Tukaram H. Mundhe is a 2005-batch IAS officer of Maharashtra cadre. He is famous for being one of the most honest and courageous IAS officers.
Tukaram Mundhe was born on Tuesday, 3 June 1975 (age 45 years; as in 2020), in Tadsona, a small village located in Beed district of Maharashtra. His full name is Tukaram Haribhau Mundhe, while his zodiac sign is Gemini. Tukaram’s childhood days were full of struggle. Born into a farmer family, Mundhe started lending a hand to his family in the farming activities at a tender age of 8. He used to start off his day doing the early morning work on the farms followed by school, then he would come back and work in the fields again till the evening. From fencing to digging wells, from sowing seeds to selling farm produce in the weekly vegetable market, he did everything.
He regularly did hefty tasks on the farms until he completed his 10th class. It was after finishing his 10th class from a local Zilla Parishad Primary School in Beed district, that he moved out of his village to pursue his higher studies in Aurangabad, where his elder brother was also studying. On his brother’s advice, he did his intermediate studies in science stream. After that, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Sociology, and History in 1996, from the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad. After doing his graduation, he went to Mumbai’s State Institute of Administrative Career (a government-funded coaching institute) and started preparing for civil services examination. Simultaneously, he enrolled in a college in Mumbai for a post-graduation course in political science. After failing for three times, Mundhe cleared the State Civil Services Exam (MPSC) on his fourth attempt in 2001 and got posted as a second-class officer in the finance department. He didn’t stop there. After eight years of rigorous hard work and constant efforts, he cracked the UPSC Civil Services Examination 2004 on his final attempt, achieving 20th rank across India. Subsequently, he got selected as an IAS officer and was allotted Maharashtra cadre.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Black
Family & Caste
Parents & Siblings
His parents, Haribhau Mundhe (father) & Aasrabai Mundhe are farmers.
His elder brother, Ashok Mundhe, was the first graduate and civil servant from his village. It was him, from whom Tukaram drew inspiration to become an IAS officer.
Relationship & Children
Tukaram is married and has two children with his wife, Archana Mundhe — Agastya Mundhe (son) and Ashana Mundhe (daughter).
After completing his training On 22 August 2005, Tukaram was appointed as the Supernumerary Assistant Collector of Solapur. He started off his duty by eliminating the illegal activities in Solapur. On the fourth day of his service in Solapur, he raided and sealed a bar owned by a powerful local politician, wherein illegal activities were being performed. After that, as a part of his training, he was posted as the Chief Officer of the Municipality of Barshi Block in Solapur. While serving on the post, he put a halt on several illegal activities being undertaken under his area. He removed over 15000 unauthorised encroachments in the district which were blocking the roads meant for public mobility. A variety of incidents occurred while he performed his duty. He recalls,
While the demolition of an unauthorised liquor shop was in progress, a person threatened to set himself afire if the demolition continued. Mundhe knew that if he stopped, the demolition drive would stop too. He asked an officer to record the video and then arrest him on account of threatening to commit suicide.”
After completing his training, Tukaram took charge as the Assistant Collector of Deglur, Nanded in September 2007. Then, after serving there for around four months, he was transferred to Nagpur as the CEO of Zilla Parishad. Right after being posted as the CEO of Nagpur Zilla Parishad in 2008, he visited some government schools on the same day. He saw that several teachers were absent from schools with any prior notice, all of those teachers were suspended the next day. He also suspended some doctors after seeing irregularities in the medical care of government hospitals in the district.
Although, he fought against corruption, solved a variety of public problems, and worked for public welfare wherever he was posted, getting transferred from one place to another also became a regular part of his career.
In his career, there have been several occasions when politicians have united against Tukaram Mundhe demanding his transfer. However, citizens impressed by his work have often come to his rescue. A similar incident took place in June 2020, when an INC MLA and Maharashtra assembly speaker, Nana Patole demanded transfer of Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe, seeing the situation the citizens of Orange City launched an online petition — People’s Confidence Motion — to show their support to the civic chief. Over 5000 people signed the petition. The Times of India The petition didn’t help and Tukaram got transferred from Nagpur to Mumbai, which was his 15th transfer in 15 years of his career. The Indian Express
Walk With Commissioner
In 2016, during his tenure as Navi Mumbai Municipal Commissioner, the program “Walk With Commissioner” became popular. Under this initiative, Tukaram Mundhe, along with senior officials, interacted with the public in different areas every Sunday.
