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Meet UPSC 2020 Toppers

| Updated: October 3, 2021 12:34 pm

The Union Public Service Commission exam is one of India’s most difficult exams. Only those who believe in themselves and are disciplined have fair chance of clearing the exam. Here are the stories of those candidates who tasted success in the 2020 Civil Services Examination.

The UPSC on Friday declared the result of the Civil Services Examination, 2020; a total of 761candidates – 545 men and 216 women – have been recommended for appointment.

Among the top 25 candidates, 13 are men and 12 women. The recommended candidates also include 25 persons with benchmark disability (seven orthopedically handicapped, four visually challenged, 10 hearing impaired and four multiple disabilities).

Of the successful candidates, 263 are from the general category, 86 from the economic weaker section (EWS), 220 from the Other Backward Class (OBC), 122 Scheduled Castes (SC) and 61 belong to the Scheduled Tribes category.

As many as 10,40,060 candidates applied for the examination, out of whom 4,82,770 appeared for the exam. A total of 10,564 candidates qualified for appearance in the written (main) examination which was held in January 2021. Of them, 2,053 candidates qualified for the personality test.


Jagruti Awasthi

AIR: 2

City: Bhopal

Age: 24

Jagruti Awasthi is the topper among women candidates. After completing her BTech from Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT) in Bhopal, she joined Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL). She worked there from 2017-2019. 

Jagruti Awasthi

When Vibes of India contacted her, she said, “Since childhood I had a dream of becoming a district collector and working in social areas. I began preparing for the civil services with my job. When I was not selected in the first attempt, I decided to leave my job at BHEL and focused on my preparations for the CSE. I worked 10 hours every day for two years and finally cracked it in my second attempt.”

Awasthi outlines what she wants to achieve. “I want to work for rural development, especially on building villages as centre for entrepreneurship. I believe that people in the villages just need better ways to present themselves.”


Ria Dabi

AIR: 15

City: Bhopal

Age: 23

Tina Dabi was the first Dalit to have topped UPSC and that was the first reason why she became a celebrated IAS officer. Now, Tina’s sister Ria Dabi has ranked 15th in UPSC. She started preparing soon after she graduated from Lady Shri Ram college in Delhi.

When Vibes of India contacted her, Dabi said, “I used to study for 10 hours a day. My sister’s rank gave me more motivation to succeed.”

She chose international relations and political science as her optional subject. “I prepared daily targets and worked consistently for over a year. Now, I want to work on the representation of women in the nation and address their issues.”



Satyam Gandhi

City: Samastipur, Bihar

AIR: 10

Age: 22

Gandhi is just 22 years old and cracked the exam in his first attempt. He studied political science at Delhi University and throughout his school and college he has been a topper. His father is a senior technical assistant in the Department of Plant Diseases, Central Agricultural University, Pusa. His mother is a homemaker. His younger brother is studying Physical Education at Shivam Gandhi Post Graduate College, Chandigarh.

Satyam Gandhi

When Vibes of India contacted him, he said, “I come from a rural background and I have seen and experienced problems first-hand. When I was pursuing political science in DU I was sure I wanted to be a bureaucrat. I began preparing in 2019 and I cracked it in my first attempt. My parents gave up everything they had to support me and my dreams. Now, IAS is just a stage; the real goal is service to the country, which I have to do through this post.”



Sarthak Agrawal

Rank – 17

Age – 25

City – Delhi NCR

Sarthak Agarwal is a CBSE topper and has further studied in institutions like SRCC and Oxford University. A resident of Delhi, Agarwal completed his schooling from DPS Vasant Kunj. He had secured 99.6 per cent in his Class 12 board exams. Sarthak pursued BA (H) in Economics from Shriram College of Commerce and completed an MPhil degree at Oxford University.

Sarthak Agarwal

“Unlike the popular belief that you work for long hours to crack UPSC, I worked at my own ease. I also took time to read and play cricket, but I still managed to secure 17th rank. Now, I want to work in the data and innovation sector. Data is the future of everything, and it is not given much importance in India,” says Agarwal.



Shashwat Tripurari

AIR: 19

City: Prayagraj

Age: 23

IPS Shashwat Tripurari belongs to a family of civil servants. His sister is in the Railways and his parents also have government jobs. It was Tripurari’s dream to follow in their footsteps.

Shashwat Tripurari

“During my graduation at IIT-Delhi I worked for underprivileged students and realised my calling to work at the grassroots level. I want to work for the health and education facilities of the public at large. My first UPSC attempt was in 2019, when I got 78th rank and didn’t match the cut-off.  This time, I was training at the academy from 5am-7pm and I had little time for anything else. Time management and regular mediation were the key to crack the exam.”

He is currently training in Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad.

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Valay Vaidya

AIR: 116

City: Vadodara

Age: 27

For Vaidya, the journey to crack the UPSC began five years ago. The dream was sown when he was pursuing B.Tech in Information and Communication Technology from DA-IICT, Gandhinagar. “Two incidents inspired me to pursue the civil services,” he says, adding, “One was my stint as the Convener of the Student Body Governor at DA-IICT in 2016.”

Vaidya hails from Vadodara. His father works in Royal Dutch Shell company and his mother is a homemaker.  

Valay Vaidya

 “The second incident was my volunteering work with the People’s Science Institute in December 2013. Post the Uttarakhand floods I worked for rehabilitation and relief work. My task was to analyse the raw data gathered from the ground to find out the worst-hit villages and based on the feedback of the people on the ground, help the NGO carry out further relief work effectively. This opportunity provided me with immense insight into the Disaster Management work and the need to focus on Preparedness and Mitigation, rather than relying on Recovery and Reconstruction.”

Prior to starting his preparation of Civil Services, Vaidya did research in the field of Agricultural Risk Management which was published in the SpringerBrief in Economics in 2017. He was also nominated by the Director of the Institute as the Student Member of the Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC).

Valay Vaidya with his parents.

Vaidya spent five years preparing for the exam. “I worked on a process-oriented approach and not a result-oriented approach to crack UPSC. I wanted to enjoy the process and I did that thoroughly,” he says.

Vaidya finds his inspiration in External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. “I want to pursue Indian Foreign Services and work for national interest, commerce and engage with Indian diaspora. Over a period of time, with various internships and ground work, I have acquired a deep understanding of society and its people and look forward to leave a dent in this ever-expanding universe.”

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