Since her childhood, she had been privy to the discussions her father, Dr KN Sharma - a soil scientist at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) - often had with his colleagues on projects about farmer suicides in Punjab and Vidarbha (Maharashtra).
The discussions left such an impact on Shruti Sharma, a local software engineer, that she decided to stem the rot in the system. In July last year, she left her job with Wipro, turned down other hefty pay packages from multinational companies and focused on the civil services exam.
Shruti’s ‘gamble’ has paid off as she has secured the 16th rank. She has also finished third among women candidates in the country. “I understood that the IAS was my best bet to correct the system. So, I took the exams as a do-or-die battle. Having won the battle, I feel that I can do something about the bureaucracy, which can eventually bring about much-needed reforms in the system,” she told Hindustan Times.
Her mission is to make the common man aware of his rights and duties, besides working hard to end gender bias in society.
“Above all, being an IAS officer, I would try to evolve a system which empowers ordinary citizens like me, my father and mother, and gives them a platform to get his/her grievances redressed when politicians and administrators prove to be of no help,” she said.
Shruti, who opted for public administration and history as her subjects, said the key to her success was determination.
She said, “Once I decided that I had to become an IAS officer, I never even thought about my decision to quit a job that offered monthly salary in lakhs. I focused and worked hard to crack the exam.”
An alumna of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Shruti, who cleared the exam in her maiden attempt, said she was motivated to join the civil services by her parents, who always reposed faith in whatever she did. “My parents, especially my mother, who is a schoolteacher, always stood behind me like a rock,” she said.
For Shruti’s father, it is a dream come true. Dr Sharma said there was nothing bigger for him than to be called an IAS officer’s father.
“She has the temperament of a good administrator and she used it so intelligently. Everyone in our family and social circle is proud of her achievement,” he said.