Home Interview Civil Services provide great opportunity to serve nation: Dr Ritika Aima

Civil Services provide great opportunity to serve nation: Dr Ritika Aima

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By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun: Dr Ritika Aima is one of the Doonites who have cleared the Civil Services exam this year. A medical doctor by profession, having done her MBBS from Dr Sushila Tiwari Medical College in Haldwani, Ritika has cracked the UPSC for the second time, securing rank 33 this year. Last year, too, she had scored well achieving rank 186 and had been selected for the IPS cadre. Having been allocated Gujarat Cadre, she is currently undergoing training for the Police Service in Hyderabad but, now, she will train to become an IAS officer.

She has done her schooling from Brightlands School in Dehradun. Ritika is a daughter of retired Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer of Nagaland Cadre, Dr Ramesh Aima and is, therefore, a second generation bureaucrat in the family. They have been living in Dehradun since 1987. Her mother is Rekha Aima, and her younger sister Riya Aima is also a medical doctor by qualification. Dr Ritika claims that she aims to serve and give back to the society in the best possible manner. The civil services offer her the opportunity to do something bigger and larger and play a role in policy making for the country.

Wanted a role to play in policy framing

She spoke exclusively to Garhwal Post in Dehradun even as she prepares for the future course of life.  In response to the question what drove her to choose civil services after becoming a doctor, she says that being posted in a Community Health Centre during the Covid pandemic, she felt that the existing health infrastructure was not adequate to deal with pandemics of such nature. She says that she also felt that unless there is adequate infrastructure in place, doctors will not be able to provide health care and services to the best of their ability. It was here that she felt the need for better policies. She wanted to play a role in policy framing and the civil services do provide this opportunity. She also claims that being a daughter of a bureaucrat she knew about the civil services as an opportunity to serve the country, but there was never pressure from her father or the family on her to become a civil servant. She said that it was when she decided to opt for civil services that she told her father about the feeling of inadequacy regarding the medical profession. He then supported her fully and explained to her how to go about clearing the civil services exam.

In response to the question why she had chosen to become a medical doctor, initially, Ritika says she was always inclined towards the subject of medicine and biology. Also, there was a desire to serve society and, at that time, she felt she could contribute to the society by becoming a doctor. After choosing to attempt for civil services, she found that many doctors these days were choosing these as a career option.

IAS offers wider alternatives as compared to IPS cadre

Ritika says that while preparing for the civil service since the very first attempt (this was her third, and she had managed to crack the exams in her second attempt), she became aware of the social and economic issues regarding the nation and governance. She realised that the solutions to many issues lie in providing what the people want. This is the responsibility that the civil servants have towards the country and the people. She added that, as compared to the IPS officer, IAS officers have a wider role to play in this context. That is why she felt that even after cracking the IPS exams, would make another attempt to try for the IAS cadre. IAS officers get to deal with wider range of issues and are looked upon by the system as problem solvers.

Administrative Reforms are a continuous process

In response to a question whether there is a need for major administrative reforms as many experts and analysts have been pointing out, she says that the administrative setup has been evolving over time. Reforms are a continuous process. She, however, adds that in view of the fact that India is now aspiring to become a developed country by 2047 as the PM has asserted, there is a need for a faster process of reforms and changes. Civil Services will have also to adapt to the changing needs of society and the country. The process of change, however, can’t be immediate or sudden.

In response to a question about what she feels regarding the assertion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that technocrats and subject matter specialists should get a bigger role in bureaucracy, Dr Ritika says that she is aware of this. She adds that the Prime Minister is very experienced in matters of governance and he knows what he is talking about. She is certain that the PM knows how to bring these changes in the bureaucracy. Her own experience is rather limited, at present, since she is just getting into the civil services. However, she is aware that skills upgradation is a continuous process even for the bureaucrats and that internet also plays a key role in that. As a doctor entering the civil services she does not have to forget her knowledge as a medical doctor and, at an opportune time, can play a role in policy making on issues like public health.

Dr Ritika says that there are many technocrats in the bureaucracy and their handling portfolios other than their own qualifications does bring a different perspective, which can be quite useful.

Hard work is key to success

She says that she will like to mention a very traditional and old quote for the civil services aspirants. Hard work is the key to success. However, when lakhs of aspirants appear for the civil services and only around a thousand succeed, success or failure to get into the civil services is not an end to one’s dreams. Both should be taken in one’s stride and there are many other great options in life as well. Just one bad day in life can spoil one’s chance of succeeding in civil services and one should not feel that he or she did not deserve. Hard work is key to success, but luck also is required. Over 99 percent fail to succeed each year. UPSC is a rewarding journey but it must be acknowledged that it is also equally unpredictable. One should not ever think the result in this exam is a measure of one’s success.

In response to another question, Dr Ritika says that, with changing times, the right time for the right moments in life is also changing, be it marriage or any other aspect in life.

Pics: Mohtshim Khan