A day after taking charge as the first woman Chief Secretary of Punjab, IAS officer Vini Mahajan spoke to The Indian Express on challenges along the way, maintaining a family-work life balance, and her priorities in her new job.
What would be your priority area as new Chief Secretary of the state?
Coordination. I see myself in the role of a coordinator now. It is a classical case that large organisations work in the silos. I will try to break these silos and bring about coordination.
Did you face any challenges being a woman in service?
I am afraid I have to give an atypical answer. I have probably been fortunate and it has been a smooth ride for me. I have not faced any problem and have been treated with respect. I know there are professionals who have to face a lot of discrimination. But I have always been treated with respect.
What have been the highs and lows in your career?
Everybody goes through highs and lows. I have been very happy with my journey which will probably sound boring. There have been no lows. I have been really fortunate that I got a lot of support from all quarters. I never really had any problems.
Some political leaders are raising the issue that all power in the state is now with one family with you being the CS and your husband being the state DGP. What do you have to say?
I am not going to answer this question. I am a professional in my own right.
Who has been your inspiration?
My dad. I have always seen him as somebody committed to his work. He put in a lot of hard work all his life and I have learnt immensely from his wish to give back to the society. He came over from Pakistan as a 14-year-old, worked hard, topped BA in Economics, topped the IAS. I have been drawing my inspiration from his commitment and his integrity.
How do you manage your work and family life?
I would admit that family has suffered a little bit. I am not a typical homemaker and a home misses one. But I was fortunate to have parental support that worked immensely in bringing up my children as good human beings. Usually, children when they see their parents working hard imbibe those qualities.
What would be your advice to new recruits in the service?
I would hope and expect from them to provide good governance to people. There is a lot of scope for improvement across the world. They can bring in best practices to provide good governance efficiently.
Your predecessor Karan Avtar Singh had a run in with the Cabinet ministers. How do you plan to handle the politicians in state?
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