A 28-year-old MBA graduate from Sikkim Manipal University who quit her job as an investment banker at IDBI Bank in Berhampur, Orissa, to become a sarpanch in a backward panchayat of Ganjam district in 2012, will represent India in the International Visitors Leadership Programme on State and Local Governments in the US next month.
Arati Devi became sarpanch of Dhunkapada grampanchayat under Polasara block at 27, becoming the youngest female sarpanch in the country. Her achievements were highlighted by The Indian Express in March 2013.
The IVLP is one of the US government’s prestigious professional exchange programmes for foreign opinion leaders and has so far hosted more than 130,000 participants. Former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai and Atal Bihari Vajpayee have participated in the programme.
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“It’s a major achievement for me. I never expected that I would be travelling to US and meeting the President. It would be a huge learning experience for me. In about a year, I have managed to do a lot of welfare work for my panchayat which I would share at the programme,” said Arati.