2010 – Sample UPSC Interview
Board Chairperson - Smt. Shasi Uban Tripathi
You did M.Sc in economics…..well…..
(I added) Madam, Basically it’s a dual degree program…..
Madam, it’s a 5year integrated 2-degree program. I obtained 2 degrees. B.E in Electrical & Electronics and M.Sc. in Economics. In particular, I took interest in Electronics & specialized in it.
What did you do since 2005(after passing out)?
For 2 years, I worked in an American MNC. The work was related to chip designing. We used to make semiconductor devices used in electronics gadgets.
Where were you placed?
Pune, Maharashtra, madam..
In 2007, I resigned to prepare fulltime for civil services. Last year, I got selected into IRS(C&CE) service.
So, you are in training at Faridabad academy…
No Madam. After 1 month of training, I took Extra-Ordinary Leave for 1 year.
Ok. That means you will go back to training if you are not selected.
No madam. I took 1 year leave to study for this exam just incase I need to face the exam again. I shall be writing 2010 exam and then joining the training along with my juniors in December2010. Though I will be losing 1 year seniority, I felt that it was a worthy risk to take.
Do you think the EOL(extra-ordinary leave) is justified?
Madam, its good in the sense that only the fully interested probationers continue with the training. It helps people like me to get an opportunity to try once more and then return to training so that full commitment can be given.
Yes, you are right.
What are your service preferences?
What is Diplomacy ?
Sir, I think… using tact to get things done.
Don’t you think tactfulness is a tool of diplomacy. What is the difference between diplomacy and tact?
I am not very sure madam. I have a very subjective understanding of these.
Can diplomats be honest?
I strongly feel that diplomats have to be honest because they represent the country. Infact, all civil servants have to be honest because they handle public affairs. Generally it is said that national interests are above anything in diplomacy. But, I feel, if we are dishonest in international arena, we may gain in the short-run. But, it will create more enemies for us in the long-run.
Do you think diplomats can be dishonest now a days?
No madam, they work under full media gaze…they represent the nation….if they are inconsistent, it will be immediately noticed….
Yes, yes…you are right.
Despite science back-ground, you took humanities optionals..why?
I was not very comfortable with economics. Elelctrical engineering optional has syllabus that is covers what 4 separate engineerings at university level teach. More over, I was working. I couldn’t have handled the load of electrical engineering optional. So, it was a conscious choice to take humanities. I have intuitive interest in Public Administration. I found Geography also interesting. I interacted with some of my seniors who had humanities optionals. Basically, till school level, I used to be good at maths, science & social studies. So, I felt confident about my performance.
Also, is it because of high scorability?
Yes sir, its because of high scoring also.
Ok. That’s good.
Don’t you play? I don’t see any games as your hobbies. ‘all study & no play makes Jack a dull boy’….
I agree with you sir. I do play games. Cricket, badminton & volleyball. It is just that I prioritized my hobbies while filling the biodata form due to the limited space available.
What kind of newspaper cuttings you collect? When did the hobby start?
I do cuttings of interesting articles & motivating photos etc from news papers. During my schooling in Navodaya Vidyalaya, we used to have a 5-minute speech in the morning assembly. Students have to present on any topic of general interest. I took lot of interest in it. This way, I started collecting paper cuttings. Now a days, I am collecting more of inspirational articles & photos. They help me like Gandhiji’s Talisman whenever I feel very down.
What kind of books do you read?
Sir, I read many types of books. Story books, novels, motivational books, spiritual books, fiction & non-fiction. Etc.
Name some fiction & non-fiction books you read….
The Alchemist. I Dare. ……..7-8 books.
Any foreign author books u read….
…..some book names……
Which book you like the most?
Sir, ‘The Alchemist’ is my most favorite book . Since 2004, it has been my companion in many decisions. Even when I was about to decide on 1 year leave, it helped me make up my mind. At one point of time, I felt like settling down with IRS(C&CE). It was like the situation when the shepherd in The Alchemist finds his lady love and thinks of settling down in the oasis itself. The way he later moves on in his search made me realize that though in short-run few things might be of satisfaction, in the long-run, one gets frustrated unless he follows his goal. Every time, I read the book, I learn a new perspective.
What is sustainable development ? explain it in context of rural or urban areas.
Sir, I shall explain it interms of rural areas. SD stands for harmonious way of living with nature in such a way that we use resources within the recuperating capacity of the nature. i.e. we generate lesser wastes, lesser emissions, use resources judiciously.
In rural areas, SD involves…………..
What should administrators learn from HDI?
Sir our HDI rank is 134. It shows that our development is not inclusive. Close to 70% people are living at subsistence level. Education & skills…vocational training are needed for tapping the opportunities of liberalization. Even proficiency in English alone makes lot of difference. So, administrators have to realize that for better HDI, proper implementation of existing schemes is needed.
What do you mean by Indianisation of administration?
Basically, it is about de-colonialisation of our civil service…..interms of bringing reforms to make it suit our democratic polity. ..i.e. changing the attitudes of civil servant & changing the rigid hierarchical rules&structures… towards a participative administration. Over 1000s of years, India has had a strong tradition of village level democracy..where decisions used to be taken consensually. In tune with that, lot of reforms were done in the last 60years. Recent steps like RTIAct, Social Audit…… are also towards Indianisation of our administration.
You have tourism as your hobby.What is the tourism potential of Andhra Pradesh.
…..Forests….rivers….hills…eco-tourism….long coast…..pilgrim centres….rural tourism….
