India’ first lady IAS officer post-Independence Anna Rajam Malhotra passed away on Monday in Mumbai. She was 91. Anna had joined the civil services in 1951 and had served in the Madras cadre under then CM C Rajagopalachari and in the central government.
Born in July 1927 in Kerala’s Ernakulam district, Anna Rajam Geroge moved to Madras after completing her schooling from Kozhikode to pursue higher studies at the Madras University.
During her interview, she was told that Foreign Service and Central Services are more suitable for women officers, but she opted to join the civil service. Besides serving under Rajagopalachari, she had worked closely with Rajiv Gandhi when he was in charge of the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi. She had also accompanied late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on many state trips.
Anna had also served in the personnel department of the Ministry of Home Affairs, thus becoming the first woman to hold a secretarial post in the Central government.
Interestingly, in 1951 when she joined the civil service, her appointment order had a line written – “In the event of your marriage your service will be terminated”. However, the rules were changed a few years later.
She married RN Malhotra who had served as the Governor of RBI between 1985 and 1990.
Anna, who retired in 1996, was also responsible for building the country’s first computerised port Nhavasheva in Mumbai. She was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1989.