Her association with Vizag started when she was posted here during Cyclone Hudhud. From seeing it as a complete apocalypse to the clean city with a pleasing aura that it is today, G Srijana, IAS, Joint Collector reflects about her work and life.
My job in Visakhapatnam is largely a regulatory one, and I look mainly into land administration, civil supplies, fair price shops and Rythu bazaars that take commodities to people. We started biometric attendance for farmers and staff at Rythu bazaar to eliminate the role of middlemen. Vizag is more organised for me and while mornings are usually about field visits, I meet people and am at office during the day.
Challenges and Agenda 2017
I hate to keep people waiting and like to tell them whether or not something can be done and why. I feel pressurised when I lack that clarity. No file sits on my table for more than two days. It’s difficult when you have to convince a mob, and we had to do that when we were removing religious structures to make space during the Pushkars. For that I had to be convinced first. While you’re born with some strength, you learn on the job too. I’m the kind of person who likes to have a dialogue and iron things out. As for 2017, my agenda is to regulate workflow, formalise Rythu bazaar, civil supplies, and now revenue department. Despite being hard working and prompt, it has earned the reputation of being unfriendly and corrupt. I want to change the image, by improving technology so all information is available easily and reducing human interface.
Work life balance
My husband works as an advocate in high court in Hyderabad and comes on weekends. He is striking the balance, as it’s difficult for me to travel. I need to seek permission to step out of my jurisdiction and my job needs me here. Having a work-home balance depends on both spouses. We try to go out once in a year as we both love travelling.
Gender bias is not that pronounced and much depends on our behaviour. If I show that I expect certain benefits because I’m a lady, if I start making a point that I’m a lady, I’ll get that back also. If I come across as an officer who is gender neutral, who is okay to come out at 2AM if my job requires that, I will earn the respect of an officer. In fact at times I overcompensate too, by going out at 2AM, as that’s symbolic for the team. Having said that, gender bias is still dormant within many, and shows up at times. For example, if I start reprimanding, and people get hassled, they start addressing me as ‘sir’.
There have been many women in the past who had to struggle for the benefits we take for granted today. Today many educated girls are staying at home out of choice. I see it as a disservice to the women of the past and also to the next generation. At the expense of sounding Marxist, I’d like to say that only being economically relevant, makes you socially relevant too. So don’t waste your energies and knowledge. Set the right example of self sufficiency for the future.