US-returned techie heads gram panchayat in Davanagere | Bengaluru News – Times of India

DAVANAGERE: From coding in tech labs to decoding democracy at its elementary level, a woman software engineer who had a five-year stint in the US now heads a gram panchayat in Davanagere’s Jagalur taluk, about 250km from Bengaluru.
Swathi Thippeswamy studied BE in information science and engineering from PESIT, Bengaluru. During frequent visits to her ancestral village Sokke in Davanagere district over the years, she came face to face with development gaps in rural areas. That’s when she decided to contest gram panchayat elections. She is the fourth-generation Sokke panchayat president from her paternal side.

On Monday, she was elected president of panchayat for a two-and-a-half-year term. The panchayat has four villages in its jurisdiction and gets funds and grants directly from the rural development and panchayat raj department of Karnataka government. The panchayat has 18 members.

A big push – and encouragement — to contest the panchayat elections came from her family members and elders in the village. Soon after she was elected president, 32-year-old Swathi converted part of the family property in the village into an office to facilitate meetings with villagers and officers.


The newly minted president said basic amenities — drinking water, sanitation, transportation, and education for all — were still a luxury in the hinterland. “I’d like to streamline delivery of basic services to all my constituents, besides introducing villagers to the concept of library and information science,” she told TOI.
She lives in Bengaluru with husband Sujay SM and their two children. Her father Thippeswamy was an officer in Vidhana Soudha and took VRS last year. Thippeswamy said his grandfather Thippaiah headed Sokke village from 1920 to 1931 and was a revenue inspector during the British regime. Later, Thippeswamy’s father G Maddanaiah was chairman of Sokke panchayat from 1965 to 1970. Recently, Thippeswamy’s nephew HM Kotraiah was president of the panchayat for a two-year term.

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Sagar Biswas

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