Recording a marginal improvement as compared to last year’s performance, close to 100 candidates from Maharashtra figured in the final merit list announced on Tuesday by the Union Public Service Commi-ssion. Though the total number of candidates in the list of top 100 was lower, the city saw many top scorers, such as Yogesh Kumbhejkar (All India Rank 8) and Shrikrishnanath Panchal (All India Rank 16) who stood at number 1 and 2 in the state.
Kumbhejkar’s rank is probably the highest achieved by any state candidate in the last 25 years. The last highest ranking was by Amrutesh Auranaga-badkar in 2012 when he secured All India Rank 10. This year, 1,078 candidates including 499 in General category, 314 from OBC, 176 from SC and 89 from ST, have been recommended for appointment to various central government services. Another 172 candidates are in the waiting list.
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Speaking to The Indian Express, Kumbhejkar who was boarding a flight to Hyderabad where he is undergoing training for IFS, says that this was his third attempt at UPSC. An electrical engineer from IIT Mumbai, Kumbhejkar says he quit his job at Citibank in 2012 to pursue his IAS dream. “I used to read newspapers in school and was interested in current affairs. I always wanted to do something for society but after college when I got a good job, I decided to take it. However, early on, I realised it wasn’t for me and I quit to go to New Delhi for UPSC coaching. This was my third attempt. In the second attempt, I was ranked 146, but that wasn’t enough for me,” says the 30-year-old hailing from Solapur.
Crediting his banker parents, who have settled in Pune and his IT professional sister for their support, Kumbhejkar says his strategy was simple. “I studied for 10 hours daily. I believe in understanding concepts, practicing repeatedly and never giving up,” says Kumbhejkar, who hopes to work for women and child welfare.
The second topper from Maharashtra, Shrikrishnanath Panchal, who studied in Pune, hails from Udgir taluka in Latur district. A graduate doctor from Grant Medical College in Mumbai, Panchal worked as a medical officer in Civil Hospital, Alibaug, for six months and JJ Hospital for another six months while giving his UPSC exams.
“I accumulated my experience from these jobs and my MBBS degree helped me in securing this rank,” says Panchal, who couldn’t even make it past the interview stage in his first two attempts in 2012 and 2013.
Another story of beating all odds to achieve success is of Akshay Pralhad Konde, of Rahu village in Daundh district, who secured All India Rank 278. Belonging to a farmer’s family with no background of civil services or anyone to guide him, Kolhe cracked the exam in his first attempt. The success came after he secured a job as Assistant Commandant in CRPF. A chartered accountant by training, he dedicates his success to his family. “They didn’t understand much but did everything they could to get me here,” he says.