Daughter of TN beedi worker beats the odds to clear civil services exam

The success story of S Inba, who got 851st rank, is also a stellar example of how meaningful government interventions at the grassroots levels can produce exceptional outcomes.
S Inba with her mom S Stella
S Inba with her mom S StellaPhoto | Express

TENKASI: In an inspiring tale of perseverance and triumph over adversity, the daughter of a single mother, a beedi worker, has cleared the prestigious Civil Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

The success story of S Inba, who got 851st rank in the all-India exam considered to be the toughest, is also a stellar example of how meaningful government interventions at the grassroots levels can produce exceptional outcomes. The public library at Shengottai became Inba’s second home for two years and the free books and internet available in the library helped her come up trumps.

“My mother S Stella is a beedi roller. She also strings flowers at a nearby shop for additional money to run the family. The motivation given by my mother and her confidence in me made me clear the exam though I failed to crack the preliminary examination twice,” said the Naan Mudhalvan Scheme beneficiary.

Inba studied in Nadar Community Higher Secondary School, Vasudevanallur, in English medium till SSLC and pursued her higher secondary in MKVK Matriculation School, Tenkasi. In 2020, she completed her engineering degree in Computer Science at Coimbatore Institute of Technology.

“After my graduation, I joined Shankar IAS academy in Chennai for civil services exam coaching. However, due to Covid-19 lockdown, I could not continue there and had to take online classes. Over the next two-and-a-half-years, I prepared for the exam entirely from the government public library in Shengottai where librarian K Ramasamy and other staff made all arrangements for students preparing for different competitive examinations. I would attend online classes from the library from 8am to 8pm by accessing the free WiFi connection. The staff also arranged different newspapers, journals, books and magazines for me,” she said.

Inba said she later joined the All India Civil Service Institute, a free government coaching institute in Chennai, by clearing an entrance examination in December 2022. “I was offered free food and accommodation there. No fee was collected. I also received financial assistance of Rs.25,000 from the hands of Chief Minister M K Stalin under the Naan Mudhalvan Scheme.

The money helped me to purchase study materials for the Main examination and take printouts and photocopies. I also cleared the state government’s scholarship exam and received Rs 7,500 financial assistance per month offered for those preparing for competitive exams. After clearing the Main examination, I attended UPSC interview in February 2024.

Meanwhile, I also cleared the Staff Selection Commission exam and joined as a staff member of the Employee Provident Fund Organisation in March this year. I will soon join a central service post that I will get through UPSC’s service allocation,” she said. District Collector A K Kamal Kishore and Kadayanallur MLA C Krishnamurali met Inba and congratulated her on the achievements.

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