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Living Her Mother’s Dream: Labdhi Jain Becomes Nuapada’s First IFS Officer

Labdhi Jain, overcoming numerous challenges, became the first Indian Forest Services (IFS) officer from Nuapada, fulfilling her mother's dream.
Indian Masterminds Stories

Labdhi Jain grew up in a small town in Nuapada District, where even basic necessities were scarce. Educational opportunities were limited, and for any medical emergency, residents had to rush to Raipur. The town had only one primary health care center, and frequent power cuts lasting two to three days left lamps and lanterns as the only sources of light. Despite these challenges, Labdhi never let go of her big dreams. She aspired to become a civil servant and, in 2023, she achieved her goal by clearing the UPSC IFS exam with an impressive AIR 36, becoming the first Indian Forest Services officer from her district.

In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, Ms. Jain shared her inspiring journey of overcoming obstacles and her insights from preparing for one of the toughest exams in the country.

GOT IT FROM MY MOTHER 

Ms. Labdhi Jain, daughter of a small retail business owner and a homemaker, completed her studies at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya from class 9 onwards. From an early age, she aspired to achieve something significant, often inspired by stories from her mother, who had dreamt of becoming a civil servant but couldn’t pursue it due to familial responsibilities. This dream was passed on to Ms. Jain, who, after graduating in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering, took a corporate job. However, she soon realized that corporate life wasn’t for her. In 2021, she made her first attempt at the UPSC exam but couldn’t clear the prelims.

Labdhi Jain IFS

LOST WANDERER 

“I scored just 60 marks in the prelims, which is really low. I was a lost wanderer during my first year of preparation. I didn’t know what to study or how to study,” shared Ms. Jain. Despite this initial setback, she persevered and within a year, not only crossed the cutoff for the Civil Services but also for the Forest Services. She wrote the Mains for both exams but couldn’t clear them. However, in 2023, she successfully cleared the Indian Forest Services exam, securing an impressive AIR 36.

When asked about her decision to choose the IFS, she explained, “I was aware of the IFS exam, but as I delved deeper into the preparation, I explored it more thoroughly. Having grown up in Odisha and being very close to nature and wildlife, the IFS caught my attention. I really wanted to join this service,” said the topper.

BIGGEST MISTAKE 

UPSC has a specific checklist of expectations from each candidate, and the more you understand about the exam, the better you can perform. This was the mantra Ms. Jain adopted in her second attempt. Highlighting one of the biggest mistakes in the initial stage of her preparation, Ms. Jain emphasized the importance of previous years’ questions (PYQs). She advises every aspirant to meticulously study the PYQs and base their preparation around them. “Avoiding PYQs is like committing suicide for anyone who is aspiring for civil services,” said the topper.

HAVE HOPE BUT DON’T EXPECT 

The three-year journey was filled with ups and downs for Ms. Jain. She reflects that waking up every day and preparing to study for eight hours is a challenge in itself. If you can do that, no exam is too difficult. Sharing some golden advice for other aspirants, she says, “Everyone knows that this exam is tough and unpredictable. Don’t stop yourself from hoping for success if you are prepared to work on your mistakes. However, don’t expect too much from this exam.”


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