UPSC CDS : Pune girls Shruti Shrikhande bag top

The results of the Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam for entry into the Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai, which were announced by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on February 1, has some good news for the city. Shruti Shrikhande, a student of ILS Law College, has emerged topper among the girls while Kiran Deepak Raut, a second-year MSc Geography student at SP College, has stood fourth across India.
“We were expecting that she would succeed in her very first attempt. But we never thought she would top among the girls. I feel proud of her achievement. Ultimately, it is her hard work which paid off,” said her father Brigadier Vinod Shrikhande. Recalling her preparations, Shruti said she used to run 6-8 km every morning before attending college lectures. “After classes, I would return home and study for four-five hours but that was it. It was not that I used to study for 10-15 long hours. Managing both law studies and the competitive exam was challenging but I planned my studies accordingly,” she said. Her father said while the personal interview at the Services Selection Board (SSB) generally lasts 30 minutes at the most, Shruti’s lasted for close to one-and-half hours.
An elated Shruti said the perception in society that a career in the armed forces is physically demanding and that girls don’t measure up needs to change. “Today, women are serving in almost every branch of the armed forces. An Army career gives you a life which you cannot compare with other jobs,” she said. Kiran comes from a non-military background. Her father, Deepak Raut, works in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) as a tax inspector. Her father said she was interested in the armed forces early on. “When she was in her first year of junior college, she used to take part in NCC activities and had even been selected for the Republic Day camp to represent Maharashtra. From then onwards, she had decided to join the armed forces,” he said. “Nobody from our family has joined the armed forces before and now it is a matter of great pride that my daughter would soon join the armed forces as an officer.”

Kiran said she had appeared for the SSB interview twice through the Air Force Common Admission Test but had not been recommended. “In Pune, there are many girls who prepare for competitive exams but do not know of the career opportunities in the armed forces. So, it is important they are made aware of the career opportunities in the armed forces,” she said.