Meet UPSC Toppers: Saikanth V, Ira Singhal, Saketa M, P
Satish Reddy, C Vanmathi
Ira Singhal, Rank: 1
Public Service Commission exam topper Ira Singhal is just 4.5 feet and is
differently-abled. But, there has never been a limit to her determination and
tenacity. Singhal suffers from a disability with her spinal cord that doesn’t
allow her to twist her arms. In her first attempt in 2010, the 31 year-old
secured 813th rank and had failed to get a posting. She fought and won her case
against the establishment in the CAT and was finally given a posting in December
In her fifth attempt, she topped the exam in general category despite being
Presently, she is a serving officer in Indian Revenue Service
and is posted as Assistant Commissioner (Customs) in the city for the last six
months. “I wanted to be an IAS officer. I want to do something for the benefit
of physically-handicapped people,” she said.
Surprised over the result, “I want people to understand all are equal. I want
to ensure people don’t face problems that I have faced in life. I want to ensure
a free and fair system for the disabled,” she told Express.
Born as the only child to Anita and Rajendra Singhal, Ira is
a native of Meerut. After completing her 12th from Army Public School, Dhaula
Kaun, Ira did her BE and completed her MBA from DU. She has also worked as
Customer Development Manager in Cadbury in 2008-2010.
Saikanth V, Rank:18
UPSC was not so difficult for this 26-year-old software engineer. CM Saikanth
Varma, an alumnus of IIT-Madras, is an ex-employee of Google and Amazon, and
secured 18th rank in his very first attempt. “Sometimes I would study for eight
hours a day, sometimes it was two to four hours. Some days, I didn’t study at
all,” he said. Saikanth quit his job in Google and joined a coaching centre in
the city to prepare for the prelims.
But he said, he never kept himself locked in his study room while preparing.
“I am a big movie buff. I didn’t stop watching movies even after I started my
preparation. In fact I watched more movies during this period whenever I felt
tired of studying,” he said with a laugh.
Explaining his initial plan of preparation, Varma said, he chose maths as his
optional subject, for which he joined a coaching institute in Hyderabad. Being a
mathematics student, it helped him to do better in optional subject. However, he
believes that no subject is easy or difficult.