Dr. Kiran Bedi

Award Year: 2017 | Degree Year: 1993


Dr. Kiran Bedi received her Doctorate in Philosophy (Ph.D.) from Department of Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in 1993.

Dr. Bedi joined the Indian Police Service in 1972. She is the first woman to join the Indian Police Service (IPS). She won the President’s Police Medal in 1979. Her tenure as Police officer is noted for her successful crusade against the crimes against women, campaign against drug abuse and alcohol consumption. She is also remembered for a firm and very efficient traffic management in her capacity as Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) during the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi and the 1983 CHOGM meet in Goa. In May 1993, she was posted to the Delhi Prisons as Inspector General (IG) where she introduced several reforms at Tihar Jail, which gained worldwide acclaim. In 2003, Dr. Bedi became the first woman to be appointed the United Nations civilian police adviser. Before her retirement from the police service in 2007, she served as the Director General of the Bureau of Police Research and Development. At present Dr. Kiran Bedi is the Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry.

Dr. Bedi is particularly know for her work in the field of prison reforms. During her stint as IG (Prisons), Dr. Bedi introduced several impactful reforms. Separate barracks were arranged for the hardened criminals, who are engaged in illegal activities even from the Prison premises. For other prisoners, vocational training was arranged with certificates, so that they could find a job after their release. Centers of Indira Gandhi National Open University and National Open School were set up inside the prison. Legal cells were set up to help the under trials, smoking was banned in the prison and yoga and Vipassana meditation classes were introduced to change the prisoners’ attitudes. A de-addiction center was established, a bank was opened and a bakery and small manufacturing units, including carpentry and weaving units, were set up in the jail. The profits from the products sold were put into the prisoners’ welfare fund. Dr. Bedi developed a panchayat system, where prisoners who were respected for their age, education, or character represented other inmates and met every evening with senior officers to sort out problems. Dr. Bedi founded Navjyoti India Foundation in the year 1988 and India Vision Foundation in 1994. The former was founded with the idea of promoting welfare policing and the latter was set up to work in the field of prison reforms, crime prevention, education, rural development.

Dr. Bedi’s reform programme at Tihar received worldwide acclaim. In 1994, Bedi was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award and the Nehru Fellowship. The Magsaysay Foundation recognized her leadership and innovations in crime control, drug rehabilitation, and humane prison reform. Amongst the many other awards conferred upon her are L’OREAL Paris FEMINA WOMEN’s AWARDS, 2014 for SOCIAL IMPACT, Nomura Cares Award, Singapore (11th June 2013 ), Certificate of Recognition, Los Angeles, State of California, UN medal 2004, Morrison Tom Gitchoff Award, 2001, Asia Region Award for Drug Prevention and Control, 1991, President’s Gallantry Award, 1979.

In honouring Dr. Kiran Bedi, IIT Delhi recognizes the outstanding contribution made by her in Public Services and Policy. Through her achievements, Dr. Bedi has brought glory to the name of the Institute.