Sanjita Mohapatra, a resident of Rourkela, has made Odisha proud by securing 10th rank in the UPSC -2019 examination. She aims high to strongly fight against social injustices being meted out to women and bridge gap between the government and the gram panchayats to resolve problems at grassroots level, leading to women empowerment.

During a conversation, Sanjita shares her journey, aspirations and more.

Excerpts:

1.Congratulations for your outstanding achievement. How do you feel after creating a niche for yourself in the society and make out your journey so far?

SM: The journey has been very long, lots of sacrifices, hard work and efforts has gone into it. It’s not an overnight success. So, when you finally achieve what you have been dreaming for so long is really an exhilarating experience in that point and I am really ecstatic that I got a logical closure to what I wanted to do from such a long time.

1.Earlier you mentioned that if basic issues related to health, education and women are resolved, it will be a first step towards better foundation of the society. So what will be your master plan in resolving these issues?

SM: These three sectors are very broad in itself but the most important fact is that they are inter-related and if you improve upon education, it will have good effect on women then improvement in health facilities will also ultimately help women. So, all of these factors contribute together to help in women empowerment because when educations are imparted, schools are nearby, girl children are enrolled and female teachers appointed. We have a big problem of maternal mortality rate which is quite high in Odisha. Giving focus on it will ultimately help women lead better life.

1.The women-related crimes are on the rise. Incidents of minor girl rape and women harassment are being often. For this, women prefer to stay indoors with a fear of being attacked by anyone. What will be your take in combating it?

SM: Raping of a minor girl is actually a social issue, which is very deep rooted and there are many causes which are responsible for it. So, what basically I will look after is to ensure that safety of children and women. First, they shouldn’t be exposed to these problems and, second, we should have more rehabilitation centres for the needy women. With the start of my journey I will try to develop new insights which can be done when the issue comes up to me and, hope so, the change can be made

1.Mam, how was your preparation for the exam?

SM: Actually, it is my childhood dream and was always focused on studying. My preparation for UPSC  started during my mechanical engineering career from when I slowly started developing my habit of reading newspapers, particularly ‘The Hindu’, regularly and then focused on my major subjects. Simultaneously, I joined my job and built my foundation by reading NCERT basic core books of geography, history, politics etc. Looking forward to the work pressure in 2018, I quit my job thinking to give my best shot for achieving my dreams. Most importantly, I have never counted how many hours do I have studied but the only focus was how much I studied in a single day before my sleep and managed it by making schedule as I focused on qualitative education.

1.In PI round out of all the questions which one was your favourite one and how you manage to give your best shot?

SM: There are lots of orthodoxical practices which are still being followed in India. I was inquisitive to know why we have so much backward mentality even after years of Independence. So I though this mentality is a deep-rooted social issue. For example, menstruation was perceived as a very social issue. Now it has changed into a casual thing as it is a natural process and nothing is polluting in it. So, that is how slowly these social issues will take a longer time to reform and can’t expect it to change overnight because all these social issues have a longer horizon of changing and will change gradually but will take time.

1.Mam getting a women collector gives women of the society a ray of hope that she is the one who will look forward to our development, So what have you thought about it?

SM: On this note I want to say that when an IAS officer prepares a programme at that level the policies are very well thought off but by the time it reaches the grassroots level it is lost in the middle. So I, as a district collector or sub-collector, will try to implement all the policies and my focus will be on the best use of available resources for benefit of people. Secondly, my focus will be on the decentralisation of power, which is more important for the grassroots democracy at panchayat level. People will be empowered when they will be part of governance process.

1.Mam, who do you want to give credit of your success ?

SM: I share my achievement with my family and specially with me because without self motivation I won’t have been able to reach the position where I am today.

1.A women for a women build the strongest determination to be the successor of their ultimate goals of life, what is your view?

SM: I totally agree to it as I have been raised by a very fierce women Anjali Mohapatra who has completed her education up till class V but was such a confident lady that for every single problem ran to Rourkela ADM office and never feared to stand for her, giving a hue and cry for her demands and even kept on encouraging me at all steps   Therefore , as my social surrounding had her that impact was on me and was also raised by that because of which if any after marriage problems happened I easily coped with it