Another glass ceiling shattered – Archana Ramasundram, the first Indian woman to head a Paramilitary Force

58-year-old Archana Ramasundram, a Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer, will take over as Director General of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).


Who is Archana Ramasundaram?

  1. Archana Ramasundaram is a 1980-batch IPS officer.
  2. She is currently serving as the Director of National Crime Records Bureau.
  3. Sundaram holds an MSc and an MA degree and was awarded the President’s Medal in 1995.

What is SSB and what’s interesting about her next assignment?

SSB is a Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) responsible for guarding the country’s frontiers with Nepal and Bhutan. Including SSB, there are 5 CAPFs in India.

In case you are wondering about the paramilitary forces, let’s define that for you

Ministry Of Home Affairs adopted a uniform nomenclature of Central Armed Police Forces (formerly known as Paramilitary forces) in March 2011.

These include – SSB, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

Back to the IPS officer, here are few intriguing events related to her life

#1. The only IPS lady of 1980 batch

When Archana Ramasundaram made it to the police academy in Hyderabad in the Indian Police Service batch of 1980, she was the only woman in her class. The situation, she says, was ‘awkward’ sometimes because she was the only woman around.

#2. The Telgi case cracker

She headed the team that cracked the famous Abdul Karim Telgi case or the fake stamp paper racket.


#3. Remember the CBI appointment controversy?

On 8 May 2014, Ramasundaram was appointed the first woman Additional Director of CBI. However, her selection was disputed by the Tamil Nadu government in the Supreme Court on the very day she joined the CBI. On 17 June 2015, she was removed from the CBI and moved to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) as Director.

Need more masala?

  1. A writ petition filed by a journalist in SC alleged that Archana Ramasundaram’s appointment to CBI was not in “accordance with the procedure contemplated under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.”
  2. However, the Centre requested the SC to allow her to take charge but the Tamil Nadu government resisted the appeal saying that she was still an officer with the Tamil Nadu government
  3. Tamil Nadu government said that Ramasundaram hadn’t been “formally relieved from her duties as the DGP and Chairperson of Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board”
  4. She was suspended and charged for ‘deserting office’
  5. Archana Ramasundaram clarified that she’d written to the Chief Secretary that she would be joining the CBI but the government contended that her actions “lacked legal or procedural propriety.”

Strange turns of events, right?

But if you are an IAS aspirant and want to read more into the news, here are few pointers for you –

#1. A strong message by the Government

The government is no longer going to restrict the top posts for men and the male IPS Officers are no longer going to enjoy monopoly over the apex positions of these forces.

#2. SSB – The platform for Women Empowerment

  • The appointment of Archana Ramasundaram is not the first time that SSB has been involved in such a bold and yet welcome step.
  • SSB was also the first Paramilitary Force to induct female troops and also the first force to send a female contingent to the Republic Day Parade.
  • Such was the effect of this bold move by SSB that subsequently other Forces too have started inducting women troops and their numbers are steadily increasing. The CRPF too recently accepted a proposal of giving 33% reservation to women for the post of constables.

#3. Trickledown effect

  • When the upper strata is going to be free from any bias, slowly its effect will go down the ranks and workplaces in Government Offices may become more desirable for Indian Women.
  • Since Kiran Bedi was unjustifiably sidelined for promotion, we have come a long way and now we have appointed a female chief for a paramilitary force.

#4. The sensitization effect

  • The women officers and constables serving within SSB will somehow not feel the fear of harassment given their minority numbers within the force and the social misconceptions.
  • A female head of the Force will definitely be more considerate towards the position of women within the force.
  • More importantly, this will go a long way in improving the attitude of Force Personnel towards the local women.

The CAPFs perform a multitude of functions, one of these is maintaining close contact with the Locals. Unfortunately, instances of harassment of local women by the Personnel prove detrimental to this purpose.

The condition will improve once a female head is appointed who can take such cases more seriously and take the requisite steps.


Published with inputs from Swapnil | Image Credits - Facebook, Indiatimes
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By Root

Caretaker @civilsdaily

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