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162. Mrs. Yasmin Ahmed IAS

First Muslim IAS officer of India

Mrs. Yasmin is regarded as one of the most efficient, upright and honest IAS officers of India and was held in high esteem by all the regimes.  In one of the interactions with Tamil Nadu officials, Mr. Veerappa Moily Ex Chief Minister of Karnataka described her as the "Able daughter of Karnataka and a daughter-in-law of Tamil Nadu". For her meritorious services, she was facilitated by none other than Dr. Abdul Kalam, Ex- President of India.

The Early Years
Yasmin Ahmed was born in Madras (now Chennai) in the year 1945.  Her father, late M.A. Karim, was born & brought up in Mangalore and later migrated to Madras for studies (did his M.A from Loyola College Madras) and employment (Worked in Govt Secretariat).  Her mother, late Mymoona Fatima was born and brought up in Karkala and settled in Madras after marriage.
Yasmin Ahmed's early schooling took place at St. Williams School and Church Park Presentation Convent, in Chennai.  She went on to complete her B.A. degree at the Queen Mary's College, Chennai and her M.A. (English literature) at the Presidency College, Chennai. She was a state topper in M.A. examination and winner of two gold medals for excellence in two subjects.

Mrs. Yasmin Ahmed holds the distinction of being the first Muslim IAS officer of India. She belongs to the 1974 IAS cadre (Tamil Nadu) and after a distinguished service of over 32 years retired recently as the Chairperson (first lady to be appointed) of Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission, a post she held for an unprecedented complete tenure of 6 years. During her career, she has held various other important Government posts, notable amongst them are -
  • Collector of Madras district.
  • Commissioner (first lady to be appointed) of Corporation of Madras.
  • Secretary, Health & Family welfare
  • Secretary, Small Scale Industries
  • Chairperson, Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation.
  • Chairperson, Tamil Nadu Cement Corporation.
  • Development Commissioner, Madras Export Promotion Zone.
In the course of her career, she has led various official delegations to Europe, Australia, Asia and African countries.  She is also actively involved with social & welfare organizations in an Advisory capacity; notable amongst them is the Tamil Nadu Women Welfare Board.

A Supportive Family stands behind her
Yasmin is married to Mr. Salim Ahmed, who is retired from his post as Southern India Manager from Ms. Sarabhai Pharmaceuticals.  They have two daughters - Mrs. Amina Ahmed who is a postgraduate from Stella Marie's College Chennai (now married and settled in USA) and Ms. Ayesha Ahmed, Engineering graduate, currently doing her 2nd year as a Canadian Commonwealth Scholar in environmental science, in Toronto Canada.

Yasmin Ahmed belongs to a well known and highly educated Muslim family of Karkala/Udupi. Her maternal grandfather (Khan Saheb Haji Syed Hussain) was a leading lawyer and a member of the Legislative Council (MLC) in the erstwhile Madras Presidency Government. He is considered as one of the pioneers of Insurance and Banking industry in South Kanara District and was a close associate of the legendary Dr. T.M.A. Pai of Manipal. Her great-grandfather, Khan Bahadur Haji Abdulla Saheb was a leading entrepreneur /philanthropist of Udupi and founded the Corporation Bank.  At the turn of the century, he was bestowed with the honour of being one of the millennium men from South India.  Mrs. Yasmin is also the niece of Prof. S.A. Hussain, an internationally known Ornithologist and Dr. Mrs. Naseema Qayum, a well known Historian.  Post retirement, Yasmin Ahmed has been frequently visiting her ancestral home based in Karkala.

Professional Posts held
1968 to 1969: Lecturer, English literature, SIET Women's College, Chennai
1969: Selected to Indian Administrative Service (IAS), followed by training at IAS Academy, Mussorie.
1970: Posted to Tamil Nadu Cadre. Sub Collector, North Arcot district.
1971 – 2002:

  • Dy Secretary, Industries dept, Tamil Nadu Govt
  • Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, TN Govt.
  • Secretary, Small Scale Industries, TN Govt
  • Commissioner, Madras City Corporation
  • Commissioner, Commercial Taxes, TN Govt
  • Collector, Madras
  • Chairperson, Tamil Nadu Cement Corporation
  • Chairperson, Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation
  • Chairperson, Madras Export Promotion Zone (Govt of India)
In the year June 2001, was appointed to the prestigious post of Chairperson, Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC), a post held for the complete tenure of 6 years, till final retirement in 2007.
Important assignments (National and International)
  1. 1985: Leading Tamil Nadu Govt delegation to study cement manufacturing and fabrication to UK, Sweden, German, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, France and Yugoslavia.
  2. 1990: As Health Secretary, Govt of Tamil Nadu & Member of Indian delegation to UNO/WHO Health and Family welfare conference, Indonesia, WHO international conference on AIDS, Australia &  Family planning methods in Middle East and North African Countries.
  3. 1991:  United Kingdom – IAS Officers delegation.
  4. 1998:  Harvard University to study VAT systems in USA and Canada
  5. 2004:  London, as a member of India's State Public Service Commissions to study British Administrative methods.
  6. 2006:  Leading a four Indian States PSC delegation to Australia.
Chaired Southern Indian states PSC outputs to the Central Administrative Reforms Committee report to Government of India.
List of Honors and awards
Outstanding Woman Bureaucrat award presented by the Governor of Tamil Nadu.
"Shakespeare award" from Shakespeare Club, Chennai, a reputed organization,  devoted to Shakespearean works & English literature. 

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  1. If a person to be born; they have to be like this. Its a proud for her and the country as well.

  2. It is a great and happy movement for her. The success what she got, is motivational for all the persons although they are boys are girls. It shows that if you want to do then nothing impossible.
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  3. A truly wonderful person whose career, achievements and dedication would be a good source of motivation and inspiration to all the aspiring youngsters. / Mujahed

  4. Mrs Yasmeen Ahmed's younger sister was a MDS postgraduate who did BDS at the Dental Wing of Medical College & GGH, Chennai and MDS at The Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital, Chennai. She retired as Professor and Head of Oral Pathology at the Tamil Nadu Government Dental College and Hospital in 2007. Unfortunately, she and her husband died due to Covid-19 on succeeding days in the month of April 2021.

    1. also Dr. Shaheen Ahmed, MDS 's son dr parvez passed away Dated 26-04-2021, due to Covid-19 at the Stanley Medical College Hospital, Royapuram, Chennai.

  5. May Allah grant them highest place in Jannah Ameen

  6. Family lawyers in Chennai is the body of law that governs domestic relationships, such as marriage and divorce, child care, and related economic issues.