31-year-old Ira Singhal has fought a long, hard battle to make her way to the top. She has braved Scoliosis, a disability which has affected her spine and restricts movement in her arms. She has faced discrimination in the IAS and has fought for her right to a posting which she got four years after first clearing the exam. Ms Singhal is the first physically challenged woman to top the civil services exam in the general category. Ms Singhal passed the Indian Revenue Service or IRS exam in 2010, but was denied a posting because authorities said she has an “inability to push, pull and lift.”First the revenue department refused to give her a posting, and once it agreed, the DOPT (Department of Personnel and Training) refused. It was a long legal battle. She finally won the case in 2014. It was tough but then everyone realised that she was capable of working in spite of the disabilities. Ira has never let her disability come her way. She is a normal person. In fact, she always tries to help others.
She is currently posted as Assistant Commissioner in the Customs and Excise department, but will move to an IAS position soon. After topping the civil services exam in her fourth attempt, Ms Singhal told the media, “I think people will respect women more now and, especially, disabled women.” Ms Singhal says she wants to make life better for the differently abled. “I want to contribute to the upliftment of the differently abled, and make their lives easier”, she says. Ira Singhal also holds an MBA in Marketing from the prestigious Faculty of Management Studies in Delhi University and a BE in computer engineering. She has worked as a manager in Cadbury India and as a Spanish teacher for a year.