Dr. Beela Rajesh is an Indian bureaucrat who came at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Tamil Nadu as the Tamil Nadu Health Secretary. She became a regular face of the Tamil Nadu government to give updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic at press conferences.
Beela Rajesh was born on Saturday, 15 November 1969 SUPREMO (age 50 years; as in 2019) in Madras (now Chennai), Tamil Nadu. After her senior secondary schooling, she completed her MBBS in Medicine from Madras Medical College (MMC). SUPREMO After her MBBS, Beela started preparing for the civil services. In 1997, she cleared the UPSC Examination and became an IAS officer.
Height (approx.): 5′ 3″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Family & Caste
Beela Rajesh belongs to a highly influential family of Madras.
Parents & Siblings
Beela Rajesh’s mother, Rani Venkatesan, a native of Nagercoil, was a senior Congress politician in Tamil Nadu who also served as an MLA. Beela’s father, SN Venkatesan is a retired Director General of Police.
Relationships, Husband & Children
Dr. Beela Rajesh got married to Rajesh Das, an IPS officer from Odisha, in 1992.
The couple has two daughters – Pinky and Preethu.
Dr. Beela Rajesh is a 1997 Batch IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre. After completing her training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussorie, she was initially posted in Bihar. Later, she was posted in Jharkhand, before getting a transfer to her hometown, Tamil Nadu. After her first posting as the Assistant Collector in the Bhojpur district of Bihar, she went on to serve in different capacities in Bihar, Jharkhand, and Tamil Nadu governments, such as Sub-Collector of Chengalpattu, Commissioner of Fisheries, and Commissioner for Town and Country Planning. Before her posting as the Principal Secretary of Health in Tamil Nadu, she was serving as the Commissioner for Indian Medicine and Homeopathy in Tamil Nadu.
- Assistant Collector: Bhojpur, Bihar (from 1 September 1997 to 1 March 2000)
- Under Secretary: Finance Department (from 1 March 2000 to 1 July 2000)
- Assistant Collector: Tamil Nadu; the district is not specified (from 11 July 2000 to 1 January 2001)
- Assistant Collector: Tamil Nadu, the district is not specified (1 January 2001 to 24 May 2001)
- Special Officer: Tamil Nadu (Inter-Cadre Deputation) (from 24 May 2001 to 24 August 2002)
- Additional Director: Social Welfare Department, Tamil Nadu (from 24 August 2002 to 21 June 2003)
- Deputy Secretary: Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department (from 21 June 2003 to 24 July 2003)
- Director: Education Department (from 25 July 2003 to 24 August 2003)
- Joint Secretary: Chief Minister’s Sectt (from 25 August 2003 to 9 February 2004)
- Deputy Commissioner: Dhanbad, Jharkhand (from 10 February 2004 to 31 December 2005)
- Collector: Dhanbad, Jharkhand (from 1 January 2006 to 2 May 2007)
- Managing Director: M/o Textiles Handloom Exp Promotion Cl (HEPC) Chennai (from 2 May 2007 to 2 May 2014)
- Executive Director: M/o Textiles Handloom Exp Promotion Cl (HEPC) Chennai (from 2 May 2007 to 1 May 2012)
- Joint Secretary: Jharkhand (from 3 May 2014 to 19 May 2014)
- Joint Secretary: Tamil Nadu (from 19 May 2014 to 29 May 2017)
- Commissioner: Town & Country Planning, Tamil Nadu (from 30 May 2017 to 23 December 2018)
- Commissioner: Medicines/Health & Family Welfare, Chennai (from 24 December 2018 to 16 February 2019)
- Health Secretary: Tamil Nadu (from 17 February 2019 – present)
- On 17 February 2019, Dr. Beela Rajesh was appointed as the Health Secretary of Tamil Nadu, in a major reshuffle of IAS officers.
- Soon after her joining as the Health Secretary of Tamil Nadu, she started facing challenges in the health system of the state. First, she faced public outrage after nine maternal deaths due to infected blood and then, in April 2019, she had to confront the doctors who failed to record rape after they examined the body of a deceased Adivasi girl in Dharmapuri district, which was followed by strikes from doctors and nurses in Tamil Nadu. While talking about theses challenges faced by Dr. Beela Rajesh, a senior journalist in the state says –
These are big challenges for an IAS officer who has just come to the post. But she handled it with an iron fist. An inquiry was launched into the maternal deaths, cases were filed against the doctors who failed to record rape, and medical practitioners who failed to report to duty were transferred. She made it clear that breach of protocol is not okay.” The News Minute
- When Beela was appointed as the Health Secretary of Tamil Nadu, it came as a surprise to many in the state, for she had never managed a portfolio this crucial.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, she became a regular face of the Tamil Nadu government at press conferences. She received both praise and brickbats for dealing with the pandemic in the state. While talking about her impatient attitude to answer the questions asked during her media interactions, a senior television journalist said,
She has never had to handle the media or such a large battalion of officers under her. And this sometimes reflects in her impatient attitude towards any questions about her decisions or work during this pandemic.” The News Minute
- Although a source in the Chief Minister’s office of Tamil Nadu admits that there have been some shortfalls while dealing with the pandemic in the state, he commends Dr. Beela Rajesh for her communication skills and says that she has done her job ably. He says,
Her job is to give the statistics and she is doing that. I agree that she does not come across as accessible but that is just her nature. She is known to be curt and limited within bureaucratic circles, even to those that she has to report to.”
- Many in the Tamil Nadu government believe that her medical background helped her getting the post of Health Secretary. While talking about it in an interview, a retired bureaucrat said,
As someone who understands the subject, Dr Beela Rajesh, will have a firm grasp over what is happening.”
- Dr. Beela Rajesh is known for her curt replies and impatience. While talking about her attitude, a subordinate of Beela says,
- While talking about her less tolerant and unapproachable persona, a retired bureaucrat says,
As an administrator, Dr Beela Rajesh is very efficient, no doubt. Any issue that comes to her notice is immediately taken care of. However her colleagues have mentioned that they find the atmosphere difficult to work in as the Secretary is not as approachable as her predecessors.” The News Minute