R Sathish’s journey from dropping out of school in Class V, to being appointed the Additional Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance was not a bed of roses.
At the age of 17, after helping his father run a family business, he realised it too late to go back to school. He noticed an advertisement for ESLC (Eighth School Leaving Certificate) conducted by the Tamil Nadu Board of Secondary Education and joined a tutorial on Needrajapayer street. Consequently, he appeared for the exams at Cuddalore in 1985.
“Those who appeared for the exams with me were much older. They asked me with surprise why was I writing the exam,” Sathish recalls with a smile. Unfortunately for Sathish, he failed his English paper and had to reappear for the exam before passing the ESLC.
To compensate for the loss of time, Sathish appeared for the SSLC within three months of passing the ESLC. With some coaching from the tutorial and help from friends, he passed the exam, but managed to score a low total of 247 marks. This posed a big problem for Sathish, who wanted to study physics. He was forced to opt for the fourth group that offered Economics and Political Science in the NKC school. He passed plus two with 72 per cent marks and went on to join the Tagore Government Arts College for his under graduation and the Kanchi Mamunivar Post Graduate Centre for a Masters in Economics.
While pursuing his PG, he sat for the civil services, but failed to qualify for the interview. Sathish did not give up. On completing his Masters, he went to Chennai to attend special coaching classes for the UPSC exams.
After a lot of hard work and determination, Sathish got selected for the Indian Economic Service in 1996. Today, he is married to his IES batch mate Promodita and has three children.
“He is a role model to inspire young students of the government school”, says MLA K Lakshminarayanan. “More Sathishes should come from the school,” he hopes.
Sathish has still not given up on his studies. He is now pursuing a PHd on the subject ‘Exchange rate and impact on trade’ and his ties with Puducherry remain unaffected by the fact that he has no relatives or family here anymore.