"I was pleasantly surprised with the result. This was my third attempt and I didn't expect to top.
I am grateful to God," said Shena Aggarwal, a resident of nondescript town Yamunanagar in Haryana, who is currently undergoing training for IRS in Nagpur academy.
Rukmini Riar, who followed her in second place, is a resident of Hoshiarpur in Punjab while Prince Dhawan, who came third, is the son of Commissioner of Income Tax in Chandigarh - the joint capital of the two states.
The urge to work for the under-privileged and provide the common man with basic amenities like health and sanitation inspired 25-year-old Shena, a medicine graduate, to appear for civil services.
Asked what prompted her to give up medicine and become a civil services aspirant, she said: "As a doctor, I was aware of the problems faced by people when it came to health and other issues.
There are many people who don't have basic amenities and proper health care in the country, she said, adding she would work for their betterment once she takes up government service.
"I would work on providing basic amenities like education, health and sanitation to people. That would be my aim," said Shena, who wants to join IAS.
Shena said she would not have achieved this feat without "tremendous support" from her family members.
"My daughter has all through been a topper in her studies, including in pre-medical examination," said her gushing father C K Aggarwal, a dental surgeon, who became emotional as neighbours and relatives thronged their house and distributed sweets. MORE