Ankur Garg, a civil service entrance topper, is studying International Development at Harvard, and achieved 171/170 in macroeconomics.
New Delhi: Ankur Garg scored 171 out of 170 in a Harvard University examination in macroeconomics, but seems unfazed by the achievement.
After all, it is only the latest feat in a career that has already seen him become India’s youngest civil service entrance exam topper in 2002.
“I was happy, but did not expect this will turn out to be such big news,” IAS officer Garg told ThePrint from the US over the telephone, days after his achievement hit the headlines.
He explained that although he had achieved a rare feat, it was not unheard of. “In some US universities, professors grant extra credit points if the content of your answer goes beyond the scope of a regular question,” he said.
It made him recall the words of his father, who always encouraged him to score “11 out of 10”.
But the icing on the cake, Garg said, was the extra mark was awarded by leading macroeconomist Jeffrey Frankel, the James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Garg is in the US for two years to study International Development — an economics-oriented course that deals with advanced economic and financial models to solve contemporary problems in international development, including education, health and poverty alleviation, through examples of international best practices.
The IIT-Delhi alumnus is awaiting the results of the other exams that were part of this semester.
Garg has had a distinguished career as a government official so far, and his varied experience as a policy-maker in various states and ministries may also have played a role in him gaining that elusive extra mark.
An IAS officer from the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre, his last assignment was as the private secretary to civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu. He has also held several important positions during his tenures in Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.
Garg is said to have been instrumental in the implementation of various information and communication technologies (ICT) and e-governance initiatives.
How the course will help India
Garg says the course he’s currently studying will help him tremendously in his core job as a policy-maker once he comes back to India.
“The lessons from this course will help develop better solutions to several social sector issues in India,” he said. “Learning from the best international practices and the latest technologies will be a significant value addition.”
His areas of interest lie in planning and finance, though he clarified that it would be the government’s prerogative to decide which sector he would end up working on.
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