Shillong: Living up to its name of a state known for its matrilineal society, Meghalaya on Thursday witnessed Rebecca Suchiang, the first Khasi-Jaintia woman, take over as the state Chief Secretary.

Suchiang is also the second woman chief secretary after PP Trivedi, who was the CS in the late 80s.

Retiring from his post, MS Rao handed over his responsibilities in the presence of the bureaucrats from various departments. Rao took charge on December 31, 2019, and retired on September 30, 2021.

Speaking with media persons, the 1989 batch IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre said she was honoured to get the opportunity to take the chair of the Chief Secretary.

“I am glad that I am the first indigenous (Khasi-Jaintia) woman as the CS but I won’t be the only one; there will be many men and women from Meghalaya,” said Suchiang.

The new CS also stated that there will be challenges in her tenure but she was sure, with the help of colleagues and officers, that she will be able to push the agenda of good governance.

Asked what her priorities will be, Suchiang said there were many but mainly education sector since the sustainable development goals index is low. She added that the state has done a lot on this front and has sanctioned for upgradation of infrastructure of 200 government schools.

“I will personally monitor and ensure these projects are completed on time and check and identify areas we have dropped and try and improve which are lacking in SDG,” added Suchiang.

The newly appointed CS, who was also the Chairman-cum-Managing Director, MeECL, said she would also like to push the agenda for reforms at MeECL both on the distribution and integration front.

Adding that health was also another sector, Suchiang said the state should increase its expenditure on the health department so that human capital can be improved.

“There are few projects which are not taken up and stalled. I plan to put in place a mechanism where we should be able to monitor such existing projects, stalled projects and also projects which we are going to do in the future to ensure that it goes smoothly so that there is no cost overrun and time overrun,” she said.

Asked about the law and order situation and the border row between Assam and Meghalaya, the new chief secretary said it is an ongoing issue and that talks were underway.

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