Journey of a young civil service officer from Nagaland, Richard Yanthan

Journey of a young civil service officer from Nagaland, Richard Yanthan

KOHIMA | AUG 08, 2020: 

If at first you don't succeed, try again. That was exactly what this young man from Nagaland, Richard Yanthan did. He failed in his first attempt to clear the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination, but that only motivated him to strive harder and of course, his hard work paid off. 

"Perseverance and determination paid off in the end," said Yanthan. 

Failure isn't the end of a journey; it is a new beginning – a chance to introspect and reflect, to reorient, and to learn from one's own mistakes. Having said that, grit and determination are equally important characteristics that can lead you to your goal.

Despite his inability to achieve his target in his first attempt, Yanthan refused to settle for the 'stars' (NPSC) and worked harder till he succeeded in reaching the 'moon' (UPSC), figuratively speaking. 

Meet 25-yr-old Richard Yanthan, a young civil service officer who made Nagaland proud by securing the 133rd position in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination 2019.

Aside from his achievement, Yanthan became the talk of the town for being the lone candidate from the state to achieve the feat after a gap of 13 years.

TNT-The Northeast Today spoke to Richard Yanthan on his achievement and his vision for the future of Nagaland.


Richard Yanthan is the son of (L) Chenithung James Yanthan of Lakhuti village in Wokha district and Mrs. Shilemenla Longchari of Changki village in Mokokchung district. 

He was born and brought up in Kohima capital. He is the eldest of three siblings; he has a younger brother and a younger sister. His mother is an employee of the Nagaland Civil Secretariat.

He completed his class 10 from Chandmari Higher Secondary School in Kohima in 2011 and his class 12 from Kohima Science College in 2013; he completed his graduation in Civil Engineering from Guwahati, Assam in 2017. 

All along, his educational status remained consistent, securing 1st division in all the major examinations.

"I was not a topper in school or college but my strength lies in my ability to be consistent," said Yanthan. Certainly, his consistency was heralded as a strategy to achieve a long-term goal. 


The 25-yr-old calm and composed Richard Yanthan took three years to prepare for the UPSC examinations. 

After his graduation, he went to Delhi and started preparing for the civil service examinations in one of the coaching institutes in the national capital.

Talking about his preparation, Yanthan said, "Initially, while in Delhi, I spent 11-12 hours preparing and this included reading and classroom sessions. After completing the core concept, I then devoted my time to practice and solving previous years' question papers."

After completing one year of training, he was ready to give the examination. But his first attempt was unsuccessful. He failed to make it past the interview stage.

"I was disappointed and frustrated. But I didn't stop there," he said, recollecting that the failure was a blessing in disguise. "I learned a lot from my mistakes. I got the chance to brush up on the errors and work on my mistakes," he stated. 

Following this, he returned to Nagaland in 2018, where he prepared for the Nagaland state Civil Services (NCS) examination. He cleared the NCS exam in 2019 in his first attempt, securing 7th rank, the result of which was declared in December last year.

Meanwhile, during that period (2019), while he was waiting for the NCS results, he didn't content himself with the hope of making it through the state civil examination but made use of his time to prepare for the UPSC exam. And of course, his hard work and determination paid off!

In his second attempt in 2019, he managed to crack the UPSC examination with flying colours, the result of which was declared in August 2020.


Currently, he is in the State Civil Service. After clearing the NCS examination, he was absorbed into the service this year. He was supposed to join on April 1, 2020, but due to the COVID situation, his posting was delayed. On June 18, his posting order came and was posted as the Extra Assistant Commissioner (EAC) under probation, attached to the Nagaland House in Delhi.

Even before the posting order was notified, Yanthan was already in Delhi for his UPSC interview.


There were several challenges he faced while preparing for the exams in Delhi. "There were problems concerning the accommodation, commuting, food, and the experience of living in the rented house for the first time plus the workload," he said.

But despite all this, Yanthan received a lot of support from his family and friend. "They gave me the strength to overcome all these challenges," Yanthan said adding that besides his family's constant support, he also spent a decent amount of time watching motivational talks by toppers.


"Since my childhood days, my family would often talk a lot about the bureaucracy and how it can enable someone to bring about a change through policy formulation. So, when I was in my 9th and 10th standard, my goal was to become a civil service officer," Yanthan told TNT.

"My primary aim to enter the bureaucracy was because it provides an opportunity to bring about good governance, policy formulation and implementation, and addressing the lacuna in the society," he added.

Yanthan is now waiting for his posting orders. He had opted for his home cadre (Nagaland) as the first preference and Arunachal-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre as his second choice.  

"I will give my best in whichever state I am posted," he added.

"When you are at your lowest point, look for that thing which motivates you the most. It could be a prayer, a loved one, one's family, a personality that you admire, a song or movie etc. Channel all your motivation and positivity into your preparation and the desired results will ensue in the end" ~~ Richard Yanthan.

(The writer is the Managing Editor of TNT-The Northeast Today. She is based in Shillong, Meghalaya. She can be contacted at or 


Related Stories

The Northeast Today