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‘Schools must teach girls about women empowerment,’ says Apeejay alumna who cracked Civil Services

Archita Mittal left a rewarding corporate career to join Civil Services. In an interview, she shares how every citizen’s contribution matters to make India a safe place to live in

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An academically strong student since school, Archita Mittal’s motivation to appear for Civil Services 2021 examinations was to better the lives of people. Leaving the comforts of a top-notch multi-national, she chose to study at home and work towards achieving her goal. Her efforts and dedication did earn her a reward when she cracked the papers with self-study. In an interview, she talks about her journey. Read On:

Please tell us about your background.

I completed my schooling from Apeejay School, Faridabad Sector 15 in the year 2014. Then, I pursued a degree in B.Com from Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), University of Delhi. After completing my graduation, I then did my MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow. Post that, I worked for a year with Deloitte in Gurugram as a Consultant. After a year into it, I left the job and started preparing for Civil Services examinations in 2020. I secured an All-India Rank 188 in the 2021 papers.

Why did you switch from corporate towards a government job?

At Deloitte, I was part of a project that dealt with batteries and electric vehicles. It was connected to the issue of air pollution in Delhi-NCR – a prevailing issue we face in the months of September, October and November. While working at it, I realised that my stakeholder base can increase if I can do the same thing in a government setup. I figured that my knowledge and skill-set could change the lives of many people who are affected by this. Therefore, I decided to give Civil Services a try.

When did you start your preparations for the papers?

I started preparing in September 2020. I cracked the papers with self-study at home and also studied reference materials available online.

What were the ups and downs for you while preparing for the examinations?

My journey has been two-and-a-half years long. It wasn’t a smooth one, of course, and there were ups and downs. The papers may not be the challenge; the material is easily available on NCERT books and daily newspapers. However, the daunting part is the extent of the syllabus. To crack Civil Services, one has to know about everything: Economics, Environmental Science, History, Polity, Technology, etc. And most aspirants aren’t able to remember and revise it all.

The mental stress that comes with being able to or not being able to complete the syllabus is there. In order to meet the study demands, one often tends to distance themselves from peers and family. And that is wrong.  

On the upside, once you give the examinations an attempt and devote the time to study for it whole-heartedly, the knowledge gained would definitely open up your horizons. It has the ability to alter you as a person and how you think about issues in society.

Is it necessary for aspirants to shun social media to prepare?

Not completely. I did that for some time only because I found myself spending a lot of time on social media. Close to the examinations, I did shun it for about a month. But, I made a point to reconnect with my friends in order to maintain a mental balance.

As per your All-India Rank, would you be a part of the Indian Police Service (IPS)?

Maybe. According to last year’s cut off, it does seem so. However, there is no official communication yet about the allocation of the services. It will happen in the coming months.

If you were to become an IPS officer, what changes do you envision to bring?

First, I would like to work towards the preventive measures for crime against women. It is important that at school-level, girls become aware about their rights. Second, they must learn to defend themselves and that should be part of the curriculum. Third, with respect to the current rate of crime in the country, we must make Police Services more accessible to people.

Often, citizens turn a blind eye to incidents occurring around them. What would be your message for those people?

It is the moral responsibility of each and every citizen to prevent incidents of abuse and crime. We as individuals are part of a society as a whole. Therefore, our collective effort is important to stop such incidents.

Any civil servants whose work you look up to?

There are many – Ms. Kiran Bedi, the first woman IPS officer of the country has done phenomenal work. She continues to be an icon and inspiration for so many people, even today. Mr. Armstrong Pame, an Indian Administrative officer, also known as the ‘Miracle Man’ for building a 100km road connecting Manipur to Nagaland and Assam, is also an inspiration for me.

My father, Mr. KK Mittal, an Indian Revenue Services (IRS) officer motivates me each day. I look up to him and his dedication for his duty and work is awe-inspiring.

Please share some fond memories from school.

I was in Apeejay School, Faridabad from class 9 to 12. I made many friends there and we are still in touch, after so many years. They have been a source of happiness for me. My sister too studied in the same school. Whenever I have gone back to school, my teachers have welcomed me warmly. That was the best feeling, to be remembered by your alma mater! I was also the President of the Interact Club at school and worked on several social campaigns and initiatives. These helped me become a confident person, eventually. 

For Civil Services aspirants, your tips?

Be confident and optimistic. If you begin to think that the examinations are a huge mountain to climb, then the process will look all the more difficult to you. So, have a positive bent of mind and look on the bright side.

Keep taking breaks from your studies and be in touch with your loved ones.

Revise thoroughly. It is hard to remember everything, so keep revisiting the study material. 

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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