April 21 is celebrated as the National Civil Services Day commemorating the day when Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, addressed the newly recruited administrative service officers at Metcalfe House, Delhi, and called them ‘steel frame of India.’
Since last year the civil servants have been serving the citizens in their fight against the deadly virus. On this Civil Services Day The Optimist team interacted with some IAS and IPS officers to understand their infallible commitment to service and their experience during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mugdha Sinha IAS at Rajasthan
Mugdha Sinha is a 1999 batch IAS officer, presently posted as the Secretary in the Department of Science and Technology, Rajasthan. “The multifariously diverse and enormous exposure of rural and urban realities of our state and country and also internationally, as a trade negotiator and as a policy maker across domains has enabled me to grow as an individual and an officer. The process of serving the nation, engagement with public issues has helped me to find and improve myself,” she said.
While speaking about her experience during the pandemic she added, “I am grateful to find myself instrumental in public welfare where compassion, empathy and motivating people are required, something which comes naturally to me. It also allowed time for deep introspection and to write, orate and make art an innately therapeutic tool during these times.” Mugdha Sinha IAS is an artist and creates wonders with her brush whether on canvas, empty bottles or while practicing meditative mandalas. She is the Secretary of Art, Literature, Culture and Archaeology Department of Rajasthan and the Director General of Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur as well.
Varnali Deka IAS at Goalpara, Assam
Varnali Deka is an engineer and had done her MBA before joining the civil service. She had worked as an IPS earlier. As an IAS, she had served in two of the Aspirational Districts in northeast India. At present, she is the Deputy Commissioner at Goalpara, Assam.
“Being in the civil service one deals with the realities in the field especially at the early part of one’s career. I had grown up in metro-cities; hence, serving here has been a completely different experience. Everyday there I learnt something new, faced and overcame new challenges, which has certainly left an impact on me. I have improved my capabilities as an officer; have been able to recognize my strengths and weaknesses and have learnt to overcome my challenges by optimising the resources or manpower available to me.”
While speaking about her experience in the pandemic the 2009 batch IAS officer said, “At Goalpara, we had flash floods and cyclones when the pandemic was at its peak last year. So dealing with the pandemic and the natural disasters pushed my physical and emotional endurance to the limit, tested my capabilities in every way. However I had the confidence that I along with my team will fight till the end in our own way.”
Amit Lodha IPS, the IG of Gaya
Amit Lodha, the Inspector General of Gaya is a 1998 batch IPS officer. While talking about his responsibilities as a cop he said, “My life has changed completely since I donned the uniform of an IPS officer. This uniform makes you a role model and though we may not be perfect we are the most visible symbol of governance in India and abroad. I know that any single decision of mine can affect the lives of thousands of people immediately. So my decisions need to be wise, sensible and it should work for the larger good of the society.”
Calling the pandemic unfortunate, Amit Lodha said, “During any natural disaster the police are the first responders and have a decisive role to play. This time we had to make sure that the restrictions or regulations imposed by the government are executed properly. We had to be at the front all the time without bothering about our personal safety or about our families. We could not work from home like many others and I am very proud of my team-members all over the country, for the fortitude they showed in the face of this calamity.”
Minga Sherpa IAS at Dibang Valley
Minga Sherpa IAS is a 2017 batch IAS officer posted as the Deputy Commissioner at Dibang Valley at Arunachal Pradesh. Recently he was honoured with the GOCinC Commendation Card by Lt. General Anil Chauhan of the Eastern Command for his efforts in fostering civil military cooperation in the bordering district.
Minga Sherpa joined civil service right after graduating from university. “At university life was completely different and I was busy dreaming about my own life. But once you join the service, you instinctively stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about others. Here, every work, small or big, impacts someone’s life. Whether it is selecting beneficiaries for a scheme, delivering services or anything, your work impacts the society as a whole.”
During the pandemic Minga Sherpa has been right at ground zero, going to quarantine centers, talking to the Covid positive patients and counseling them out of the trauma and stress they experienced. “We have been providing the patients with basic necessities in a short time, working with scarce resources, and handling the pressure of sending migrant labourers back to their hometowns. It had been a very stressful period but it was fruitful at the same time as we got the opportunity to help people at large when they needed it most,” he shared.
C. Murugan IAS at Dakshin Dinajpur
C. Murugan IAS, the District Magistrate of Dakshin Dinajpur, was the CEO of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation in his previous posting. When he was a student he took the conscious decision to get into the Civil Services. “I was aware of the pros and cons associated with the Service right at the beginning. I was aware of the challenges I would be facing. Moreover I knew the opportunity Civil Services would offer me to serve the people. So after fulfilling my dream to be an IAS officer it gave me immense satisfaction while helping the people in need.”
Being an IAS officer it gave Murugan enough scope to deal with the pandemic at a macro-level. “Since it is my first posting as a District Magistrate I am holding meetings with all the stakeholders and trying to reduce the infection rates.” The 2007 batch IAS officer is also overseeing peaceful conduct of the Assembly elections at Dakshin Dinajpur amidst the second wave of the pandemic.
Times are tough but Indian Civil Service has shown remarkable fortitude in their commitment to serve the nation.