Woman IAS officer is Karnataka’s new Chief Secretary

Bengaluru: Senior woman Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer K. Ratna Prabha on Thursday took over as Karnataka’s new Chief Secretary, replacing Subash Chandra Khuntia who retired on superannuation earlier in the day.

A 1981-batch officer of the Karnataka cadre, Prabha is the third woman officer to hold the top administrative post in the state after Theresa Bhattacharya (2001) and Malati Das (2006).

Prabha, 59, is also the first Dalit woman to become Chief Secretary in the southern state.

“I am grateful to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for giving me this honour. My first priority will be solving the problems of people. Attending to their grievances has always been close to my heart,” Prabha said as she assumed office in the southern state capital.

Unless given an extension, Prabha will be in the new post for four months as she is due for retirement by February.

According to official sources, Prabha, who was the additional chief secretary in the state since 2016, was considered for the top post by the Chief Minister over two other contenders — Latha Krishna Rau and S.K. Pattanayak, who are also in the rank of Additional Chief Secretary.

Though she hails originally from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh state, Prabha belongs to a family of IAS officers, as her father K.Chandraiah was an IAS officer, her second brother Pradeep Chandra retired as the Telangana Chief Secretary recently.

Prabha also had a stint in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh government over a decade ago on inter-state deputation.

Prabha is also the second woman top officer in the state after Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Neelamani N.Raju took over as the state Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG & IGP) in October.

“Congratulations to Ratna Prabha. Karnataka’s administration (civil and police) is now headed by two women,” Siddaramaiah had tweeted on Prabha’s appointment.