CHANDIGARH: Senior IAS officer Vini Mahajan on Friday took over as Punjab’s first woman chief secretary, replacing Karan Avtar Singh who was due to retire in August The 1987 batch IAS officer’s appointment marked another first in Punjab’s administrative history as her husband Dinkar Gupta is the state Director General of Police (DGP).
As of now, Punjab is the lone state in the country to have a couple heading both civil and police administration. Vini’s father BB Mahajan was an IAS officer of 1957 batch of Punjab cadre. Prior to this appointment, she was serving as Additional Chief Secretary, Investment Promotion, Industries and Commerce, IT and Governance Reforms and Public Grievances. Avtar, meanwhile, took over as special chief secretary, governance reforms.
An Economics graduate from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University and a post-graduate from IIM-Calcutta, Vini has 33 years of experience in both Central and Punjab governments. She is the only Punjab cadre officer currently in the state who is empanelled to hold position as Secretary in the Union Government.
From 2005-2012, Vini served in the office of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and handled matters relating to Finance, Industry and Commerce, Telecom and IT. She was part of the core team of the central government that put together India’s domestic response, during and following the global financial meltdown.
In 1995, she became the first woman officer to be posted as DC in Punjab when she took over as DC Ropar. It was under that Ropar received the National Literacy Award for best performance in India. She went on to serve in various capacities, including as the first Director Disinvestment.
End of a chapter
The exit of Karan Avtar Singh ended a tumultuous chapter as he was caught in a controversy with Punjab’s Cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal