A Passion for Change: Renu Raj’s Transition From Medicine To Civil Services

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New Delhi, 4th July 2023: Renu Raj, an extraordinary woman from Kerala, has achieved the unthinkable by cracking the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil services exam. This exam has gained a reputation for being one of the most challenging examinations in India. What sets her story apart is that she embarked on this challenging journey while already pursuing a career in medicine. Remarkably, within just a few months of preparation, Renu achieved an all-India 2nd rank in the UPSC exam on her very first attempt.

Born and raised in Kerala, Renu completed her schooling at St. Teresa Higher Secondary School in Kottayam. Her father, a retired government employee, and her mother, a housewife, provided the foundation of support for her dreams. After finishing school, she enrolled in the Government Medical College, also in Kottayam, to pursue her medical studies. It was during this time that she began preparing for the UPSC exam in 2013, alongside her medical studies. In a remarkable turn of events, in 2014, she cracked the exam on her first attempt, securing an extraordinary rank of two—an achievement that is incredibly rare.

In numerous interviews, Renu Raj has expressed her deep-rooted desire to make a lasting impact on society. She once explained that she chose to transition from a career in medicine because, as a doctor, she could only help a limited number of people, ranging from 50 to 100 patients. However, as an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, she recognized the immense potential to positively influence the lives of thousands of individuals.Back in 2015, Renu Raj’s father expressed to the media that if she had pursued a career as a doctor, her impact would have been limited to the patients who sought her care. However, by choosing to become an IAS officer, she could make a difference in the lives of thousands of people.

During an earlier interview, Renu Raj conveyed her perspective on effecting societal change, stating, “I have no notion of changing society overnight.” She further assured, “I can guarantee you one thing. Nobody will have to approach me for a second time if they have a genuine demand.” These words reflect her commitment to serving the people and addressing their needs with sincerity and efficiency.

Currently, Renu Raj is married to Sriram Venkataraman, who is also a rank holder in the UPSC exam. She serves as the District Collector of Alappuzha in Kerala—a position that allows her to actively contribute to the development and welfare of the district. Renu Raj’s journey exemplifies her exceptional determination, dedication, and the remarkable impact she continues to make as an IAS officer.