A 24-year old Chennai-based woman law graduate has topped the Civil Services Examination 2010, in results that once again proved that neither gender nor professional background can block some of India’s brightest from serving the country.
S Divyadarshini, the topper who wants to tackle “corruption”, is followed by computer engineer Sweta Mohanty, while dentist RV Varun Kumar — also from Chennai — has come third.
“I was expecting some result but not as a topper,” Divyadarshini, a die-hard Chennai Super Kings fan said. "I wanted to be within the system and make a difference rather than complaining from outside," she added when asked why she chose bureaucracy over being a lawyer. This was her second attempt at the examination.
Divyadarshini is pining her hopes on the Right to Information Act — her father used RTI to fight corruption in customs department — to help improve transparency in governance.
The top 25 rankers include 20 men and five women — 15 engineers, five candidates belonging to commerce, management, humanities and sciences, and five from medicine.
A total of 920 candidates, including 203 women, have been selected for the Civil Services —which attracts more applicants than any other public examination in India except the All India Engineering Entrance Examination.
Among those selected, 28 are physically challenged candidates while 14 are orthopaedically challenged, five visually impaired and nine hearing impaired.
A total 5,47,698 candidates applied for the examination which consists of three stages – a preliminary test, followed by a main examination and an interview for shortlisted candidates. But only 2,69,036 candidates – less than half the total applicants – appeared for the preliminary test on May 23, 2010.
12,491 candidates qualified for the main written examination held in October- November 2010. A total 2,589 candidates were shortlisted for the personality test conducted in March-April 2011 out of which the final 920 were selected.
They include 428 candidates from the general category, 270 from the other backward classes, 148 from scheduled castes and 74 from scheduled tribes. There are 151 vacancies in the Indian Administrative Services, 35 vacancies in the Indian Foreign Services and 150 in the Indian Police Services.