For many, cracking the UPSC exam is tough, but some face even more challenges. One person who faced many difficulties and still succeeded is Pranjal Patil. She is India’s first blind IAS officer.
Born in 1988 in Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra, Pranjal lost her eyesight at seven. However, she didn’t give up. She studied at Kamala Mehta Dadar School for the Blind in Mumbai and got a degree in political science from St. Xavier’s College. Later, she completed her postgraduate studies in international relations at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, and she pursued her PhD and M.Phil.
Pranjal took the UPSC exam twice, in 2016 and 2017. In 2016, she got rank 744, and in her second attempt, she became an IAS officer with AIR 124. Remarkably, she did all this without any IAS coaching. She used special software for the blind that read books aloud.
After passing the exam, she became the Assistant Collector in Ernakulam, Kerala, in 2018, securing the 124th rank in the 2017 Civil Services Examinations. Initially, she was not allowed to join the Indian Railway Accounts Service due to her visual impairment. Currently, she is the Sub-Collector of Thiruvananthapuram, posted in Kerala.