Today, IAS officers serve as a source of inspiration for millions of people seeking motivation and more. In the present time, female IAS officers like Tina Dabi and Saumya Sharma have gained significant recognition. Are you aware of the identity of the first female IAS officer Anna Rajam Malhotra?

Anna Rajam Malhotra held the distinction of becoming the first Indian woman to join the Indian Administrative Services (IAS). She belonged to the 1951 batch of IAS officers and was born in 1927 in Niranam, Thiruvalla. Her grandfather was the renowned Malayalam author, Pailo Paul.

Anna Rajam completed her schooling at Providence Women’s College and pursued her Bachelor’s degree at Malabar Christian College in Calicut after intermediate. In 1949, she pursued a master’s in English literature from the University of Madras and cracked the civil services exam in 1950. Despite passing the exam, Rajam faced discouragement from choosing the role of an administrative officer due to skepticism from the then Chief Minister. He favored her opting for foreign service or central services, doubting a woman’s capability for such a significant position.

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Nevertheless, Anna Rajam stood her ground and was eventually appointed as the Sub Collector of Tirupattur in Madras. She held various positions within the Government of Madras, including Under Secretary (Agriculture), Under Secretary and Deputy Secretary (Public), and Secretary to the Government (Agriculture Department).

Additionally, she served in important roles within the Government of India, such as Deputy Secretary in the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, and Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture. She also served as the Chairperson of the National Seeds Corporation and as Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Throughout her tenure, she made considerable efforts to uplift society and briefly collaborated with Rajeev Gandhi and Indira Gandhi. In recognition of her contributions, IAS Malhotra was honored with the prestigious Padma Bhushan award in 1989, reflecting her embodiment of inspiration and determination.

Anna Rajam Malhotra’s achievements extended beyond being the first woman IAS officer; she paved the way for millions of women who could not fathom preparing for the UPSC CSE in the past.