Ashima Jain

EducationWorld July 08 | EducationWorld Young Achiever

Middle class Indias love affair with government jobs shows no signs of abating despite a huge number of career opportunities available to youth, following incre-mental liberalisation and deregulation of the economy since 1991. Evidence of this enamourment was very much on display when 327,683 college and university graduates wrote the Union Public Service Commissions (UPSC) annual preliminary exam on December 16, 2007 for admission into the higher civil services (IAS, IFS and IPS). The results were declared on May 16, and this years topper is a qualified medical practitioner (Adapa Karthik from Andhra Pradesh).The top-ranked woman candidate (7th in the overall ranking) is Delhis 25-year-old Ashima Jain, who has thrown up a high-potential transnational career with American Express as well as a doctorate studies offer from an American university in favour of a career in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). I believe the IAS is a higher calling and greater opportunity to serve the country, she says disarmingly.
Born into a family of civil servants in 1983, Jain attended the Dayanand Model Senior Secondary School (Mandir Marg), Delhi where she topped the class XII exam with a 92.5 percent average. This impressive performance secured her a seat in the prestigious Sri Ram College of Commerce where she topped in economics which in turn facilitated her entry into the highly-rated Delhi School of Economics from where she got her Masters degree. In 2005 she signed up with American Express Bank as a business analyst. During her 18-month stint with the bank, she travelled abroad frequently and was marked out as a professional with a future.
Nevertheless she didnt abandon her dream of serving the country as an IAS officer. Thats what my father instilled in me — a nation-building career. That dream motivated me and shaped my academic career and choice of subjects, recalls Jain.
Once she felt she was ready to take the UPSC, Jain quit her job at American Express and set about preparing for the highly competitive UPSC exam with characteristic determination, working a punishing schedule for 15 months, with the sustained support of her family.
Now among the 734 successful candidates of UPSC 2008, Jain is all set to invest time, dedication and effort in her new profession. In this job I will be harnessing my experience as a trained economist. I intend to contribute my best effort towards making inclusive growth and development a reality in 21st century India, says Jain.
Contrary to popular lore, idealism is not dead in young India.
Autar Nehru (Delhi)

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