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BW Most Influential Woman Of India: Aruna Sundararajan, IAS

In a recent interview Aruna Sundararajan said, “I feel more like a chess player, thinking for long hours how to make the next move,". Known for ‘Akshaya’ her mass e-literacy campaign in Kerala. Aruna Sundararajan is a 1982 batch IAS officer from Kerala cadre. She is currently serving as Secreatary of Department of Telecommunications (DoT). She has got a massive three decades experience with an eye of a businesswoman that makes her personality multidimensional.

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Sundararajan spearheaded ‘National Optic Fibre Network Project’ under the `Digital India' Program, which adds another star to her decorated career. This was the largest connectivity project of the world with budget of three billion USD, with an eye to provide minimum bandwidth of 100 Mbps.

She is also known for her contribution to take initiatives which took telecommunication to many of the remote and unserved areas of rural India and other parts of the world.

She is a post graduate in philosophy that is clearly visible in her analytical abilities on various policy issues.

Prior to her current stint, she was Additional Secretary, Telecom & Administrator Universal Service Obligation Fund, Govt. of India & CMD BBNL (Bharat Broadband Network Ltd). She has also served as Managing Director of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. She has also spearheaded the rural broadband initiative in India.

Aruna also believes that it is necessary to increase the participation of women in the workforce in a way to recognise and acknowledge them when they do a good job, since they do it against great odds. We need to educate a lot of parents for positive results, says Aruna.

She has her contemporary observation about colleagues and peers at workplace. Aruna says ‘in retrospect, I feel we ourselves have started behaving like men. Not that I have felt anything with my peers, but now when I think about it, I feel if I thought like a woman, I would have said and done a lot of things differently.’  Aruna says, ‘Negotiation, fund and good mentoring also pose a challenge for budding women professionals. Mentoring plays a key role as it will lead to create more entrepreneurs.’ She says unless we correct the younger ones how will they learn and perform. 

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