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When Disability, Poverty Were No Hurdles -Differently abled leads as women bag UPSC top 4 slots

Dawn of a new Ira:
New Delhi:
TNN

 

Singhal Cleared Test Thrice, Was Denied Posting
imggallery
While the glass ceiling in the civil services was broken long ago, it was resoundingly shattered on Saturday when women secured the top four positions in the Union Pu blic Service Commission (UPSC) examination 2014, with the No 1 rank-holder, Ira Singhal, also being a differently abled achiever, which is a first.Delhi has a big reason to celebrate as three of the top five in the merit list are residents, while another is an alumnus of a top city school.

What would be particularly satisfying for Ira, who is af flicted by a spine-related disorder called Noonan syndrome, is that she thrice cracked the exams in 2010, 2011 and 2013, only to be denied a posting by the department of personnel and training (DoPT) in view of her “disability“, which was evaluated at 62%.

Ira’s appeal was finally upheld by the Central Administrative Tribunal in Febru ary 2014, but even then she got her posting in the lower-inladder Indian Revenue Service in December 2014. Union Public Service Commission topper Ira Singhal said her repeated attempts at clearing the civil services were “never to prove a point against being denied the posting due to my physical disability , but to prove my desire to work for the country“.

Speaking to TOI from Hyderabad, Ira said, “I’d really like to work towards making our society more inclusive for persons with disability . Disability cannot be a handicap to our ability to perform, but our attitude to PWD can demoralize them.India’s growth story lies in inclusiveness.“

An MBA graduate from FMS, Delhi University , Ira chose civil services over multinational companies, where she had worked earlier at much higher perks and sala ry. “Working for the country is the biggest perk.“ The ranking order reads Ira Singhal, Renu Raj, Nidhi Gupta, Vandana Rao, followed by Suhar sha Bhagat, who sportingly claims that he is still the top , ranker among males. In all, 1,236 candidates have been recommended for appointment to IAS, IPS, IFS and other top services.

The successful candidates were congratulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.“My best wishes as you begin the journey to serve the nation,“ he tweeted.

Minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh is expected to felicitate the top 10 rank-holders on Monday .

Renu Raj, a doctor from Kottayam in Kerala, made it to the second position in her very first attempt. “I expected to be in the merit list but the second rank is a pleasant surprise,“ Renu, who is married, told TOI from Kottayam.

“Civil services have been childhood dream. I went by the advice of my family and got a professional degree (MBBS) before taking the exam. I started preparing a year ago and here I am,“ Renu said.

An elated Nidhi Gupta, the No 3 position holder and an IRS officer, said the news is yet to sink in.

“It feels great,“ she said, adding that although a software engineer who worked for an MNC before joining IRS, it was her desire to be in public service. “I want to work for better delivery of services and also be involved in policy making later in my career,“ she said.

Vandana Rao, with a computer engineering degree from Kurukshetra University, said it is feels “incredible“ to be among the top five.

The 24-year-old, who was on her second attempt, said being a woman gave a certain perspective to delivery of public service. “I would like to work for the disadvantaged. Also, since I live in Delhi, I want to do something to make the city safer for women,“ she said.

Suharsha Bhagat of Sa mastipur in Bihar is the sole male candidate in the top five.“The women have done great.But I am still the topper in the male category ,“ he said lightheartedly .

An alumni of IIT Mumbai, he too is an IRS officer. “The job profile of an IAS officer is more challenging than any profession you can begin with,“ he said.

Ira’s parents said, “She has done world tour alone.She is no less in capability. Yet they DoPT deprived her of her career since 2010. Every time we went to DoPT, no senior official would meet us and only junior level officers of the rank of section officers would meet us who didn’t speak properly.

“Now she is of the same rank, but I can assure you she will never say no to someone who would want to meet her. That’s her personality and upbringing.“

Kerala doc takes second rank in first attempt
Singhal Cleared Test Thrice, Was Denied Posting
While the glass ceiling in the civil services was broken long ago, it was resoundingly shattered on Saturday when women secured the top four positions in the Union Pu blic Service Commission (UPSC) examination 2014, with the No 1 rank-holder, Ira Singhal, also being a differently abled achiever, which is a first.Delhi has a big reason to celebrate as three of the top five in the merit list are residents, while another is an alumnus of a top city school.

