It was a tough and challenging goal for them; and they achieved it with a grit and determination.

A couple of women, R. Lalitha and R. Vimala from Tiruchi city have successfully cleared the test for Indian Administrative Service (IAS) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission in 2009.

A young graduate in Civil Engineering R. Lalitha (26) and a home-maker R. Vimala (31) had toiled hard to secure the 12-fth rank and 162-nd rank in the test. Ms. Lalitha ranks first in Tamil Nadu.

For Ms. Lalitha who graduated from Periyar Maniammai University in Vallam, it was her second successful attempt. In the first test in 2007, she secured 543-rd rank. Sensing that there would be a serious delay in posting, she resigned her job of Junior Executive Engineer in the Airports Authority of India in Chennai and worked hard to get through the IAS test, with history in the preliminary; and history and public administration in the main.

Daughter of an ex-serviceman, N. Rajendran, Ms. Lalitha says that she was inspired by army officials even during her school days in north India. Equally it was the comprehensive village development plan implemented at Tiruvalarchipatti village near here by the former Collector Ashish Vacchani, which inspired her most.

Her ambition is to give an impetus to the implementation of people-oriented programmes such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.

It was not a cake-walk for Ms. Vimala of Tiruchi, a young mother of twins, who has finished IAS test in the fifth attempt. No sooner she graduated in B.Sc (Chemistry) from a private college in Karur, she was married to a printing press owner in 1998.

She attributes her success to two factors: adequate study materials from newspapers and co-operation from her husband K. Kumar.

She took vital clues from the Study Circle of the Employment Exchange to prepare for the test. She chose history for her preliminary; and history and Tamil literature for the main.

Although she was able to complete the main examination in 2008, she did not get through in the interview.

But again she tried with determination and got it completed in 2009.

P. Suresh Kumar, Regional Deputy Director of Employment, explained how they both toiled hard in achieving their desired goal. He honoured them at a function held in the city on Friday.