My friend asked you about SD. Sardar sarovar dam …..lot of compounding/impounding is there…do you know what it is?.....it means building lot of small dams. But, water is not reaching the big dam. What do you say about sustainable development of it…..
Sir, the very fact that water is not reaching the big dam shows that we don’t need such big dams. It is sustainable to have many small dams, leading to water harvesting in a decentralized manner. Big dams are not sustainable sir. They displace many people, submerge lot of villages & farms.
What are the ecological indicators of sustainable development in a region?
Forest cover is an important indicator. Ideally, 33% cover is needed. Also, not just having forests, quality of forest cover is also an indicator. We need pristine forests, not just a collection of trees. Having lot of water bodies is also an indicator. Sir, I am not sure if there is any quantification for this.
Other aspects like lack of soil erosion…..
What about animals, fishes, planktons………
Sorry sir, I couldn’t think of these. Thank you for telling..
(I was dumb ! Bio-diversity is the key word missing, despite hints ! )
You talked about RTI. Recently there is another Act that is in news.PM is going to address the nation. RTEducation. what is it basically?
RTEAct brings into effect the fundamental right under Art21A. state takes the responsibility of educating children between 6-14years of age.
Do you think the poor children really want to study? I think they want to work for a living.
Its true sir. But, given a chance, a majority of them want to study sir. Its only because of economic limitations that they are working.
But, still, Forcing them to go to school is not justified. what should be done? What will you do?
Sir, first I will answer it in general & then tell what I would do. Our present education system of 10+2+3/4 makes students study for 16-18years, all the while depending on parents. I feel we need some kind of Wardha system as suggested by Gandhiji. Along with studies, students can learn vocational skill also sir. Summer holidays can be used for vocational training. By continuing mid-day meal scheme in summers, we can reduce drop-outs. Otherwise, they may start working in the summers and discontinue studies.
So, you mean earn while you are learning. That’s good.
(pause…..so, I continued….)Coming to my role, I will implement the NREGS properly so that parents get wages and do not migrate. They can then send their children to schools. Also, I will ensure proper implementation of Mid-day Meal scheme so that children do not drop out.
But,…Mid-day meal has some problems. Children are getting illness.
Yes sir, in some cases, due to improper hygiene & management, children’s health is getting affected. It’s a serious issue as it influences their state of health for the whole life.
CHILDREN ARE EATING EVERYTHING…..DAL,ROTI,CHAVAL,SABJI……IS IT NEEDED? ISN’T THERE ANY ALTERNATIVE.
Sir, there is an alternative…Britannia offered to provide fortified biscuits having proteins & carbohydrates just for Rs.3. such solutions can be explored, sir.
But, sir, instead of considering M-D-Meal scheme as a problem, we should turn it into an opportunity.
In our school, students used to manage the mess in turns. It’s an opportunity to learn management.
Using parents committees and involving local panchayats can also help better monitoring.
THE MORE PEOPLE WE INVOLVE, THE MORE IT LEADS TO CORRUPTION …..
I agree with you sir. But, here, we are not adding more officers. We are adding the stake holders. Infact, it will make it more accountable.
What is the tourism potential of North-East?
Madam, north-east is like ‘paradise unexplored’….its the Department of Tourism’s caption for north-east.
Sikkim has Himalayas-Kanchenjunga…the highest peak of India + Buddhist centers.
Arunachal Pradesh has lot of hill streams….trekking, river rafting…
Assam has national parks, Vaishnavaite pilgrim centres like Majuli Island.
Meghalaya has dense forests + high rainfall…
No…There is water problem out there….
Yes Madam, because of bad monsoons, last year there was drought in Meghalaya as well as the whole of the north-east. Places like Cherrapunji that was once famous for highest amount of rainfall is facing drought now. Basically, the problem is that Madam, the rain water just flows away….without sinking into underground. We need check-dams and other water harvesting mechanisms to solve this problem.
Where is the water flowing away to ?
Its finally joining the Brahmaputra madam.
Or is it joining our neighbor ?!!!!(laughing)
Yes madam, on the southern side, Bangladesh gets the water…….
Why the tourism is low in north-east?
Mainly because of the law & order situation there. Also, lack of development & infrastructure that can support tourism.
But, how can development happen when there is no movement of people to north-east ?
Yes madam, its like a chicken & egg problem….tourism or development is low because of law&order situation. Also, bad law&order is there due to lack of development. It’s a slow & painful process to break this vicious cycle.
1st Member intervened…………I want to ask you one last question…..( he is from North-East )…
What is the difference between terrorism & insurgency
Terrorism is a very broad term. Media tends to associate it with what is happening on our western border. I feel any one who terrorizes others is a terrorist…i.e. who ever uses violence on others can be called a terrorist. in India, we associate insurgency with the secessionist groups operating in the north-east. They too use violence against the state.
Why some NE areas want to secede from India ?
Historically & culturally, some NE regions are different from main-land India. Also, continued neglect of those regions and less integration deepened the differences.
So, responsibility lies on whom ?
Sir, onus lies on the majority to instill confidence & trust in the minorities.
(…pause…..i continued…) sir, I too had some experiences of being a minority when the majority is non-cooperative. While I was working in Pune, my team used to converse in Marathi though I was present. Despite repeated requests, it used to happen.
India is a big country with lot of diversity….don’t bother about these minor things……ok…fine…
I agree with you madam….if you permit me to add………………I did Gandhigiri with them…some kind of non-cooperation. In one discussion, I completely stayed silent …... After 1 hour or so, some one pointed out that I was not participating. Then onwards they used to speak in English/Hindi with outsiders……