Never give up on your dreams-UPSC toppers from Bengal proved just that on Monday. Ankita Agarwal, who secured the second position in the civil services examination 2021, said this was her third shot at the exams. She was selected in the IRS in her first attempt. From Kolkata, Ankita studied economics at St Stephen’s College, Delhi.
Dum Dum resident Shubham Shukla, who has secured the 43rd rank, gushed, “I pinched myself when I saw my name so high up on the list. This is my fourth try and for the first time, I have made it to the interview. It felt like I had cracked it at the first go.”
Indrashis Dutta, ranked 94th, is from Midnapore and a Ramakrishnamission Narendrapur alumni. For him, it was the third attempt. IIT-Kharagpur alumna Diya Goldar, who has bagged the 612th rank, made it in her first attempt.
Shukla, who trained from Bengal government’s Satyendranath Tagore Civil Services Study Centre, with political science and IR as his optional subjects, was apparently not much bothered by the pandemic upsetting the exam schedule. The 27-year-old engineer from BITS Pilani, attempting the UPSC since 2018, said, “As I mostly prepared from basic books and readily available materials, the pandemic didn’t hurt.” Speaking from Delhi, where he did the last lap of his IAS coaching, he said, “Now I will return to my hobbies, football and video games.”
Guruprasad Dutta (65), father of Indrashis (27) is overwhelmed with joy. “After finishing Bachelor of Science Research from IISC Bangalore, my son went to the US and Switzerland on the Har Govind Khurana scholarship, did his PG from Israel and got many offers. But he chose to return to India.” For Indrashis, civil service was a dream. “My 318 AIR in 2020 got me Indian Defence Accounts Service. I was determined to upgrade. I hoped to figure among the first 50, but 94 is a decent improvement.”
The most overwhelmed among the youngsters is the 24-year-old Behala resident, Diya. “I am at a loss for words,” said the fresh graduate from IIT-Kharagpur, from where she has a dual BTech-MTech degree. “The exams were deferred, and the Prelims-Mains gap decreased. As I was doing everything for the first time, I was tense.”
The pandemic batch did struggle a lot, agreed Jyotirmoy Pal Chaudhuri, academic consultant, Satyendranath Tagore Civil Services Study Centre. “Most of the teaching was online. Towards the end, our chairman, former DGP Surajit Kar Purkayastha, helped organize four mock interviews. We hope our students in the next session will do even better.”
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “Heartiest congratulations to Shruti Sharma, Ankita Agarwal, Gamini Singla, Aishwarya Verma for securing the top four positions in Civil Services Examination, 2021. You have done us really proud. Best wishes to all who have cleared the exam and would be entering public services to serve the country. To those who could not make it this time, my best wishes for their future endeavours.”