Ira Singhal is an Indian civil servant of 2015 batch. She topped UPSC CSE 2014 (Union Public Service Commission Civil Services Examination) and became the first disabled woman to top the Civil Services Examination in the general category.
Ira Singhal was born on Wednesday, 31 August 1983 (age 40 years; as in 2023) in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India. Her zodiac sign is Virgo. Ira attended Sophia Girls School in Meerut Cantonment for classes 6th to 8th, Loreto Convent School in Delhi Cantonment for classes 9th and 10th and Army Public School in Delhi Cantonment for classes 11th and 12th. In 2006, Ira studied Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Sciences from Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology (now Netaji Subhash University of Technology NSUT) in Dwarka, New Delhi. He then completed his MBA in Finance and Marketing from the Faculty of Management Studies in Delhi. In 2017, Ira obtained a master’s degree in Public Policy from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.
Height (Approx): 4′ 5″
Weight (Approx): 45 kg
Hair Color: Black
Eye colour: black
Ira Singhal belongs to a tradesman family.
parents and siblings
Ira Singhal’s father’s name is Rajendra Singhal and mother’s name is Anita Singhal. His father is an engineer and businessman; He is a member of Delhi District Cricket Association and a board member of Patanjali Yogpeeth. Ira’s mother is an insurance consultant. Ira is the only child of her parents.
Ira Singhal is unmarried.
In 2007, Ira Singhal started her career as a marketing intern at The Coca-Cola Company. In June 2008, she joined Cadbury India Limited as a Customer Developer Manager and worked there for two years. In November 2011, Ira joined an institute in Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi to teach Spanish and English. He worked there for a year till December 2012.
Ira Singhal gave his first attempt in 2010 and passed the examination by securing 815th rank. She joined the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) but was refused posting due to her disability. Ira has scoliosis, a deformity of the spine that limits the movement of her arms. The authorities cited his 62% locomotor disability and inability to push, pull and lift as the reason for canceling his candidature. Recalling the 2010 episode, Ira said in an interview,
Then it was a big disappointment, a big shock. But I decided to fight back. It was tough in the beginning because I had to undergo testing, submit medical certificates and prove that I was capable of doing the job assigned to me at the IRS. It was tough for two years but then everyone realized that I was capable of working despite the disability. They realized I was no pushover.”
The IRA decided to challenge the decision and filed a case in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT); After 4 years, in 2014, CAT ruled in his favor and he was appointed as Assistant Commissioner by the Customs and Central Excise Department (C&CE) of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) in Faridabad, Haryana.
Ira participated in the civil services examinations of 2011, 2013 and 2014 to improve his rank. Although, she got IRS in both the 2011 and 2013 attempts, but in the 2014 attempt, she got first rank and became the first disabled woman to get first rank in Civil Services Examination in the general category.
Happy with his success, Ira said in an interview,
I am thrilled, excited and very, very happy. It’s like a dream come true. I expected to do very well but not to top. My friend, who is an IAS officer here, was the first to give me this good news. I want to become an IAS officer and work in the field of women and child welfare, development and empowerment. I want to contribute to the upliftment of the disabled and make their lives easier. People with disabilities struggle, face difficulties every day and have to make extra efforts to do anything on their own.”
Ira was allotted the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories) cadre and after completing two years of officer training, in October 2017, he was appointed as a Sub-Divisional Magistrate of the Government of National Capital Territory (NCT). Got my first posting in. New Delhi. Ira served the Government of India in various capacities including Deputy Commissioner of Karol Bagh Zone, Director of New Delhi Municipal Commission and Joint Director of Women and Child Development Department.
In February 2023, Ira was appointed as the Special Secretary of Education in Arunachal Pradesh.
Ira Singhal left his corporate job to prepare for the Civil Services Examination. He violated the rule of studying for a certain number of hours and chose to complete the subjects. He enrolled in a CSE coaching program for the first attempt in 2009-10, but after that, he relied on self-study and various online materials to get different perspectives on a particular topic. She hardly made any notes because she believed in revising a book multiple times and learning to read it analytically, for example, she referred to around 35-40 books to prepare for her optional subject Geography.
Awards, Honors, Achievements
- India Today Woman of the Year 2015 by India Today Group
- President’s Gold Medal for the Best Officer Trainee of IAS Professional Course (Phase-1) 2015
- Achievers Award 2019 by NRI Achievers
- National Inspiration Award 2019 by Laadli Foundation
- Indira Award 2022-23 by Indira Institute of Management Pune, Maharashtra
- Ira gave a TED Talk addressing the virtues of social equality in a TEDx talk on 10 April 2018.
- She has participated in various seminars and summits to address topics related to women empowerment, education and rights of people with disabilities.
- Once IRA had to face curfew in Meerut. He saw how a district collector manages a district even in difficult times. This incident inspired Ira to become an IAS officer.
- She was an innocent child who never troubled her parents. Patience and peace are his qualities.
- Once he was refused admission to a school due to his disability and the school administrator asked his father to enroll him in a school specifically for disabled children.
- Ira was a class topper in Sophia Girls School, Meerut as well as in Loreto Convent School, Delhi.
- She follows a vegetarian diet.
- Ira’s hobbies are reading and travelling. She often shares pictures from her travels on her social media accounts. Her favorite genres are crime, mystery fiction and romance.
- She is the first government official to employ two transgender people full-time as receptionists in her office.
- He wishes to learn Bharatnatyam.