Nandini KR of Karnataka’s Kolar who topped the Union Public Service Commission’s civil services examination for 2016, is a civil engineering graduate from MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology in Bangalore.

“This is a very happy moment for me, I have realised my dream,” Nandini told news agency ANI.

In her last attempt, she had made the grade for the Indian Revenue Service (IRS).

“It is like a dream come true. I always wanted to be an IAS officer,” she told PTI from the National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics in Faridabad, where she is undergoing probation.

“I put in a lot of effort. After getting selected in the IRS in 2014, I had taken the exam again in 2015 but could not crack it. I took the test again and topped it. It is a wonderful experience,” she said.

Nandini K R (c) who got the first rank in the Civil Services Exams 2016 celebrate with her colleague in Faridabad on Wednesday, May 31, 2016.
Nandini is from the Other Backward Class (OBC) category. In the 2015, Delhi girl and scheduled castes category candidate Tina Dabi had topped the exam.

The government in a statement said Nandini had qualified with Kannada literature as her optional subject.

Nandini is currently undergoing training at the National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics in Faridabad.

Anmol Sher Singh Bedi bagged the 2nd position and following him on the list are Gopalkrishna Ronanki, Saumya Pandey, Abhilash Mishra and Kothamasu Dinesh Kumar.

Kashmir’s Bilal Mohiuddin Bhat secured 10th position in the exam. In his last attempt he was selected for the Indian Forest Service.

“Words can hardly describe my feelings. I feel on top of the world today. I believed in this quote — Try, try, try again. I have been trying from 2010,” Bhat told PTI.

This was his last chance to get into the civil services as he would have crossed the cut-off age of 32 years in November. Bhat, who is from Handwara in the Valley, completed his schooling and college from Srinagar before studying veterinary sciences in Jammu.

The UPSC has recommended a total of 1,099 candidates for appointment to civil services.

As many as 180 successful candidates will be appointed in the IAS, 45 in the IFS, 150 in the IPS and 834 in other central group A and B services.

Ms Nandini, who apart from studying spends her time reading literature and playing volleyball, wanted the IAS and kept up at it. Last year, she even joined the training for the revenue service. But she had set her eyes on joining the administrative service and sat for the 2016 examination again, and topped. She is the third woman candidate to have topped the exam in a row. Ira Singhal from Andhra Pradesh had topped the examination in the 2014 exam while Tina Dabi from Delhi had topped the 2015 examination.

Counted amongst the toughest recruitment examination in the country, half-a-million young men and women appear for the examination every year. Only one in 400 of them make it through the examination conducted in three stages – preliminary, main, and interview – over almost a year.