, Delhi, he filed around 200 cases of corruption against doctors, pharmacies etc. resulting in his removal from the post by the Modi government in 2014.

[How to become an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer?]

An electrical engineer from Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (NIT Allahabad), Sanjiv is a 2002 batch IFS officer. He was given the Manjunath Shanmugam Integrity Award (2009), for his work in Haryana and the S R Jindal Prize in 2011 for “Crusade against Corruption” for his campaigns to expose corruption in high places.

Image courtesy: deccanchronicle.com

6. Satyendra Dubey - lived up to his name's meaning (lord of truth)

Satyendra Dubey was an Indian Engineering Service (IES) officer who had to pay with his life for exposing the corruption involved in the Golden Quadrilateral highway construction project. He discovered blatant inconsistencies in the building of the  Aurangabad-Barachatti section of National Highway 2 (part of the Golden Quadrilateral project) while he was the Project Director at Koderma, Jharkhand. He wrote a letter to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was the Prime Minsiter then, revealing the rampant corruption prevailing in the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). Despite requests to keep his identity a secret, his letter was forwarded to other the transport ministry. This was followed by several threats to him. He was then transferred to Gaya, Bihar where he was found murdered by the side of a road under mysterious circumstances on 27 November, 2013.

[How to become an IES officer?]

Satyendra obtained his B.Tech (Civil) from IIT Kanpur in 1990 and his M.Tech (Civil) from IIT Varanasi. Following his death, IIT Kanpur dedicated an award in his memory, “Satyendra K Dubey Memorial Award” which was to be bestowed to an IIT alumnus for “displaying highest professional integrity in upholding human values.” Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal received this award in 2005 for his efforts to bring about transparency in the working of the government by getting the Right to Information (RTI) bill passed.

Image courtesy: blog.askiitians.com

7. Rashmi V Mahesh - on warpath against the corrupt education system

1996 batch IAS officer IAS Rashmi Mahesh has been transferred 20 times in 18 years! After taking charge as the executive director of the Karnataka Education Authority  (KEA) in 2011, she stepped on the toes of the medical and engineering college lobbies by putting a stop to seat blocking and irregularities in seat distribution. She gave many a college management panels a run for their money as she completely stopped the misuse of government seats. She was later shifted to the Department of Medical Education (Health & Family Welfare, Bangalore) as Secretary, where she continued her battle against the unethical dealings of private institutes.

In October 2014 she was attacked by an angry mob after she exposed a multi-crore scam in the Administrative Training Institute (ATI), Mysore where she was posted as the Director General.

V. Rashmi Mahesh being escorted by policemen after she was attacked by an agitated mob in Mysore Image courtesy: deccanchronicle.com

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