While government jobs in India continue to be coveted for the respect and power associated with them, there is also a certain amount of pessimism in the way citizens perceive them. Thanks to numerous instances of scams, scandals and the infamous red tape, people often view public servants or departments as corrupt and disloyal.
While there are rotten apples in every system, there are also those who truly believe in delivering the responsibilities they promised when they assumed office. Officers like J Radhakrishnan, Prashant Nair and Smita Sabharwal are already household names, and known as officers who have gone beyond the call of duty.
Here's a list of other government officers from the southern states of India who've been shattering stereotypes through their work. From fighting corruption to maintaining law and order and, most importantly, working in the interest of the people, these officers are setting examples worth emulating.
Karthikeya Misra, IAS (District Collector, East Godavari)
Image source: Kartikeya Mishra IAS/Facebook
In May this year, the East Godavari District Collector surprised a tribal hamlet, when he trekked about 22 km with other officials, to reach the locals, who had no connectivity with the closest town.
When he failed to convince them to shift closer to the main road, promising all facilities from the government's side, he ensured that a school and Anganwadi centre was set up for the hamlet, also promising that a road would be built to connect the area.
He ensured that they had clean drinking water, and promised to take care of the pregnant women if they were shifted to the closest PHC, at least two weeks in advance.
Vivek Yadav (District Collector, Vizianagaram)
Image source: Vivek Yadav IAS/Twitter
In March this year, Andhra's Vizianagaram district administration constructed more than 10,000 household toilets in a record time of 100 hours. The construction drive, spanning 71 villages, managed to build 10,449 toilets in total.
The drive was led by Vizianagaram Collector Vivek Yadav, who promised, "We will continue this program, and make sure that all the villages in the district are declared Open Defecation Free (ODF)."
The initiative was even recognised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his 'Mann ki Baat' radio programme.
Chandrakant Naik (Deputy Range Forest Officer, Kali Tiger Reserve)
For 17 years, Chandrakant Naik, the Deputy Range Forest Officer of Karnataka's Kali Tiger Reserve, has gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect wildlife in the forests under his charge, working tirelessly to tackle threats such as poaching, smuggling and forest fires. For his contribution towards wildlife conservation, Deputy RFO Chandrakant has been awarded an RBS Earth Heroes Award by The Royal Bank of Scotland this year.
Chandrakant also played an important role in recruiting support for conservation efforts from locals living around the Kali Tiger Reserve.
K Ratna Prabha, IAS (Chief Secretary, Karnataka)
A Dalit IAS officer of 1981 batch, K Ratna Prabha became the third woman to be appointed as Karnataka's Chief Secretary.
Soon after her elevation to the pole position in the state's bureaucracy, she said creating a public grievance redressal system was her top priority.
Other than administration, Ratnaprabha is known to be a promoter of entrepreneurship. To her credit, she had conducted the 'Invest Karnataka summit' in 2016 and won the 'Woman of the Year' award from the American Biographical Institute Inc, USA. for two successive years in 1999 and 2000.
Her work has also paved way for the legislation reserving promotions in state government jobs for SC/ST candidates.
Annamalai, IPS (SP, Chikkamagaluru)
Image source: Screenshot/YouTube
An IPS officer from the 2011 batch, Annamalai is the Superintendent of Police, Chikkamagaluru.
When he was serving as SP of Udupi district, he earned the nickname of ‘Singham’ for his fearless handling of criminal activities in the district. He was part of the police team that extradited fugitive Bannanje Raja to India and is also credited with launching the Udupi Police mobile app to connect easily with citizens.
He was most recently in the news for convening a meeting between representatives of Hindu and Muslim communities in Baba Budanagiri, a popular shrine in the district, after Datta Jayanti celebrations were marred by communal violence.
