It was a great day and I was charged with the blessings and wishes of hundreds of my wellwishers. My civil services interview was scheduled in the morning session. I was the second candidate to be interviewed by my panel. Fortunately, there was no time for discussions about the board while we were sitting in the waiting hall as the UPSC staff had kept us busy with the formalities that had to be completed. The UPSC staff is very cordial and effecient. I felt happy about it. The first candidate was called at around 10.00 a.m. I was made to wait outside the interview hall at around 10.15 a.m. It is a wonderful ambience inside the UPSC building and by God’s Grace, the climate was too pleasant for a April 13 in Delhi. I was enjoying this beauty when suddenly, a person came with some
snacks and tea. I was praying that he should serve the snacks and tea before I enter the room. I would not be very comfortable having those snacks and tea and answering the interview panel’s questions simultaneously. My prayers were heard.
The board took around 10 minutes after the exit of the first candidate. I am not sure if they were discussing my summary sheet or having their snacks. The bell rang at around 10.25 a.m. I entered with a ‘May I Come in Sir’. The Chairman responded with a great smile. I took my seat and was into a different world altogether for the next 35-40 minutes. Words flew from my mouth effortlessly without any blabbering and I am feeling very good that there was no ‘untoward’ incident reported during the interview. I am not taking the efforts to describe the exact details of the interview room or the exact layout of the member’s table. There were five members including the Chairman (all male). Here are the questions and answers that will decide my career in the civil services. The sequence is not original. I am also refraining from naming the chairman of the board.
Sir, it is Sudhir Gupta.
Sudhir, What are you doing currently?
Sir, I am an intern at the Planning Commission of India.
What is it? Is it a permanent employment?
No Sir, the internship is for a maximum of six months.
What do you do there?
Sir, I am assigned to the Socio Economic Research Division and I am allocated some work by the advisor of the division.
How much do they pay you?
Sir, they pay me 10000 rs per month
Did you leave your previous job as Assistant Professor?
Yes sir, I resigned after clearing my prelims.
But now, you have joined some other employment. How does it help.
Sir, I joined the Planning Commission only recently after clearing my mains examination.
You are a MS by Research in Computer Science Engineering? (A question like why do you want to join civil services was asked)
Sir, I feel helpless when I see the people in distress conditions, the marginalized sections of the society. I believe that by the authority vested in me, particularly by getting into IAS I will no longer be helpless. I will be satisfied and happy. My lower order needs have been met and now it is the self esteem and self actualisation needs that are important for me. I am pursuing my dream.
(There was a tacit approval of my strategies on the face of the member)
How does one become happy?
Sir, One becomes happy when one gets what one wanted or reaches his goals.
What does it take for one to be happy? Money, power, satisfaction.
Sir, it is a mix of all these and this proportion varies from person to person.
Nowadays, it is felt that politics can do a lot to help the people. What is your opinion?
Post independence sir, the political executive has a lot of authority to transform the lives of the citizens. It is definitely on my agenda but today,getting into IAS is a much more easier proposition than getting into politics.
What is GPS?
Geographical Positioning System
Ok, you will be knowing this. Now, tell me what is the system that Russia and EU is building in lieu of GPS?
Sir, Russia is building GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and I forgot the name of the system, Europe is building.
Ok, is GLONASS operational or was it operational before and now defunct?
Sir, GLONASS is still short of some satellites required for being operational. It was never
operational. The project was shelved after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. It has been activated only now with the help of other countries.
Tell me about ITER (he did not say aye tee ee aar)?
Pardon me sir.
Now he said I. T. E. R
Sir, it stands for International Thermonuclear Experimental Research. He corrected it as reactor and I acknowledged. I further said that this research aims to harness energy from the nuclear fusion process, the process that takes place on the surface of the sun.
Do you know about the project cost and the countries involved?
Sir, I do not know about the exact project cost and all the countries involved. I only know that India is a part of this project.
You are from IIIT-Hyderabad. The ministry of HRD is trying to establish IIITs on a PPP basis. Are you aware of such a proposal?
Yes Sir, this proposal is inspired by the successful functioning of IIIT-Hyderabad. The Government gives the land and other infrastructural facilities. The institutes should have to become self sustainable and find their own resources for the maintenance.
You are giving me the general details. Do you know the specifics of the proposal?
No Sir, I do not know the specifics.
There was some question of biological diversity and he clarified that he wanted to know about living modified organisms.
I told him about the access and benefit sharing provisions of CBD which enable the local communities to share the profits accruing to the companies from living modified organisms. He seemed to be satisfied and did not grill me further.
Which are the different modes of trade recognized under GATTS? Sir, there are four modes of trade M1, M2, M3, M4. I know that M4 is movement of people. I know the other modes but do not know the exact mapping as to which is M1, M2 and M3. Presence abroad, Foreign investment are the other modes. He then told me about internet etc as M1. I then added remittances to it. He felt satisfied.
Have you heard of Article 370. What is it?
