Financial constraints could not deter my dreams, says UPSC rank-holder from Jagner, Agra

The aspiration to work towards strengthening the country’s administrative set-up, inspired 22-year-old Sachin Agrawal. Hailing from Jagner, a village in Agra district to attempt the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam. The student has made his parents proud by achieving a rank of 610 in the exam.

Sachin is the only one of six siblings who could pursue his academic interest. “My father and elder brother run a small cement shop and my mother is a housewife. All four of my sisters are married,” he says. The family lived in Jagner village up until a couple of years ago, when Sachin’s father sold a small piece of land and the family moved to the city. “Currently, we live in a small, rented accommodation and we are building a small house of our own,” tells Sachin.

Till class V, Sachin studied in a government school in his village. “It was deterring to study in a school with dilapidated building and disinterested teachers rarely visiting the classes,” he says.

Beacon of hope

Sachin came across a newspaper ad of Vidyagyan, a residential school for underprivileged students, which changed his life. “I passed the school’s entrance test. “Although nervous in the beginning, being part of a group that came from a similar financial background made all worries fade,” he says.


Sachin was always a mediocre student. “In class XI, the morning assemblies addressed by our principal became a great source of inspiration. The school head reinstated that our future is what we would make of it. Even if we have not been excellent students thus far, we have the power to change our tomorrow,” he tells. At this time, Sachin was attracted by inspiring stories of UPSC graduates that were featured in a magazine that came regularly to school. “An Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer had come to school for a talk, which made me resolve to give and crack the UPSC exam,” he tells.

Confused about the way forward, Sachin read an article exploring the journey of a UPSC topper, where he had finished graduation before attempting the Civil Services exam to become the All-India rank 1 holder at the age of 22. “I decided to adopt the same route. I did my standard XII in Science stream and scored 93.4% in boards. I pursued BA (History Honours) from Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi and started preparing for UPSC at the same time,” he says.

Having hobbies helps take a break from studies and rejuvenate the mind. Although I do not have a wide social circle, I am fond of watching movies and listening to music

Dealing with hurdles

Financial issues always acted as a roadblock for Sachin. “For a person from my background, spending three years in Delhi is an extremely expensive and unthinkable prospect. My school really helped at this time. I was able to pursue college and coaching with scholarships that my school provided,” he says.

Sachin made his first UPSC attempt in 2020 and has scored a rank of 610. “I have decided to accept only postings by IAS, Indian Foreign Service (IFS) or Indian Revenue Service-Income Tax (IRS-IT). I know my current rank may not be enough, so I have decided to give a second attempt. I have appeared for my preliminary exams and have qualified for the mains,” he says.

Advice to all

Focus upon one set goal is imperative, says Sachin. “I have met many students who are confused about their ultimate destination. As per me, regardless of the background you hail from, deciding upon your final goal is of utmost importance. Once you have made your decision, working hard to achieve the same becomes easier and will be fruitful,” he says.