Sriram Venkitaraman, IAS (Director, Employment and Training)
Image source: Sriram Venkitaraman/Facebook
Thirty-year-old Sriram Venkitaraman hit headlines in April, when he was the Devikulam Sub Collector in Idukki, leading a team which razed a massive metal cross erected on government land by the Jesus in Spirit sect.
The Munnar eviction of illegal encroachment on government land especially in the name of religion, led by Sriram with some unprecedented moves, had won hearts especially of the general public. The young bureaucrat soon became a hero for the media as well.
The eviction turned into a political battle between the CPI (M), which leads the ruling Left Democratic Front in the state, and its ally CPI, with the former not as happy with the eviction as CPI was. Naturally Sriram turned into a target for the ire of the CPI (M).
The government removed him from the post and promoted him as Director Employment and Training in July.
TV Anupama, IAS (District Collector, Alappuzha)
She is arguably one of the most discussed names among the IAS officers in Kerala.
In 2015, when she had been appointed as the Food Safety Commissioner, Anupama carried out multiple raids on dealers, and sent thousands of samples for testing, exposing high levels of adulteration and rampant use of pesticides.
Next, she urged the people of Kerala to start organic farming and home gardening to produce the vegetables required for their families. As a result of her efforts, the state – which used to get 70% of its vegetables and fruits from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka – now grows a majority of its own produce.
When Anupama took charge as the 48th District Collector of Alappuzha in August 2017, Kerala Transport Minister Thomas Chandy probably did not dream that Anupama's plans for the district would create so much trouble for his political career. It took Anupama only months to submit a report stating that portions of Marthandam Lake in Alappuzha had been leveled for building the Minister's Lake Palace Resort. Thomas Chandy later gave up his ministerial chair.
K Vasuki (District Collector, Thiruvananthapuram)
Image source: Screenshot/YouTube
Vasuki is a 2008 batch IAS official from Tamil Nadu and is currently serving as the district collector of Thiruvananthapuram. Ahead of assuming office as the district collector in September this year, Vasuki served as the Director of Suchitwa Mission.
In her tenure as the Director of Suchitwa Mission, Vasuki was noted for her efforts in implementing a green protocol and for her emphasis on eliminating plastic waste.
When the National Games was held in Kerala two years back, it was her efforts that ensured that the plastic waste generated out of the event was effectively managed.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Attukal Pongala, a temple festival sees thousands of women devotees turning up and the sheer amount of plastic waste generated at the end of the festival has always been a tiresome task for the city corporation. During her tenure at the Suchitwa Mission, Vasuki brought in an initiative called "Ammakku oru steel glass" under which, people donated steel utensils so that the devotees attending the Pongala festival could be served food in them, thereby reducing the use of plastic.
In September, she took charge as the 42nd Collector of the capital district.
Mir Mohammed Ali (District Collector, Kannur)
In April this year, the northern district of Kannur was declared the first district in the country to be free from plastic carry bag and disposable articles.
This was not an achievement that was made possible overnight, but came as a result of several months of hard work from the part of the district administration, headed by Collector MirMohammed Ali. If Kannur now wears the plastic-free tag proudly, the people owe a major part of it to the district collector for spreading the idea of ditching plastic, with slogans such as "Plastic free Kannur-nalla Nadu, nalla mannu (good village, good soil).
At marriages and other public functions, use of plastic was heavily discouraged and special permission was required to use disposable items.
It took the administration just 5 months to work towards achieving what they set out for. The initiative was in line with the state's Haritha Keralam project.
Parallel to this, Kannur district administration also gave a boost to handloom products and soon, malls and other shops began to see handloom bags as an alternative.
S Lakshmi, IPS (DCP Law and order, Coimbatore city), Ramya Bharathi, IPS (SP, Coimbatore District) and Disha Mittal, IPS (DCP Law and order, Tiruppur city)
The three women IPS officers have spoken up against misogyny in cinema stating that it was one of the major reasons for increase in violence against women.
In a video put together by Covai Post in May, the officers appealed to filmmakers to stop promoting such violence in their films through dialogues and lyrics as these have an influence on the youth.
