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Sujata Saunik Appointed Maharashtra’s First Woman Chief Secretary

Sujata Saunik, an IAS officer of the 1987 batch, became the first woman chief secretary of Maharashtra on July 1, breaking a 64-year-old pattern. Saunik assumed office from her predecessor Nitin Kareer in the chief secretary’s office on the sixth floor of Mantralaya. She is set to retire in June next year.

Appointment of Sujata Saunik

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis unanimously appointed Saunik to the role, signalling support for women voters ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections. This decision aligns with the government’s recent launch of the Fourth Women Policy, aimed at empowering women. The outgoing Chief Secretary, Nitin Kareer, was granted a three-month extension by the central government in March 2024 due to the Lok Sabha polls, which concluded on June 4. Alongside Saunik, senior bureaucrats Rajesh Kumar and IS Chahal were also contenders for the Chief Secretary position. Saunik’s appointment to the secretary rank last week positioned her as one of the most senior bureaucrats in the country, paving the way for her appointment as the Chief Secretary of the state.

About Sujata Saunik

Saunik began her career as an assistant collector in Aurangabad and later served as the collector of Jalgaon and municipal commissioner of Nashik. Throughout her career, she has also worked in the central government and held foreign postings. At Mantralaya, she led the health department, administrative reforms, skill development, and general administration department. Saunik participated in an Oxford Policy Management study that focused on assessing the performance of two key government departments — Women and Child Development and School Education. At the federal level, she has worked in the Women and Child Development and Disaster Management departments and has been involved in two humanitarian missions of the UN in Cambodia and Kosovo.


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