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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Yes We Can

Every day is Women's Day in Jhabua
Rahul Noronha, Hindustan Times
Bhopal, March 08, 2013
First Published: 00:45 IST(8/3/2013)
Last Updated: 02:18 IST(8/3/2013)

In Madhya Pradesh's Jhabua district, women truly call the shots in all crucial segments of the district administration.

With Jaishri Kiyawat as collector and Krishnaveni Desavatu as superintendent of police, Jhabua, a predominantly tribal area 350 km west of Bhopal, is the only district in MP where women are in charge of the two crucial posts.

What's more, women head six other key wings including health, which is under chief medical and health officer Dr Rajni Dabar, and tribal welfare, where Mohini Shrivastava is the assistant commissioner.

Through the 1970s till the 90s, Datia and Dewas districts - considered largely peaceful in administrative circles - were unofficially earmarked for posting women IAS officers as collectors. Times have changed and Jhabua is different, certainly no walk in the park. The district has a crime problem and ranks comparatively low on development indices as well.

When Kiyawat took charge as collector in 2011, she found women usually stayed in the background and in ghunghats. "Now, I see them coming out." 

So, how well are the women working together. Jhabua recently bagged a national award for best poll practices by adding 1.48 lakh voters. "That's an example of coordination," said Kiyawat.


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