Dileep Kanikkara, a native of Changanacherry, stood 21st in the Civil Services Examination rank list that was published on Monday. Among candidates from Kerala who took the Civil Services Examination, 2021, this is the top-most rank.
Dileep cleared the exam in his third attempt. He had bagged the 18th rank in last year’s Indian Forest Service Examination, had since been on leave to prepare for his dream job in the civil services.
Dileep had earlier won the first rank of the Kerala entrance exam and 13th rank in the Joint Entrance Examination.
After completing his studies at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Dileep flew to Samsung’s Artificial Intelligence lab in South Korea to build his career. Now, as he enjoys his latest achievement, Dileep speaks to Manorama about his preparations and aims.
Why did you return from South Korea?
My dream to return to the common masses by entering the civil services got stronger. That is why I quit my job and returned to India.
How did you prepare for the Civil Services Examination?
I studied at the Placid Vidya Vihar School in Changanassery until Plus-Two. Then I went to IIT, Madras, for my higher studies. Civil Services Exam is not like any other regular exam that could be approached lightly. As it has a vast and elaborate syllabus, a proper timetable for at least a year should be prepared to cover every topic. Besides, you should have clear idea about how much you should progress in a month. Try to read as many newspapers and magazines as possible. It is really important to update your knowledge and information.
How was the interview?
Most questions were about the field that I had studied and worked in. They asked me how I could use the technology that I had studied to tackle the flood situation in Kerala. IAS officers have to work in almost all the fields of the society. So, my answer was that I could apply whatever I had studied in those fields. They also asked me why I had turned to civil services leaving a well–paying job.
Can you name three books that you enjoyed?
Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and India After Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha.