At least two of the top 30 candidates in the UPSC's merit list announced on Friday are from the state. Kaustubh Diwegaonkar, who ranked 15, and Kshipra Angre, who ranked 29, are from Latur and took coaching classes for the exam in Mumbai.
"I thought I would get selected but didn't expect to get such a high rank," said Diwegaonkar, who has an MA in Marathi Literature from Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University in Nanded. This is his second attempt.
Angre finished her engineering degree from the College of Engineering in Pune in 2009. "Since then I have been preparing for the exam," she said.
Other candidates who ranked within the top 100 from Maharashtra include Namrata Gandhi (ranked 42) and Shruti Ojha (ranked 82).
Gandhi got her BA degree from St Xavier's College at Dhobi Talao, while Ojha did her schooling in Mumbai and finished her LLB from the National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata. "I didn't expect to be selected at all, it's a big surprise and I'm very happy," said Ojha, for whom this was the first attempt.
For the third straight year, a woman has topped the UPSC exams: Haritha V Kumar, who cracked it on her fourth attempt, did her BTech from Kerala University. V Sriram, who did his MBBS from Kerala University, ranked second. The third ranker was Stuti Charan, who has done a BSc from Jodhpur University.
The preliminary examination was conducted on May 20 last year for which 5,36,506 candidates applied and 2,71,422 candidates appeared.
Of these, 13,092 candidates were declared qualified for the written examination held last October, and 2,674 candidates were selected for the personality test in March-April this year.
In total, 998 candidates have been recommended for appointment to various central services posts, for which there are 1091 vacancies.