Saturday, June 20, 2015

IFS gets “hidden treasure” in Beno Zephine; 10 things to know about India’s first visually challenged diplomat

Beno Zephine being felicitated in DoPT
DURING the last few days senior ministers in the corridors felicitated a 25-year-old girl from Tamil Nadu. She is Beno Zephine. Literally, Beno means daughter of God and Zephine means hidden treasure. Yes, Indian Foreign Service gets a “hidden treasure” when Beno Zephine became the first 100 per cent visually challenged person to be inducted into the country's elite foreign service. Here are 10 things you may like to know about Beno Zephine.

1. Daughter of Indian railway employee Luke Anthony Charles and Mary Padmaja, a homemaker, Beno secured the 343rd rank in the 2013-14 civil service examination.
2. But, she had to wait as the government had to change the rules to accommodate her in IFS. After all, the existing government rules did not allow anyone with 100% blindness to be an IFS.
3. Beno’s first choice in UPSC was the Indian Foreign Service. So, when she got a call on June 12, 2015, from an under secretary-ranked official in the ministry of external affairs informing her that she was selected, she was overjoyed.
4. She is a post-graduation in English literature from Loyola College, Chennai.
5. After she completed her MA in 2013, she was selected as a probationary officer with the State Bank of India (SBI).
6. "With my first salary, I bought a gold chain for my father and earrings for my mother”, she said in an interview with recently.
7. Her mother read out many books for her. Also, she regularly listened to the 9 o'clock news of All India Radio from her childhood, something which helped her cracking the UPSC examinations.
8. After her joining in SBI and passing the civil service examination, he gave motivational speeches in schools and colleges across the state of Tamil Nadu. She loves tell the students: “Understand your strengths and weaknesses, only then will you be able to strengthen your strength and weaken your weakness.”
9. Beno’s enthusiasm and zeal to work had earned her the title of "Collector" among the residents of the colony in Chennai from where she hailed, according to a Government of India statement about her felicitation.
10. When personnel minister and MoS in the PMO Jitendra Singh felicitated her recently, additional secretary and EO Rajiv Kumar, additional secretary T Jacob and other senior officials of DoPT made it a point to join the felicitation programme and encouraged her (See photo).

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