Pranjal Patil, first visually challenged woman IAS officer, takes over as Sub-Collector of Thiruvananthapuram

The loss of vision at the age of six did not deter the youngster from Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra, from pursuing her civil service dream

Pranjal Patil, the young woman who battled great odds to become the country’s first visually challenged woman IAS officer, took over as Sub-Collector in Thiruvananthapuram, on Monday.

“We should never be defeated, and never give up,’’ said Ms. Patil, 31, who assumed charge in the presence of District Collector K. Gopalakrishnan and staff at the District Collectorate, adding that she felt “extremely glad and proud to be in Thiruvananthapuram.’’

Ms. Patil opted to spend her first day in Thiruvananthapuram, familiarising herself with the new environment. She said she expected a lot of support from the public and the Collectorate staff.

After securing the 124th rank in the 2017 Civil Services Exams, she was posted as Assistant Collector in Ernakulam, Kerala, in 2018.

The loss of vision at the age of six did not deter the youngster from Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra, from pursuing her civil service dream. In 2016, she cracked the Union Public Services Examination on her first attempt with a rank of 773. Ironically, she was refused a job in the Indian Railway Accounts Service on the grounds that she was visually challenged.

In her second attempt the very next year, she improved her ranking. Her appointment as Assistant Collector in Ernakulam had grabbed headlines.

“With our efforts, we all will get that one big breakthrough that we want. I expect a lot of support from the people of Thiruvananthapuram and the staff here to be able to work for the people,’’ she said, after signing the Report of Transfer of Charge to take over from Sam Cleetus, the Deputy Collector (Land Acquisition), who had been holding charge of Sub-Collector.

On Monday morning, Ms. Patil was greeted with bouquets and ‘laddoos’ at the Collectorate. On her arrival, accompanied by Assistant Collector Anu Kumari, she was immediately ushered to her office on the first floor. Spending a brief moment there, she then called on Mr. Gopalakrishnan.

Biju Prabhakar, Special Secretary, Social Justice, who was present, termed her assumption of office as an auspicious moment for the district of Thiruvananthapuram. Mr. Gopalakrishnan, handing her a bouquet, urged the Collectorate staff to help Mr. Patil in carrying out her work.

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