Sheila Dikshit

Sheila Dikshit Former Chief Minister of Delhi and former Governor of Kerala

Former Chief Minister, Delhi and Former Governor, Kerala

A member of the Indian National Congress, Sheila Dikshit is a powerful administrator and a popular leader who served as the Chief Minister of Delhi for three consecutive terms from 1998 to 2013, and was only the second woman to hold this post. Often referred to as the ‘Iron Lady’, she is credited with successfully hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games as well as improving the quality of life and developing infrastructure by building several flyovers, metro rails and roads in Delhi during her term. Subsequently, she also served as the Governor of Kerala. 

She spearheaded numerous initiatives to accelerate the process of women empowerment, and was the first to introduce Laadli scheme dedicated to the girl child to improve the gender ratio, which was later on replicated by Central Government and other states. Under her leadership, Delhi government set up more than 140 Gender Resource Centres to train women from vulnerable sections to earn livelihoods and support their family income. She also introduced 50 percent reservation in the three municipal corporations in Delhi, provided relief to women in registration of properties in their names, ensured personal hygiene to adolescent girls in Delhi schools, and set up a 24x7 helpline and fast track courts to curb crimes against women. 

She represented India at United Nations Commission on Status of Women for five years (1984–1989). As the President of Indian National Congress, she led her party to victory in the 1988 assembly elections. During 1986-89, she also served in the Indian Government as a Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and as Minister of State in the PMO. She chaired the Implementation Committee for the commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of India's Independence and also Jawaharlal Nehru's centenary. 

In 1990, she led a movement against the atrocities being committed on women in Uttar Pradesh. In the early 1970s, she was chairperson of the Young Women's Association and was instrumental in the setting up two of most successful hostels for working women in Delhi. 

Sheila Dikshit is the recipient of several awards including Best Chief Minister of India by Journalist Association of India (2008), Politician of the Year by NDTV (2009), Dara Shikoh award by Indo-Iran Society (2010), Lokmanya Tilak award (2010), Delhi Women of the Decade Achievers Award by Assocham Ladies League (ALL) for Outstanding Public Service (2013), Polio Eradication Champion Award by Rotary International (2013) and the first Mercy Ravi Award for Woman of Substance for outstanding social and political contribution by a woman (2013). 

She studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in New Delhi, graduated with a Master of Arts degree in history from the Miranda House at the University of Delhi and then pursued a Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Delhi. She was married to Late Vinod Dikshit, an IAS officer and the son of renowned freedom fighter, former union cabinet minister and former governor of West Bengal, Late Uma Shankar Dikshit.

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