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Sujata Saunik: About Maharashtra's First Woman Chief Secretary!

Sujata Saunik is an IAS of the 1987 batch who is going to replace Nitin Kareer to become the first woman chief secretary of the state. Check more about her below!

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Credits: LinkedIn

Last Sunday brought good news for the state of Maharashtra as a woman broke a 64-year-old pattern in Maharashtra and became the first state chief secretary. Sujata Saunik, an IAS officer of the 1987 batch succeeded Nitin Kareer in the sixth-floor office of the Chief Secretary (CS) in Mantralaya, who is about to retire in June next year.

Saunik is the seniormost IAS officer in the state and was serving as the additional chief secretary (ACS) of the home and general administration department. At least half a dozen women IAS officers attended the function where Saunik's appointment got cleared by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

A Journey to Inspire

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Image Courtesy: LinkedIn

Born on June 15, 1965, Saunik was serving as the Additional Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in Maharashtra. Saunik completed her early schooling, college, and university in Chandigarh where she was born. She was also awarded a gold medal as she topped Punjab University in her Master's in History.

Saunik began as an Assistant Collector in Aurangabad and also worked as the collector of Jalgaon and Municipal Commissioner of Nashik. She also worked for the Central Government and also on foreign postings. She was the head of the health department, administrative reforms, skill development, and general administration department while posted in Mantralaya.  

Sujata Saunik is popular for her "no-nonsense approach" and has recently been also promoted to the rank of Secretary by the Department of Personnel and Training. 

From the Family of Bureaucrats

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Image Courtesy: LinkedIn

Belonging to a family of bureaucrats, the Saunik family has been involved in the administration. Other than her husband, even her father C D Cheema was an IAS and also worked as the Election Commissioner of Punjab after his retirement. Saunik's brother, Gautam Cheema, is an additional DG in the Punjab Police. Asha Atri, Saunik's aunt was also an IAS in Punjab while Rani Jadhav, another aunt retired as chairperson of the Mumbai Port Authority. On the other hand, her uncle A K D Jadhav was also an additional chief secretary (home) in Maharashtra. Her maternal grandfather, Kartar Singh was a Union government secretary and another uncle Pradeep Singh was in the Indian Foreign Service.

One must also note that Rashmi Shukla is currently heading the Maharashtra Police Department, which marks an important step as both the Chief Secretary and the State Police Chief are women. 

Maharashtra government has also launched several women-centric schemes through the Women and Child Development Department, such as 'Ladali Bahena', where these efforts aim to send a strong message to women voters ahead of the upcoming assembly elections.

Sujata Saunik first state chief Sujata Saunik