5 Women IAS Officers Who Defied Odds to Crack UPSC CSE

Clearing UPSC is not a piece of cake and it got tougher for these five IAS officers who dared to dream and beat the odds that came their way. Take a look…



Sweta Agarwal

Daughter of Grocer tops state, clears UPSC with AIR 19.

She was born into a conservative  family in West Bengal. Except for her parents, no one encouraged her to achieve her dreams. Despite being the youngest of 15 children in the household, Sweta was the first to graduate from college. She cracked UPSC in three attempts with an AIR of 19.


Poovitha Subramanian

TN Farmer’s daughter cracks UPSC, clinches AIR 175

Poovitha, who was born to dairy farmers in Tamil Nadu, was the first graduate of her family. She had closely witnessed and experienced the evils of caste discrimination, dowry and gender inequality. Fighting age-old-notions that women are only meant to get married, Poovitha cleared UPSC in her second attempt.


Surabhi Gautam

From struggling with English to achieving AIR 50 in UPSC CSE.

From struggling with English to achieving AIR 50 in the examination. As someone who wasn’t very confident of conversing in English, Surabhi worked twice as hard. “I had a deep sense of wanting to correct things in my village. Getting good medical services, getting electricity for every house — these were some of our immediate basic needs. Becoming a Collector would help in achieving these goals.”


Pranjal Patil

Visually-impaired girl clears UPSC examination, clinches AIR 773.

Pranjali lost complete vision when she was 7-year-old.  But her parents refused to let her wallow in self-pity and raised her to be strong and independent. She completed her MPhil in Technology and used software to study for UPSC. It was a long and arduous process, but Pranjal wasn’t one to give up without a fight. In her very first attempt, she got an AIR of 773.


Anu Kumari

Mother to 4-year-old stays away from child to study. Aces exam by getting AIR 2

Post marriage, Anu felt that if she appeared for the CSE, she would be able to contribute to society in a meaningful way. So, in 2016, she quit her corporate job and started preparing for the prelims. She effectively-balanced studies with her toddler and cracked the examination in the second attempt.