Ishita aced the elite recruitment examination in her third attempt. Incidentally, she had failed to even clear the prelims stage in her first two attempts. “It’s definitely third time lucky for me,” she told TOI while adding that her persistence and willingness to review and correct the faults and gaps that caused her to fail earlier, finally being the reasons for her success. “I have been a national-level football player and was part of the Subroto Cup tournament. Being a sportsperson prepared me to deal with failures right from a young age.”
This is the second year in a row that the top three slots have gone to women. It’s also a repeat of the performance of CSE 2014, the results for which were declared in 2015 and where female candidates outshone men with the top four ranks, leaving only the fifth slot for the male topper.
Even in overall performance, women have shown remarkable improvement in the CSE 2022, the results of which were declared on Tuesday. Of the total 933 candidates recommended for appointment to various elite services like IAS and IPS, 320 or 34.2% are women. This is way better than 25.8% share of women among the recommended candidates based on CSE 2021, 28.5% in 2020, 23.8% in 2019 and 23.9% in 2018 and even the exams held earlier.
Among the top 25 candidates recommended this year, 14 are women and 11 men. In fact, women have taken up 12 of the top 20 slots.
PM Narendra Modi congratulated the successful candidates and had a word of consolation and encouragement for those who could not clear the prestigious exam. “I understand the disappointment of those who couldn’t clear the Civil Services Exams. Not only will there be more attempts to avail but also India offers several diverse opportunities to showcase your skills and strengths. Wishing you the very best,” he said.
Ishita, who did her BA (Hons) from Shri Ram College of Commerce here, had chosen political science and international relations as her optional subject. She spent two years working with Ernst & Young. “There was always this sense of duty in me, being the daughter of an IAF officer. The corporate job helped me evaluate my long-term plans and realise my passion for serving the nation by joining the civil services,” the 26-year-old told TOI, excited to be living her dream.
Calling herself a votary of women’s empowerment, Ishita said she was glad to be leading the four women who have topped the Civil Services Exam this year. Asked how she prepared for the exam, Ishita said her journey was tricky but defined by “consistency”. “I studied for 8-9 hours but also did not lose out on my social life. I prepared while taking time out for trips with friends and attending family weddings. I learnt how to make Madhubani paintings. All these hobbies helped me with mental resilience and balance in life,” she said.
No. 2 rank-holder Garima Lohia, who has graduated from Kirorimal College in DU, cleared the examination in her second attempt. While it was the fifth attempt for Uma Harathi N, Miranda House alumni Smriti Mishra passed in her third attempt.
Mayur Hazarika, the only male candidate in the top five, hails from Assam. It was the first attempt for the 26-year-old MBBS.
The top 25 successful candidates in CSE 2022 include graduates in disciplines like engineering, humanities, science, commerce and medicine from premier institutions like IIT, NIT, Gauhati Medical College and University of Delhi.
There are 41 persons with benchmark disability among the recommended candidates.
Over 11.3 lakh candidates applied for the CSE 2022, and only 5.7 lakh appeared in the examination. While 13,090 qualified for the Main Examination, 2,529 made it to the personality test stage. Of these, 933 were recommended for a total 1,022 vacancies, including 180 in IAS, 200 in IPS, 38 in IFS, 473 in Central Services Group ‘A’ and 131 in Group ‘B’ Services. A reserve list of 178 candidates was also declared as part of the final results on Tuesday.