Observing that a lot of films today have objectionable content relating to women, DCP Lakshmi said, "If you watch today's films, you'll see that most of them have lyrics that degrade women in every which way. Cinema is a very powerful medium. Cinema creates a great impact on people, especially on the youth. When the medium is so powerful, it should be used well.”
GS Sameeran (Additional Director of Fisheries)
Image source: Sameeran Gs/Facebook
GS Sameeran, who was appointed Director of Fisheries in May this year, has already become a darling of the people. With the plight of fisherman coming sharply into focus this year, Sameeran has been organising career guidance programs for the children of fishermen. The aim is to enable them to pursue higher education in light of sustainable fishing not being possible in the future. He also hopes that meritorious students would take up the civil services with the help of the coaching and study centres made available to them.
He has also been actively involved in the reconstruction of the Mookaiyur harbour in Ramanathapuram. According to one report, the state of the art facilities at the new harbour would include a fish handling and auction hall, radio communication centre, gear shed, boat repair shop, net drying yard and a net mending shed. Even as there are frequent reports of Indian fishermen being caught in cross-fires with the Sri Lankan navy, Sameeran is gearing up efforts to encourage fishermen to look for fish down south rather than along the Palk Straits which would lead them into murky international waters.
Darez Ahamed (Mission Director, Tamil Nadu State Rural Health Mission)
Image source: Facebook/Darez.Ahamed
The Tamil Nadu Mission Director of the National Health Mission, Darez Ahamed is a doctor turned IAS officer who shot to fame after he received a national award in administration for his work as Perambalur Collector. In 2013, Darez had taken measures to fight against discrimination against the girl child by keeping tabs on prenatal diagnostic centres.
Under his leadership in TN now, the state has launched a programme to make palliative care more accessible to different communities. Phase 1 of home based care for terminally ill has been rolled out in 10 districts. Nurses are being identified for training for the home-based programme. Palliative care units are also being set up in 10 districts, with eight at district headquarters hospitals, and two in medical college hospitals. NHM, Tamil Nadu, is also setting up five emergency care and recovery centres for mentally ill and homeless people in Vellore, Tiruppur, Tiruvannamalai, Theni and Villupuram.
Praveen Kumar, IPS (TSWREIS)
Image source: Praveen Kumar Swaero/Facebook
The Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS), which caters to underprivileged students in the state, has bagged several accolades this year, all thanks to one officer. Praveen Kumar, who went from being a student at one of these schools, to a doctor to an IPS officer to a state Secretary, is currently in charge of the TSWREIS.
Under Praveen's leadership, the TSWREIS has managed to ensure that several hundred underprivileged and Tribal students are selected for top institutes across the country including the IITs and the NITs. While many mentored by the body have climbed Mount Everest, this year two students from vanishing tribes cleared the IIT- JEE exam.
Yogitha Rana, IAS (District Collector, Hyderabad)
Yogitha Rana (middle); Image source: Kakatiya Sandbox/Facebook
In April this year, District Collector Yogitha Rana received a national award from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for making the Nizamabad Electronic National Agricultural Market (e-NAM), the best in the country.
However, it was not that achievement, which touched our hearts. The IAS officer who quit her profession as a doctor, successfully opened an orphanage in the Nizamabad district, which took care of many children who were HIV positive.
Bharathi Hollikeri, IAS (District Collector, Medak)
Image source: Screenshot; CIPS Hyderabad/YouTube
Pregnant or lactating women visiting any of the 19 primary health centres (PHCs) in Telangana's Medak district for a check-up, have been assured of one healthy meal, thanks to district Collector Bharathi Hollikeri.
The Collector conceived the idea, after she noticed that the women often missed lunch, as they did not have time to cook, after returning home from the time-consuming check-up.
The scheme also puts no additional burden on any department, as the food is brought from local Anganwadi centres.