Of the 761 recommended by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which conducts the annual exam for selection to civil services including IAS and IPS, 216 or 28.3% are women. In fact, just like in 2019, 12 among the top 25 rank-holders are women. Among the successful women candidates is also Ria Dabi, sister of Tina Dabi, the topper of Civil Services Exam 2015.
The percentage of women recommended for the civil services this year is better than the last three years, having risen from 24.2% in 2017, 23.9% in 2018 and 23.7% in 2019. The recommended candidates this year also include 25 people with benchmark disability.
Delhi bagged five places in the top 20 and Bihar three, including the Number 1 rank. Three positions in the top 20 have gone to candidates from Kerala.
Shubham Kumar is an IIT-Bombay graduate. This was his third attempt, after having been selected to Indian Defence Accounts Service in the second attempt in 2019. Shubham told TOI that while he was expecting to figure in the merit list this year, he never imagined that he would top the exam. Having sought Bihar cadre as his first preference, Shubham, a civil engineer, wants to work in areas like flood relief, food-processing, health, education and also improve the economic condition of people of his state.
“I give credit to my family, especially my parents, and my close friends for encouraging me. It was when I joined IIT, Powai that I had a chance to be in leadership positions. That is when I realised how making a change can give you satisfaction, and I started seriously looking at a career in the civil services. I started preparing for the exam in my final year and would study 7-8 hours a day, on an average,” he told TOI.
Jagrati Awasthi, a BTech in electrical engineering from MANIT Bhopal, said it felt great to be the topper among women and also No. 2 rank-holder. “If given equal opportunity, what is it that women cannot do? With the support of family and others, they can do wonders,” she said.
Jagrati, who worked for two years in BHEL before quitting her job to prepare for the civil services, said she would like to work for rural development in Madhya Pradesh, which happens to be her first choice for cadre.
Jagrati said her parents delayed buying a TV for four years, as first her brother, a MBBS student, was preparing for NEET, and then for her. Incidentally, Jagrati had failed to clear the prelims exam in her first attempt, this being her second.
An ecstatic Ria Dabi, who has a degree in political science from Delhi’s LSR College, cleared the civil services exam in her first attempt, much like her sister Tina Dabi, who had topped the exam in 2015. She told TOI that while Tina did guide her during her preparation, she would give the credit for her success to her parents, especially her mother who had always wanted her daughters to join civil services.
“I chose civil services as it gives you an opportunity to connect with the people. One gets a sense of satisfaction by working for welfare of citizens,” Ria said adding that she wants to serve in Rajasthan just like her sister. “I would like to focus on women empowerment, health and education,” she said.
As many as 10,40,060 candidates applied for civil services exam 2020, of which 4,82,770 appeared. Only 10,564 qualified for appearance in the mains examination and 2,053 underwent personality test based on which 761 candidates were recommended for appointment to various services.