Ira Singhal – First physically challenged IAS topper
Women ruled over all the three top slots in the prestigious UPSC examination 2014. Adding more to that, it was topped by Delhi’s Ira Singhal, first differently abled to achieve that feat in the general category.
I want to be an IAS officer. I want to do something for the benefit of physically-handicapped people, said Ira Singhal.
Ira is suffering from a spine-related disorder, Scoliosis, which disrupts her arm movements. But for Ira Singhal, disability is simply a myth. It was her fourth attempt at the examination. Ira is currently posted as an Assistant Commissioner in the Customs & Excise department of the Indian Revenue Services. Earlier in 2010, Ira was refused a posting because of her disability, even after clearing the exam. ‘Inability to push, pull and lift’ were the reason cited by the authorities. But Ira not only moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) with her case, but also won it and was inducted in 2014.
It was a big disappointment, a major setback then. But I decided to fight back. It was tough initially as I had to undergo tests, submit medical certificates and prove that I am capable of doing jobs entrusted to me in the IRS. For two years, it was tough, but then everyone realized that I am capable of working in spite of the disabilities. They realized I am no pushover.
Ira Singhal is a B.E. in computer engineering from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT) and holds an MBA from Delhi University’s Faculty of Management Studies (FMS). She had worked as a manager in Cadbury India and also taught Spanish for a year. A football devotee, Singhal is an FC Barcelona fan. Courageous Ira Singhal not only battled discrimination, but also conquered over her disability to top the country’s most prestigious examination.
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