When Telangana’s Dongre Revaiah cracked IIT JEE, he was not very delighted. “I did not have a hope that I would be able to study at IIT Madras because of lack of money,” he says.

He needed financial help of Rs 20,000 to study engineering at IIT Madras. He reached out to the collectorate and through crowdfunding, he got the fee to register at the college.

This incident inspired him to become an IAS officer. “That day, I realised if I was in that position, I could also help people from impoverished backgrounds,” he says.

Nearly a decade later, today the 29-year-old has become an IAS officer. He cleared UPSC CSE 2022. We sat down with him to trace his journey.

When Dongre was four years old, his father passed away. To make ends meet, his mother started working as a mid-day meal cook at a monthly salary of Rs 1,500. Almost 14 times this amount was required for registration at IIT.

In 2017 after graduating from IIT Madras, Dongre also cleared GATE with an AIR 70. This helped him get a job at Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), Mumbai.

But all this while, the aspiration to become an IAS officer did not diminish. In 2020, he started preparing for UPSC alongside his job.

“I gave my first attempt in 2021. I missed the final list by two marks,” he says. So, Dongre quit his job to focus on the next attempt. This year, he secured AIR 410.

“My mother never went to school. Despite being a single mother to three kids and working as a mid-day meal cook, she still wanted me to pursue my dream to become an IAS officer,” he says.

“It is so satisfying to be able to fulfil not only your but also your parent’s dreams for you,” he says.

He shares the strategy that worked out for him while preparing for the exam. Dongre stresses on practising as per the exam pattern and doing thorough research before choosing optional.

He says aspirants should focus on preparing short notes and revision. He cautions aspirants not to prepare for the interview only after the mains.