As students scramble for admission into science stream, Nandini Singla, Ambassador Designate to Portugal, could well be an example of how an arts stream student from a small town can go places.
“I was denied admission to arts stream initially at Basaveshwara College in Bagalkot as I had scored 88 per cent in SSLC and students with such a score usually opt for science. I got admission only after my parents intervened,” recalled Nandini, the 1997 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer. She is in Hubballi to meet her parents — K. Gururaj Rao, former LIC officer, and K. Premalatha, homemaker.
It was her selection to the Republic Day parade and a six-month youth exchange programme in Canada that sowed the seed of joining IFS.
During her BA at Sri Kadasiddheshwar College of Arts and HS Kotambri Science Institute in Hubballi, she went to Canada. She went on to top Karnatak University in BA, secured the first rank at University of Mumbai in MA political science, and then pursued M.Phil in JNU. Her dedication saw her through the civil services in her first attempt.
Married to Sanjeev Singla, personal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she served in various capacities before becoming Joint Secretary (Europe West) in the Ministry of External Affairs. In her new responsibility, Ms. Nandini will look to improve India-Portugal relations further.
Under the External Affairs Ministry’s new initiative, all Indian envoys posted abroad have been asked to choose one State of their choice. As a native of Karnataka, Ms. Nandini has chosen her home State and plans to take forward ideas and initiatives from the region and create an ecosystem for development.