Considered a pioneer in the power sector, Seema Gupta is among the first few women electrical engineers in the country to work for the development of power transmission projects. Gupta recently took over as director, operations, at Powergrid and is responsible for strategic decision-making on operations and maintenance of Powergrid’s transmission network, which is key to achieving the government’s mission of “One Nation, One Grid, One Price”. She is also responsible for the development of the National Transmission Asset Management Centre.
A graduate from the Delhi College of Engineering, Gupta has 34 years’ experience, working for marquee organisations like NTPC, where she started her career, and Powergrid. She has served in several roles such as head, international business; chief operating officer (CTU); regional head, Northern Region-1; and executive director, corporate monitoring group and commercial departments at Powergrid. She has carried out all her assignments with full dedication and keeps them close to her heart.
Gupta notes that several recent initiatives such as the Saubhagya scheme and the 175 GW renewable energy target will have a huge impact on the transmission segment. “It puts a big responsibility on us to ensure reliability and reduce T&D losses.” Powergrid is preparing for these challenges by inducting technologies like 1,200 kV UHVAC and ±800 kV HVDC links, superconducting magnetic energy storage systems and high temperature superconducting cables. Gupta says she has earned a reputation as a turnaround leader and a “go-to” person. As a leader with a belief in never quitting, she is a source of encouragement for women colleagues. She has also received the Outstanding Women Manager Award from former president Pranab Mukherjee.
Gupta was raised in a family of four sisters and credits her parents for encouraging her to break stereotypes. She has tried to inculcate the same in her daughters, both professionals. Her husband too has always encouraged her to follow her dreams. Gupta tries to maximise the little spare time she has to be with her family. “I leave my director hat at the door of my house and enter as a family member,” she says. She enjoys reading and is now trying her hand at golf. She also wants to learn swimming. “I hope it helps me paddle through rough waters,” she says with a laugh.