In CSE 2014, the top four slots had gone to women candidates. As per CSE 2021 results declared by the UPSC on Monday, there are 177 women (25.8%) among the 685 successful candidates recommended to various services. Also, 10 of the top 25 top rankers are women.
The No. 2 and No. 3 slots in the CSE 2021 merit list were respectively bagged by Ankita Agarwal, also a St Stephen’s College graduate under training for the Indian Revenue Service after having cleared the civil services exam in 2018, and Gamini Singla, a B Tech graduate in computer science.
Aishwarya Verma, who hails from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and did his electrical engineering degree in Uttarakhand, is ranked fourth in the merit list and is the topper among male candidates.
PM Narendra Modi congratulated the successful candidates, saying that they “are embarking on their administrative careers at an important time of India’s development journey, when we are marking Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
“I fully understand the disappointment of those who couldn’t clear the Civil Services Exam but I also know that these are outstanding youngsters who will make a mark in any field they pursue and make India proud,” he tweeted.
Notably, a fewer number of 685 successful candidates were recommended for appointment to various services – IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS etc – this year even as 126 were placed in the consolidated reserve list. In 2020, a total 761 candidates were recommended and 150 put in the consolidated reserve list. While this may indicate an attempt at “rightsizing’ as part of the “minimum government, maximum governance” policy, a senior government functionary, when reached by TOI, did not corroborate this.
Based on CSE 2021, 180 candidates have been recommended for IAS (same as 2020), 37 for IFS (against 36 in 2020) and 200 for IPS (same as 2020). However, the number of those recommended for Central ‘Group A’ Services has been pruned to from 302 to 242 and for Group B Services from 118 to 90.
CSE 2021 topper Shruti Sharma told TOI that she had made up her mind to join the civil services towards the end of her graduation from St Stephen’s. “I wanted to contribute to society and you can do it best by joining the civil services,” said Sharma, who did her schooling from Delhi’s Sardar Patel Vidyalaya and had joined an MA course in JNU, which she said has “produced some great alumni’, but did not complete the course. She said this was her 2nd CSE attempt as due to some confusion, she had to write her papers in Hindi earlier instead of her preferred English medium.
Ankita Agarwal, who did her schooling in Kolkata before pursuing Economics (Hons) from St Stephen’s college here, said this was her third attempt at Civil Services. She qualified for IRS in 2018 and is currently under training. Though from a business family, Ankita said she prefers being part of social change to make life better for those not so fortunate. Having opted for West Bengal as her top preference for cadre, she looks forward to working in the field of school education, women empowerment or primary health.
Aishwarya, who hails from Ujjain and has aced CSE in his fourth attempt, told TOI, “There may not be an element of money in public service but then the job satisfaction it offers is an important component.”
Aishwarya confessed that he was often teased and bullied over his name, which his grandmother chose even though it is a popular choice for girls. A bully once joked that “you should clarify your name on TV”. “And here I am,” he said in between his TV interviews.
The recommended candidates based on CSE 2021 include 25 persons with benchmark disability.
Educational disciplines of top 25 successful candidates range from engineering; humanities; commerce and medical science and they come from premier institutions like IIT, AIIMS, University of Mumbai, University of Delhi, etc.