Iqbal Dhaliwal IAS – A Dream that Nourished After 24 Years

Iqbal Dhaliwal stood first in the UPSC Civil Services Examination in 1996 and worked for years in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), and is currently the Deputy Director of Policy at the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in the Economics Department of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.

Since childhood itself, his parents wanted Iqbal to be an IAS officer because this is one service which allows an individual to do a tremendous amount of good work for the people and make a difference in the lives of a few. Iqbal says, “his dream came true – a dream that his family and he nourished for 24 years”.

Marks Obtained

Iqbal Dhaliwal scored 1250 in the written and things went well in the interview and he was awarded 226 marks, making a total of 1466 which allowed him to join IAS.

Must Read: Vijayalakshmi Bidari IAS, UPSC Topper of 2001

Family Background

Iqbal Dhaliwal was born and brought up in Bangalore. His father was in the BSF, his mother runs her own school and her sister is a Doctor. Married to Professor Gopinath her classmate, and she works in the area of international Macroeconomics and Finance. They live happily near Cambridge with their son.

Educational Background

Iqbal Dhaliwal did his schooling from the Mothers International School with Science subject in 1989. He completed his B.A.(Honours) in Economics from Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University in 1992 and M.A. in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics in 1994 and secured first rank in the college. He was also specialised in Developmental Economics, Public Finance, Agricultural Economics, Money and Banking. He also did Masters in Public Affairs (MPA, Development Studies) from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Optional Subject

Iqbal Dhaliwal opted for Economics and Public Administration as his optional paper. He choose Economics as his optional subject because he did his graduation with the same subject and does not require any preparation.

Don’t Miss: Meet IAS Topper Mutyala Raju Revu and Read his answers to UPSC Board

Attempts by Iqbal Dhaliwal

Iqbal Dhaliwal gave his first attempt in June 1994 and managed to get a rank of 229. He was allotted to the Indian Civil Accounts Service Group A. He accepted the service but took a year’s extension since his heart was on the IAS. And in his second attempt he finally cracked the UPSC Civil Services Examination in 1996 and secured the first position.

Tips for future Aspirants

  • Read NCERT books throughly.
  • Make a routine to read newspaper daily and be aware of the current issues that are happening.
  • Revise the class notes of previous 5 years of academics.
  • Extraordinary preparation is required other than developing a bit of confidence in yourself.

Also Read: Preparation for UPSC Interview



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Articles are written and edited by the Syskool Staffs.


  1. very inspiration story , I read ba 2nd year political science (hons) , please tell what is exact time for preparation ?

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