Millennium Post

Few UPSC toppers have gone on to bag the coveted post of cabinet secretary

Those who pass the prestigious Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination with a high ranking may feel like a celebrity for a while, but few UPSC toppers have gone on to bag the coveted post of Cabinet Secretary( the topmost post for bureaucrats). According to the data of UPSC toppers examined by Millennium Post, none of the UPSC toppers has ever become the cabinet secretary.

The data also highlights the fact that most of the UPSC toppers, who get all the media attention often end up being upstaged by colleagues further down in the merit list.

Getting to the post of Cabinet Secretary is a dream of every IAS officer. But the selection to the coveted post is so tough that only one officer in every 3-4 batches gets the job.

The chances of getting the top post are higher for such officers who pass the UPSC examination at the age of 22. Also, to become Cabinet Secretary, the officer should have 37 to 38 years of work experience. Last year's topper Tina Dabi has a fighting chance of making it to the top post, as she passed the exam at 22.

The incumbent Cabinet Secretary, PK Sinha cracked the civil services exam at the age of 22 and achieved the coveted post after 38 years in the job. Similarly, KM Chandrasekhar, who became Cabinet Secretary after 37 years in the job, had also passed the prestigious examination at the age of 22.

Another officer Ajit Seth, who was a little over 22 when had cleared the UPSC exam, reached 32 Prithviraj Road, the official residence of the Cabinet Secretary, after 37 years.

"Getting top position in UPSC hardly makes any impact on the career of any IAS officer. Besides getting publicity in newspapers and choice of cadre selection, the top position holders don't get any additional privileges in their career," said JS Meena, the Food and Consumer Secretary.

It's not that only toppers get the option of choosing their cadre. The officers up to rank 20 or below also get that opportunity. However, there are several officers who didn't top the exam who went on to have glittering careers. TN Seshan, Ajit Doval and Vinod Rai are such officers.

Seshan, the 1955 batch IAS officer, is best remembered as the man who cleaned up the electoral system in the country as Chief Election Commissioner. He reformed elections by ending malpractices and the popularity of the poll panel touched an all-time high.

Similarly, Doval, the 1968 batch IPS officer, revamped the intelligence and counter-insurgency models of the country, while under Rai, the 1972 batch IAS and 16th rank holder, the CAG's office grew in stature.
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