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Kolkata’s Raunak and Neha topped India’s Civil Service Exam this year!

13 August, 2020 00:16:47
Kolkata’s Raunak and Neha topped India’s Civil Service Exam this year!

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the prestigious Civil Services Examination (CSE) annually to select some of the best brains in the country who aspire to take up a career in the civil services. The selection procedure is pretty rigorous and can be understood  from the fact that every year thousands of bright, aspiring youths from all corners of the country  apply for the three-tier examination but only a fistful of them actually manage to reach the final stage and then crack the exam and make it to the other side of the bar, so to speak.  

There was a time when Bengal too, had a fair number of cadres from the state in the civil services. But after the 1970s, the number of civil service aspirants from the state dwindled drastically. That trend seems to be gradually reversing in the last few years as more and more aspirants from Bengal are clearing the exams successfully. This year has been particularly good for the state and of all the candidates who cleared the test, two from Kolkata topped the list. Raunak Agarwal, the young man from Beadon Street in North Kolkata, is the topper from the state and his all-India rank is 13! 

Raunak is your typical boy next door who seldom misses his regular ‘adda’ with his local friends over a cuppa or takes turn to beat the ‘Dhak’ during Durga Puja. An unassuming but brilliant student throughout, Raunak studied at St. Lawrence High School and topped in the state in Commerce stream in 2011. He was felicitated by the state Chief Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee, at the Town Hall along with other toppers that year. In Raunak’s words: ‘On that award ceremony on the podium, I had the opportunity to get introduced to a couple of top brass IAS and IPS officers. Meeting them inspired me to the extent that I wished to crack the Civil Service exams and be like them.’ Although Raunak’s rank is on the upper rung of the list of successful candidates, yet he wants to join IAS as a cadre from Bengal and is keen to work for the state. This is extremely inspiring. His father, Ramakant Agarwal said: ‘I support him in his decision. Raunak has a clear vision about what he wants to do for the state. He says, he wants to improve the infrastructure in the state and promote the growth of industry here.’

Raunak completed his graduation in Commerce from St Xavier’s College and was also a university topper. After graduation, he studied for his Chartered Accountancy (CA) degree and passed the finals with flying colours. This professional degree opened the doors to a large number of corporate jobs with handsome pay packets and perks. He joined a foreign bank but left it within a few months because he was determined to give his best shot to CSE. His first two attempts to crack the exam did not go well. But his failures further enhanced his will to succeed and on the third attempt Raunak has now topped the ranking list. 

While another topper this year is Neha Banerjee of Jadavpur who stood 20th. Neha did her schooling from Carmel Convent and then moved to South Point for her Higher Secondary in science stream. After school, she went to study electrical engineering from IIT Kharagpur and joined a multi-national software company and was working at Noida. While working, she decided to take a chance and try for the UPSC. Neha did not take any professional coaching, but prepared on her own while doing a job. And wonder of wonders, she cracked the exam in her maiden attempt! She emphasizes on the importance of hard work and asserts that nothing is impossible or unattainable if one is determined to work for it. Like Raunak, she too wishes to work for West Bengal, her home state, if she gets an opportunity. 

Story Tag:
  • Civil Services Examination, Bengal

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