The public would tell about the problems in their locality, give feedback about work in their area, and also provide suitable suggestions to make things better. He recognised and improved the traffic congestion in Navi Mumbai by developing proper parking facility, focused on ease of doing business and cashless initiatives, worked with the public in the management of solid waste, etc.
Tukaram suspended many officers because of misconduct and irregularities in work. His work on the ground, not only made citizens of Navi Mumbai happy but also angered many.
IAS Tukaram Mundhe has made vital contributions to bring transparency and accountability to Public Administration. Although, in his career, there have been several instances which have sparked controversies. Here are a few of them:
- In October 2016, a no-confidence motion was passed against Tukaram Mundhe by the corporators who were the elected representatives of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC). The corporators alleged that Tukaram didn’t respect the elected representatives. They further described Tukaram to be of a dictatorial style who only believed in bureaucracy and did not believe in democratic values, and these were the reasons a no-confidence motion was passed against him. The Financial Express
- In August 2018, elected representatives of Nashik Municipal corporation (NMC) led by BJP passed a no-confidence motion against Tukaram Mundhe. The letter alleged Tukaram to be taking decisions arbitrarily without bringing elected representatives into confidence. Speaking on the issue, Tukaram Mundhe said,
I have worked only as per law. My system of work does not threaten anyone, but is based on prioritisation. In addition, it is time-bound and hence, result-oriented. I believe that this no-confidence motion is not against me but against good governance. Last six months I have been trying to put the systems in place. I have been working with utmost transparency. This work is process-driven and result oriented.” The Hindustan Times
- On 8 June 2020, Ganeshpeth Police Station registered an FIR against the then civic chief Tukaram Mundhe for violating the lockdown restrictions by attending an event attended by 200 people which risking the transmission of Covid-19. The Times of India
- On 28 June 2020, a former officer of Nagpur Smart and Sustainable City Development Corporation Ltd (NSSCDCL) lodged a police complaint against Tukaram Mundhe for humiliation and harassment. She wrote in her complaint that Mundhe wanted her to reveal some internal information about NSSCDCL department, to which she disagreed. This made Mundhe furious, and he started harassing her by making derogatory comments. The Times of India
Awards and Honors
- He received the “Best Collector” award by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra for all-round performance for the year 2015-16.
- Waterman of India by the CM in the Administrative category by IBN Lokmat in 2016.
- The “Indian Express Excellence in Governance Award” that celebrated the finest work done by DMs across the country.
- Mundhe’s batch mates consider him as one of the most honest and high-principled officers, but lacking in a realistic approach. One of his batchmates said,
During our interaction with him, we always told him not to stretch certain issues too much. He did not heed our advice and now he is paying the price. We are in a democratic setup, we cannot ignore elected representatives. Transfer is part of Indian bureaucracy but 15 transfers in 15 years of service appear bad.”
- Mundhe considers that there is an inner push in him that encourages him to be a leader. He says,
I ask myself, if I cannot, who else can? Being an IAS officer, if I cannot transform systems, if I cannot give them (citizen) leadership, if I cannot give them motivation, then who else can?”
- Mundhe regards his commitment as his biggest strength, and his high speed as his weakness because it often embarrasses many people who work with him.
- Quite early in his career, there came several occasions when he found himself stuck in a dilemma of whether what he was doing is right or wrong. Mundhe then came up with a three-point checklist, to help him overcome his dilemma. He made three points — his action has to be legal, it has to be ethically correct, and it should be in the public interest. If his action was validated by any of the two points from the checklist, including the compulsory point of the legality of his action, he would go ahead with his decision.
- While being posted as the Assistant Collector of Degloor, Mundhe imposed hefty fines on the illegal sand miners in the area. He used to conduct random raids in the area of mining. The stubborn miners became so alert that they distributed money and mobiles to the small shopkeepers outside Tukaram’s office. The shopkeepers took note of Tukaram’s whereabouts and provided the information to the miners.
- In July 2018, an episode featuring Tukaram Munde aired on Tedx Talks YouTube channel, wherein he has talked about his inspiring and thought-provoking journey. He told people to be the change that they want to see in society.
- On 25 August 2020, while working as the Nagpur Civil Chief, Tukaram contracted Covid-19.
Dear All, I have tested positive for #COVID19. I am asymptomatic and have isolated myself as per the protocol & guidelines.Request everyone who have come in my contact for last 14 days to get tested.
I am Working from Home to control #pandemic situation in Nagpur.
We shall win
— Tukaram Mundhe (@Tukaram_IndIAS) August 25, 2020