90% blind IAS officer gives 100% to his job -Alok K N Mishra
-The Times of India
The person who finalised recruitment rules pending for about 30 years in a civic body, made it possible for hundreds of employees to be promoted and leads work on improving the ranking of South Delhi Municipal Corporation in Swachh Survekshan 2018 is an IIM graduate. He is also 90% blind.
Aman Gupta, a 2013 batch IAS officer of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories) cadre, works with the assistance of a stand-mounted American video magnifier that helps the visually impaired read.
Gupta has juvenile macular degeneration, a medical condition that has no known cure. His vision is now so poor that he finds it difficult to distinguish people by their features. The broad smile on his face hides the pain he has felt since his vision began to degenerate. Gupta used to ride a bike when he was in Class 12. First, his eyes stopped seeing the cursor on the computer; then he couldn't see a cricket ball arcing through the air; and soon after he found it difficult to read the text on the classroom blackboard. In 2002, he learnt at AIIMS that he had developed juvenile macular degeneration which, over the years, has left him with just about 10% of normal sight.
In Delhi, where two bureaucrats committed suicide this year over stress and illness and students have killed themselves on getting low marks, Gupta challenging life, rather than the other way round, is exemplary. "I failed to clear UPSC in 2012 for which I prepared with audio books. I devoted more time and got a 57th all-India rank in the general category," Gupta, a BTech, said. He currently holds three important positions — director (personnel), additional director (education) and secretary to the SDMC commissioner. Earlier, he was deputy commissioner (west zone), and before that he was with the Delhi government as the SDM for Chanakyapuri.
A few officials have found it doesn't pay to be too clever where Gupta is concerned. When he headed the west zone as deputy commissioner, some would sometimes stealthily leave the meeting hall while he thought they were seated. When told, he immediately issued showcause notices to the erring officials. When Gupta was new to the SDMC, an officer felt offended when he did not respond to his offer of a handshake. "I could not see that he wanted a handshake. I later told him that I was 90% blind," Gupta said.
Reading with the assistance of a video magnifier takes around 200% more time. But it isn't often you'll find his desk groaning under unfinished files. Visuals of Gupta, his face often buried in his video magnifier, and sometimes of his hands feeling around the desk in search of a bell to press for a glass of water, or seeking a pen or a mobile phone, testify to his immense willpower and patience. He is one of the top officials in SDMC's education department, responsible for managing 600 schools and 2.5 lakh students. SDMC commissioner Puneet Kumar Goel said Gupta was very meticulous.
The Times of India, 28 December, 2017, please click here to access
The Times of India, 28 December, 2017, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/90-blind-ias-officer-gives-100-to-his-job/articleshow/62274722.cms?from=mdr