What would be particularly satisfying for Ira, who is af flicted by a spine-related disorder called Noonan syndrome, is that she thrice cracked the exams in 2010, 2011 and 2013, only to be denied a posting by the department of personnel and training (DoPT) in view of her “disability“, which was evaluated at 62%.

Ira’s appeal was finally upheld by the Central Administrative Tribunal in Febru ary 2014, but even then she got her posting in the lower-inladder Indian Revenue Service in December 2014. Union Public Service Commission topper Ira Singhal said her repeated attempts at clearing the civil services were “never to prove a point against being denied the posting due to my physical disability , but to prove my desire to work for the country“.

Speaking to TOI from Hyderabad, Ira said, “I’d really like to work towards making our society more inclusive for persons with disability . Disability cannot be a handicap to our ability to perform, but our attitude to PWD can demoralize them.India’s growth story lies in inclusiveness.“

An MBA graduate from FMS, Delhi University , Ira chose civil services over multinational companies, where she had worked earlier at much higher perks and sala ry. “Working for the country is the biggest perk.“ The ranking order reads Ira Singhal, Renu Raj, Nidhi Gupta, Vandana Rao, followed by Suhar sha Bhagat, who sportingly claims that he is still the top , ranker among males. In all, 1,236 candidates have been recommended for appointment to IAS, IPS, IFS and other top services.

The successful candidates were congratulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.“My best wishes as you begin the journey to serve the nation,“ he tweeted.

Minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh is expected to felicitate the top 10 rank-holders on Monday .

Renu Raj, a doctor from Kottayam in Kerala, made it to the second position in her very first attempt. “I expected to be in the merit list but the second rank is a pleasant surprise,“ Renu, who is married, told TOI from Kottayam.

“Civil services have been childhood dream. I went by the advice of my family and got a professional degree (MBBS) before taking the exam. I started preparing a year ago and here I am,“ Renu said.

An elated Nidhi Gupta, the No 3 position holder and an IRS officer, said the news is yet to sink in.

“It feels great,“ she said, adding that although a software engineer who worked for an MNC before joining IRS, it was her desire to be in public service. “I want to work for better delivery of services and also be involved in policy making later in my career,“ she said.

Vandana Rao, with a computer engineering degree from Kurukshetra University, said it is feels “incredible“ to be among the top five.

The 24-year-old, who was on her second attempt, said being a woman gave a certain perspective to delivery of public service. “I would like to work for the disadvantaged. Also, since I live in Delhi, I want to do something to make the city safer for women,“ she said.

Suharsha Bhagat of Sa mastipur in Bihar is the sole male candidate in the top five.“The women have done great.But I am still the topper in the male category ,“ he said lightheartedly .

An alumni of IIT Mumbai, he too is an IRS officer. “The job profile of an IAS officer is more challenging than any profession you can begin with,“ he said.

Ira’s parents said, “She has done world tour alone.She is no less in capability. Yet they DoPT deprived her of her career since 2010. Every time we went to DoPT, no senior official would meet us and only junior level officers of the rank of section officers would meet us who didn’t speak properly.

“Now she is of the same rank, but I can assure you she will never say no to someone who would want to meet her. That’s her personality and upbringing.“

Jul 05 2015 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
Chandigarh:
Hand paralysed, he still wrote his success story
In one more instance of grit in the face of adversity, a Punjab doctor who suffered a freak injury to his right hand that resulted in nerve palsy in 2012, Sahil Kumar taught himself to write with his left hand and succeeded in clearing the Union Public Service Commission examination.Kumar had lost fine motor movements in his right hand after it got brutally jammed in a window in an accident at home, leaving him without sensation and unable to perform surgery.

But the 25-year-old from Ludhiana taught himself to write again with his left hand and got the 447th rank in the UPSC and is now all set to join the foreign service under the physical disability category.

“The accident and surgeries exhausted me. Two back-to-back grafts for ar tery, skin, muscle and nerve spread over four months were painful. The triumph today is both gratifying and personal redemption,“ Kumar told TOI.

There were exasperating times in the last three years as he struggled to hold a glass of water or ride a bike with friends. On a few occasions, he missed hurting himself or infecting himself with HIV while dealing with patients at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

“I decided to start using my left hand and began with A, B, C,“ said Kumar.

