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Breaking glass ceiling

Breaking glass ceiling
Highlights

Breaking glass ceiling. The uppermost thought emerging from this year’s civil services examinations conducted by the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC)

Although much remains to be done on education front at all levels, six decades-plus of Independence has definitely witnessed growing democratisation of education leading to employment

The uppermost thought emerging from this year’s civil services examinations conducted by the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) is that why topper Ira Singhal had to appear thrice, and succeed, to knock at the closed doors of the government. The differently-abled girl, already an engineer, is keen to serve and should be accommodated by the department of personnel and training (DoPT) with full honour – not as a favour.

The government should bend rules if necessary and give her suitable training and posting, else, the country will be the loser. Clearly, bureaucracy’s red tape acquires darkest possible hues when it comes to dealing with its own affairs. Kiran Bedi was opposed when she sought police service over four decades ago. That mindset has not changed much. Political intervention by PM Narendra Modi would be in order.

Girls have routinely topped the civil service examinations. But four of the five toppers being women are unique. Ira’s success is a first by a dogged woman with 62 per cent debility cracking the prestigious examination not once but thrice. It is a given that girls are more focused and determined than the boys who, in this essentially patriarchal society, often get a better deal.

One is reminded of the late C B Muthamma, who went to court, but failed, when denied the Foreign Secretary’s post because she was a woman. Although much remains to be done on education front at all levels, six decades-plus of Independence has definitely witnessed growing democratisation of education leading to employment.

Some years back, a Kashmiri Muslim topper compelled attention from a world community that considers his state’s accession to the Indian Union disputed. Wards of poor families, from small towns, depressed classes and tribal communities have been doing well. Like Ira, a right-handed Punjab doctor, surmounting disability, wrote his exams with left hand and succeeded.

Among the successful is daughter of a Chennai cab driver who is paralysed. High motivations combine with hard work has been behind these successes. Rohit Yadav has kept the promise he gave his father, Delhi Police’s encounter specialist Rajbir Singh, who himself died in an encounter in 2008. All this needs to be recognised and pursued pro-actively by the government.

The glamour of uniform has faded and military services are also going down in terms of career preference. All three Services are short of officers even as they plan expansion. The young are being lured by new and growing vistas of jobs and careers. On the other hand, software engineers, doctors and management graduates want to be administrators.

A candidate even chucked a job in the US to come and succeed. This is a good augury. Better personnel management is needed if the hallowed colonial era “steel frame”, reputedly deteriorated to “cast iron fame” and worse does not begin to resemble some softer and brittle metal. The country needs good administrators and must have them, if it wants to surge on path of development and aspire to sit on the global high table.

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