Chennai-based qualified lawyer and banker S. Divyadharshini topped the 2010 All India Civil Services Examination, the results of which were declared Wednesday.
Second-ranker Sweta Mohanty is a B.Tech (computer science) graduate from Gokaraju Rangaraju Institute of Engineering and Technology under the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad. This is her third attempt.
Including Divyadharshini, four out of the top-10 rankers are from Tamil Nadu.
R.V. Varun Kumar of Tamil Nadu, a central security force officer, won the third rank, but topped among the male candidates.
Abhiram Sankaran (fourth) and Arvind (eighth) are the other leading rankers from Tamil Nadu.
A total of 920 candidates cleared the 2010 All India Civil Services Examination - of them, 717 are male and 203 female.
Five among the top 25 candidates are females.
"I was sure of getting within the first 100 rankers but being the topper came as a pleasant surprise," topper Divyadharshini told IANS in Chennai.
"I studied law with an aim of clearing the civil services exam. I thought a civil servant with a law background would be better," the top ranker said.
She did her graduation from Dr. Ambedkar Law University in Chennai. This is her second attempt.
Divyadharshini's is a middle class family. Her father V. Shanmugham is a customs consultant.
He sister is with a private firm in Banglore and her brother works for the merchant navy.
"Nobody in my family or close relatives are in government service," she said.
Since 2010, Divyadharshini is working with the State Bank of India in a city branch.
Divyadharshini had opted for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) with Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) as second and third options.
She is aware of the corruption in the bureaucracy.
"I will not accept any bribe or get corrupt. I can give you that in writing," she stressed.
Sweta Mohanty from Andhra Pradesh, second rank holder, is the daughter of senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer P.K. Mohanty.
Third ranker Varunkumar, 27, reinforced his love for the uniformed services opting for the IPS.
For the dental science graduate from Ragas Dental College in Chennai, this was the third attempt.
A qualified dentist and a film reviewer, he had twice done internship with the Tamil Nadu Human Rights Commission and is a serving police officer.
He said he got the inspiration to join the uniformed service after watching the Tamil movie "Kaakha Kaakha", in which the hero Surya did a police role.
"I was expecting the first rank. Once the marks are declared then I will know where I slipped," Varunkumar said.
On an internship he had with the human rights commission, Varunkumar said: "Almost 85 percent of the complaints are against the police officials. I would like to bring that percentage down."
Among the top 25, 15 candidates are engineering graduates, five with medical science background and five from commerce, management, humanities, science and social sciences.
Of the qualified candidates, 428 are in general category, (including 19 physically challenged), 270 from Other Backward Classes (including eight physically challenged), 148 Scheduled Castes (One physically challenged) and 74 Scheduled Tribes candidates.
A total of 547,698 candidates applied for this examination and 269,036 appeared for the preliminaries exam, which was conducted on May 23, 2010.