As his left-hand writing improved, he tried to get back to his cricket as well.When 30-minute breaks were taken between four-hour study sessions for the UPSC exam, he would bowl leftarm to young IAS probationers in thecompany of his bureaucrat father Prem Chand, specialsecretary with the Punjab government.

“But my left-hand batting is not the same,“ he adds. “It needed an upper hand grip which is not possible with my right hand.“ But there is no regret when he says he can’t build muscles due to low supply of blood to the hand after the surgeries. Kumar’s 27-year-old National Award-winning filmmaker brother Abhay has shot a documentary called `Placebo’ on the accident and the UPSC preparations so that others come to know about his story of grit.

Among toppers, children of TN cabbie and farmer
Chennai:
Among the 1,236 names on the UPSC final rank list this year is a paralysed cab driver’s daughter and a farmer’s son from Tamil Nadu.C Vanmathi was at her father’s hospital bedside when news of her success arrived on Saturday . Her father, T N Chenniyappan, sustained a debilitating spinal injury just two days after Vanmathi had finished the interview round.But he was beaming proudly when he heard that his daughter secured the 152nd rank in the civil services exam. “I am not well educated and my wife did not go to school. We worked to fulfill my daughter’s wishes,“ said Chenniyappan who was injured in a fall 20 days ago. “I am very happy . Now I’m confident that I will get well soon.“

From a family of cattlerearers in Sathyamangalam, Erode, Vanmathi remembers how she used to sit on the back of a buffalo, imagining herself to be a collector perched in her chair of authority . When she completed her Class 12, relatives suggested that her parents marry her off. “For many people in my village, completing Class 12 was the biggest eligibility for marriage,“ she said. “But I stood second in my school and wanted to study further. I wanted to use my education to improve my family’s situation as well as help society .“

When asked what inspired her to become an IAS officer, Vanmathi said, “ A TV serial.“

“I used to watch the serial `Ganga Yamuna Saraswathi’ in which there was a lady IAS officer and I was awestruck,“ she said.

S Rajesh Kannan, ranked 767, did not have it easy either.From a farmer’s family , Rajesh said his father S Samayanan was his main source of encouragement and would keep him up to date on current affairs. In fact, Rajesh was confident he would clear thefinal round.

28-yr-old from Bihar is topper among men
Patna:
With girls capturing the top four ranks in the Union civil services examination, the topper among boys is ranked fifth.Suharsha Bhagat (28), from Bihar’s Samastipur district, made it to the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) last year. He said that he made a fresh attempt at the prestigious examination so that he could serve his home state as an IAS official.

“It is double joy for me as I have not just made to the IAS but also secured a rank which entitles me to get the home cadre as per my choice,“ said Suharsha, who was selected to Indian Audit and Accounts Service in 2011 and Indian Information Service in 2012. In 2013, he ranked 285 to get into the IRS.

Hard work, confidence, stress-free life and a little bit of luck are what Suharsha lists as the ingredients of his success.“I would be nervous while preparing for the civil services examination earlier. This time I was in a very relaxed frame of mind, which might have helped,“ he said, adding the challenging nature of the job was what made him attempt for the IAS.

Born to Birendra Bhagat, a medical professional, and Madhu Bhagat, a homemaker, Suharsha admits he never thought he would make it to Top five. “That’s something no one can think of. Maybe in Top-100 or so, yes,“ he told TOI over phone from Samastipur.

Suharsha passed Class X from Ramakrishna Mission Vidyapith at Deoghar (now in Jharkhand) and XII from DPS-R K Puram in Delhi after which he studied chemical engineering at IIT-Bombay .

Asked if his background was in any way a hindrance to preparations for the civil services exam, he said, “My subject was geography which also has some technical parts in it.But certain sections, which needed a flair for writing, proved a tad difficult.“ For the civil services aspirants from Bihar, Suharsha says hard work and faith in the Almighty is the key to success.“The number of study hours doesn’t matter. You should have a thorough knowledge of the subject,“ he said.

 http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Gallery.aspx?id=05_07_2015_014_016_008&type=P&artUrl=Third-ranker-an-IRS-officer-gets-it-right-05072015014016&eid=31804

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