Coaching centres in the city are divided over the impact of one optional subject — as against two — introduced from this year’s civil services examination.
The fact that three rankers among the top four from the tricity this year are law students has added substance to the debate.
“The introduction of one optional subject has made an impact as it favours those who are specialising in any one subject.
Earlier, the city toppers used to be from medical or engineering field. This time, however, those having legal background have emerged toppers,”said Anil Kumar of IAS Study Circle.
Manmeet Thapar of SNM IAS Academy said the single optional subject benefited local students.
“This will help students based in Chandigarh as here no one gives coaching for language subjects,”he said.
Raj Malhotra of Abhimanyu Coaching Centre, however, said that the change had little or no impact. “The paper is designed in such a way that it gives a level-playing field,”he said.
Sumeet Sharma: Following in the footsteps of his father — IAS officer VK Sharma, former divisional commissioner — computer science engineer from PU Sumeet Sharma, 28, has secured the rank 224 in the exam.
Having qualified the PCS exam in 2012, he is presently serving as the district excise officer in Patiala.
Gaurav Gupta: Another city-based resident, Gaurav Gupta, who has secured rank 231 this year, passed out from BITS Pilani in 2009. “This was my fourth attempt. I may get IPS. Earlier too, I had always cracked the written but couldn’t get through the interview,”he said, adding he was preparing for it since 2011.
Sohrab Singh Chauhan: Sohrab Singh Chauhan, who has secured rank 244, had chosen commerce and accountancy as his optional subject. After completing schooling from Vivek High School, Chandigarh, and Bhawan Vidyalaya, Sector 27, Chandigarh, he did his graduation in Commerce from Hindu College, New Delhi. Thereafter he did his MBA (finance) from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies. His parents, KS Chauhan and Amarinder Kaur, are Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers of the Haryana Cadre.
Priyanka Ahuja: Resident of Panchkula, Priyanka Ahuja, a dentist, has bagged rank 288. Her father, Gulshan Ahuja, is an Indian Forest Service officer and mother, Usha, Ahuja, is a chief manager at Punjab National Bank, Panchkula.
“It was my third attempt, and I used to study for around eight-nine hours each day. Online tutorials on the web have also been helpful,”she said.
Tarun Sharda: Working with the Punjab government as excise and taxation officer, Tarun Sharda has secured rank 290 in the exam. He had cleared PCS in 2014. “This was my fifth attempt. I may get IPS/IAS,”he said.
He did his mechanical engineering from Thapar College in 2007.
His father, RK Sharda, is joint commissioner (income tax) at Pathankot and mother, Shashi Bala, is a lecturer.
Akash Singla: Akash Singla, who has secured rank 406, did his BTech from Punjab Engineering College, after which, he went to IIM-Lucknow. He is presently in the USA. His father, Parmod Kumar Singla, a businessman, said, “Akash has always been interested in joining civil services. He had started preparations for the IAS during his days in PEC. However, then he cleared the CAT in the first attempt. He took sociology.
THE 25-YEAR-OLD TOPPERS’ CLUB
Harman Hans, 25, had always wanted to join Indian Police Service (IPS). Securing rank 101 in the exam, this Mohali resident has come a step closer to realising this dream. Son of DSP Varinderjeet Singh, Harman completed his mechanical engineering from the CCET, Sector 26, in 2011. His mother, Harjeet Kaur, is a homemaker. Harman also cleared the Punjab Civil Services exam in 2013. “As I was not doing any job, I was able to put in 10 hours for studies every day,” he said.
Sartaj K Singh, 25, has secured rank 123. It was the first attempt for this Chandigarh resident. He graduated from the National Law School, Bengaluru, in 2013. “I have been preparing for the civil services exam for the past two years. I did not take any formal coaching. For interviews, however, I did join an institute,”said Sartaj. His father, Kulwant Singh Chahal, is a retired engineer and mother, Yadwinder Chahal, is a homemaker. “Going by my rank, I might become an IAS or IPS,” he said.