Anna Rajam Malhotra

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Anna Rajam Malhotra
Anna Rajam George

(1924-07-17)July 17, 1924
DiedSeptember 17, 2018(2018-09-17) (aged 91)
Spouse(s)R. N. Malhotra
AwardsPadma Bhushan

Anna Rajam Malhotra (née George; 17 July 1927 – 17 September 2018) was an Indian Administrative Service officer.[1] She was the first woman in India to hold this position. Malhotra belonged to the 1951 batch of the IAS and married R. N. Malhotra, her batchmate.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Malhotra was born in 1927 in Niranam, Pathanamthitta as the daughter of Ottavelil O. A. George and Anna Paul. She was the granddaughter of Malayalam author Pailo Paul. She grew up in Calicut and completed her intermediate from Providence Women's College and bachelor's degree from Malabar Christian College in Calicut. In 1949 she obtained her master's in English literature from University of Madras. She passed the civil services examination in 1950, and was the first woman to do so.[2]


Malhotra was discouraged from joining the service by the board which consisted of four ICS officers, headed by R.N. Banerjee the Chairman of UPSC. She was instead offered the Foreign Service and Central Services because they were 'more suitable for women'. But, she argued her case and stood her ground.[2][4]

Her first posting as a civil servant was in Madras State and reportedly chief minister C. Rajagopalachari was sceptical about giving a woman the charge of a district sub-collector and instead offered her a post in the Secretariat. She had undergone training in horse riding, rifle and revolver shooting and in using magisterial powers and hence did not comply and was eventually posted as the Sub Collector of Tirupattur in Madras State, becoming the first woman to do so.

She worked under seven chief ministers and worked closely with Rajiv Gandhi in the Asiad Project and briefly with Indira Gandhi.[2][4]

Malhotra was responsible for building India's first computerised port, Nhavasheva, in Mumbai.[2][4] and was also the first Malayali woman to hold a secretarial post in the central government.[4]

She was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1989.[5][4]

Malhotra died in September 2018 at the age of 91.[6]


  1. ^ "India's first woman IAS officer who knew how to handle men and guns".
  2. ^ a b c d e Priyadershini S. (11 March 2012). "Grit meets grace". Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  3. ^ "अन्ना राजम थीं देश की पहली महिला IAS, 67 साल पहले हुआ था सिलेक्शन". Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e "The Untold and Inspiring Story of Anna Rajam Malhotra, India's First Female IAS Officer". The Better India. 17 January 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  6. ^ India’s first woman IAS officer dead