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Rise of bahujan women in civil services: Nandini KR and Tina Dabi

New Delhi| Fostering gender balance in workforce is critical for public employment. This is true for Indian civil services where women are underrepresented. Social practices and customs have largely been inherently biased and discriminatory against women in every fields of human endeavors in India.

Despite social barriers, Indian women are infusing deep social change and are now achieving amazing success in every filed including the coveted Indian Administrative Services (IAS). The last seven years UPSC result for IAS points towards a glaring success of female candidates in the civil services examination. Women had bagged the top rank throughout since 2010, except 2013 when a male candidate topped the examination. In the recent years, 2015 and 2016, it is the bahujan (i.e. SC, ST and OBCs) female candidates from SC and OBC emerged to be the topper.

Table- List of IAS topper from 2010 to 2016

Year Topper Name Category Gender State
2016 Nandini KR OBC Female Karnataka
2015 Tina Dabi SC Female Delhi
2014 Ira Singhal General, Differently-abled Female Delhi
2013 Gaurav Agrawal General Male Rajasthan
2012 Haritha V Kumar General Female Kerala
2011 Shena Aggarwal General Female Haryana
2010 S Divyadharsini General Female Tamil Nadu

Nandini KR, an OBC (other backward class) candidate topped the UPSC civil services examination in 2016. She is hailing from Kembodi village, Kolar district in Karnataka and is the daughter of a government high school teacher. After undertaking schooling in Kannada medium at Thimmaiah Vidyalaya, she went on to pursue a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Civil from the MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bengaluru. In 2015, she was selected under the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) category.

Tina Dabi, a SC candidate became the topper in the UPSC civil services examination in 2015. From Delhi, she studied at Convent of Jesus and Merry and Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi. Both of her parents are engineers.

The story of bahujan women like Nandini and Tina from discriminated social backgrounds succeeding in topping the civil services examination based on their hard work and merit is a testimony to the fact that reserved category is not about lack of merit. Given their hard work, struggle and consistent efforts, they are excelling in every fields. However, it is to be seen how much effectively these bahujan women could work in their offices as caste is the biggest factor in this country and every institution from bureaucracy to universities reeks of caste bias.

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