Senior IAS officer K Ratna Prabha was on Tuesday appointed as the new chief secretary, making her the third woman to hold the top post.
Ratna Prabha, a 1981-batch cadre, will replace Subhash Chandra Khuntia as the state's seniormost IAS officer. Khuntia will retire on November 30.
With about four months left for retirement, Ratna Prabha pipped IAS officers Latha Krishna Rau and S K Pattanayak, who were in the race for the post. Karnataka has had two women chief secretaries in the past - Theresa Bhattacharya and Malati Das. Ratna Prabha will also be the state's first Dalit woman chief secretary.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah congratulated Ratna Prabha on Twitter. "Karnataka's administration (civil and police) is now headed by two women," Siddaramaiah tweeted, referring to state police chief Neelamani N Raju, who was appointed earlier this month.
Ratna Prabha hails from a family of IAS officers and doctors. While her father was an IAS officer, her mother was a doctor. Her oldest brother is a plastic surgeon, while her second brother, Pradeep Chandra, retired recently as Telangana chief secretary.
She spent the first 14 years in the Karnataka cadre, in which time she became the first woman district collector at Raichur and Bidar. She became synonymous with women empowerment when she distributed irrigated land to rehabilitate devadasis in Raichur.
She also had a stint in Andhra Pradesh on an inter-state deputation. She anchored Andhra Pradesh's IT policy in 2005.
Ratna Prabha was considered for the post twice earlier, but Arvind Jadhav and Khuntia were appointed instead. BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa had publicly demanded Ratna Prabha be made the chief secretary.
Ratna Prabha is penning a book on her journey as an IAS officer.