At 25, Naga lad clears UPSC exam, secures 133rd rank

Richard Yanthan
Richard Yanthan

Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | August 4

Richard Yanthan lost his father at a very young age, and first heard about the civil services from his mother when he was in standard II. He had a very vague idea about it then, but the allurement for civil services had already started from there even as he confesses that he really came to know what the Indian Administrative Service was while he was in his 9th standard where he also started looking at it as a service and not a job.

“I decided to do engineering since I had an interest in that but for the service, I had made up my mind that irrespective of what I study, I will sit for the civil services,” he expresses in an exclusive interview with The Morung Express. At the age of 25, he has cleared the prestigious civil services examination, 2019 which was declared on Tuesday, securing the 133rd rank, a very rare feat in the Nagaland context.  

Currently serving as an EAC probationer at Nagaland House, New Delhi, Richard Yanthan had earlier cleared NPSC in 2018 on his first attempt while he cleared the UPSC examinations in his second. Even during the first attempt, he had made it all the way to the interview stage.

He, along with his brother and friends would huddle together as high school students and talk about the different levels of administration but it was only after his graduation when he moved to Delhi in 2018 that he started his actual preparation for the civil service examinations.

Talking about his UPSC journey, he shares, “Especially in the first year, you have to be really serious, in the second year, it’s mostly revision, added with current affairs and new materials but when you start preparing for the first time, I think it’s really important that you get your core concept straight.”

Observing that “It is getting more difficult”, he explains that this is because “even the number of posts is decreasing and candidates are increasing. Techniques have changed and question pattern has completely changed from what it used to be earlier.”

“Now they want thinking candidates, candidates who can think and not those who can just mug up textbook answers. So we have to take those into account and also, along with working hard, working smart is really important,” he further asserts.

Richard Yanthan started with traditional textbooks and gradually moved on to answer writing, which he says candidates should really put effort into. To the aspiring candidates, he also advises, “if you are really passionate about the civil services, then you should come out of your comfort zones. What I mean by that is by reading the same books over and over again in every attempt is not going to help. You do need to go and search for new materials, you do need to practice a lot of answer writing, you do need to contact multiple sources and people so that you will have a more broad perspective.”

For him, the biggest struggle throughout the process was “staying focused” wherein “you need a lot of perseverance and concentration” as he points out. While preparing himself, he did shut himself off from the world, but he is quick to add ‘not totally’. “If you completely isolate yourself, it allows your stress to build up. You need friends and family, and I am lucky to have very supportive family and friends,” he states, while adding that he is thankful to God.  

With a most cherished dream coming true, he will soon be resigning from the state service. “After a week or two, they will give us our mark sheets, after that they will be giving us our service allocation, and I believe cadre allocation,” he expresses while exuding hope to get IAS.

Mention may be made that Richard Yanthan is from Lakhuti village under Wokha district and did his schooling from Chandmari Higher Secondary School Kohima. He also studied in Kohima Science College Jotsoma, before pursuing B.Tech in Civil Engineering, after which he dedicatedly started preparing for the civil services examination and has eventually cleared it. He has a younger brother and a sister while his mother is in the Nagaland Secretariat Service and currently serves as the Deputy Secretary in the Legal Metrology & Consumer Protection.

First Naga IAS Officer from Nagaland since 2007 

Morung Express News
Dimapur | August 4

Is the civil services exam a tough nut to crack for Nagas? The Morung Express posed last year on May 8 right after the declaration of the final result of the 3-stage set of tests conducted by UPSC. 

Richard Yanthan answered the poser, in kind, this year. He was ranked 133rd in the overall category, according to the Civil Services Examination 2019 results announced by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on August 4. 

With this, he is set to enter the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS) cadre, the first Naga since 2007 to join the club through open competition. 

According to the UPSC, there are 180 vacancies for IAS services this year.

Kesonyu Yhome, IAS (2007 Nagaland Cadre), was the last Naga from Nagaland to become an IAS officer.  However, from the State, Swapneel Paul from Dimapur also made it to the list and was ranked 64th in the 2017 exams, the result of which was declared in 2018. 

According to an official statement from UPSC, a  total of 829 candidates have been recommended for Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), among other civil services. 

Pradeep Singh topped the examination, while Jatin Kishore and Pratibha Verma have secured second and third positions respectively. 

According to preliminary reports, all 11 candidates from Northeast cleared the exam with Aranyak Saikia leading the pack at 59th position.  Overall, the 11 candidates include 5 from Assam, 2 each from Sikkim & Manipur and 1 each from Nagaland and Tripura.