Sir, this article provides special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Is it special status? Do you know the exact titling of the article.
No Sir, I only know the essence of the article.
Ok, tell me the essence of the article.
Sir, there are some subjects of the Union list which are not applicable to the state and the state also has its own constitution.
Does it have a constitution or only a law?
Sir, it has it’s own constitution drafted by a Constitutent Assembly.
Constituent Assembly? Are you sure?
Yes Sir, I am sure.
Do any other states enjoy this special status?
Yes Sir, Under article 371, some states of the North East enjoy this special status.
Yesterday, you have heard about the judgement on Right to Education by the Supreme court?
What is the exact title of the act?
Sir, I will try to recollect. It is Right to Compulsory education Act, I think sir.
It is Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act.
Thank you sir.
What is the implication of the judgement?
Sir, the implication is that Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer voluntary and it can
be mandated by the State.
Are all the private institutes affected by the judgment?
No Sir, unaided minority institutions are not affected.
Which are the categories of institutes affected>
Sir, Government schools, Aided private schools and unaided private schools.
Question repeat: Which are not covered?
Sir, Unaided minority schools.
Are Kendriya Vidyalayas also included?
Sir, I think, an amendment was passed to keep Kendriya Vidyalayas out of the purview of the act.
No, it was within the act itself.
Ok sir, thank you.
Are you aware of any previous two judgements of Supreme Court in which the rights of private institutions were upheld? Yes Sir, I only know the name of one of the case. It is T.M.A Pai case. I do not know the specifics of the case.
Ok, your subjects are public administration and sociology? Tell me, what is marriage.
Sir, Marriage is a social institution that legitimizes procreation and there are other perspectives like the marxian perspective which say that marriage is a way of producing children of undisputed paternity which is related to property rights.
What do you think about the compulsory registration of marriages? Should we go for it.
Sir, right now, marriage is not a subject dealt by the Uniform Civil Code and is left to the
individual communities. We should know the ‘sense’ of the community.
The cabinet has made decision about the same yesterday. Do you know about it.
No Sir, I am not aware of it.
You have written something about Green day and AIDS awareness? Can you tell more about that.
Sir, as a secretary of Community Development, we started the celebration of Green day where every saturday, the students and the faculty were requested to use public transport system and not their personal vehicles.
What personal vehicles?
Most of them used to get a two wheeler. Some of them used to get a four wheeler.
What about AIDS awareness?
Sir, we used to conduct seminars and distribute related material.
What did it contain?
Sir, many students were unaware of the ways through which AIDS infects and spreads. We tried to tell them about this sources and the prevention that they should take.
What is STD?
Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
You said something about Corporate Social Responsibility? What is it?
Sir, CSR requires the businesses to follow ethical practices in their business and also contribute to the community around them.
So, what are the companies doing?
Sir, the public sector companies are earmarking 2% of their profits towards CSR. An equal amount is not forthcoming from the private sector but the private sector have their own ways to effect CSR by establishing trusts and foundations.
Do you know of any such trusts or foundations?
Yes Sir, I know of one such trust in my hometown. It’s Deshpande foundation run by Mr. Gururaj Deshpande who is an NRI.
What do they do?
Sir, they are focusing on the education of children. They have a programme called Agasthya. The students are provided best quality education in sciences and they also help in other ways by adopting schools and providing transport facilities to the students.
You spoke about self esteem and self actualisation. What are they?
Sir, they are the high order social needs as propounded by Maslow.
What is IPO?
Sir, is it Intellectual Property Outsourcing….
No, I was speaking about Inputs, Process and Outputs. Can you tell me more?
Sir, they are the basic units of a system and we could also add a fourth one which is feedback.
As an administrator, you will be required to know all these things. Compare it with the administrative system.
Sir, the inputs are obtained from the people from whom we derive our authority. The processes are established by the procedure established by law or the due process of law. The outputs are results from the various programmes of the administration.
Nowadays people are not satisfied with the outputs. Can you elaborate?
Sir, there is a realisation today that we should move from outputs to outcomes. Outcomes depends on the outputs in various interdisciplinary fields.
Can you give an example?
Sir, in case of health. The outcome is to provide the best health services to the citizens. But, this will not depend just on the outputs produced by the health department like IMR and MMR because the villages are connected to the primary health centre by roads and roads are built and maintained by public works department. Similarly, the ambulance services may be provided by the transport department. So, the outcome will depend on the outputs provided by various departments.
Define motivation? Sir, I do not know the scholarly definition of motivation but I can define it myself?
Ok go ahead and define it.
Sir, motivation is the determination to get what you want and achieve your goals.
What was you specialization in IIIT Hyderabad?
Sir, I worked on image processing.
Ok, I will give you a task. You are driving a vehicle. There is another vehicle in front of you and there is a vehicle coming from the front. How will you overtake? Give me an answer from the engineering point of view in terms of input, processing and output.
Sir, the input will be provided by the eyes in terms of the visual information. Some other sensory organs like the ears could also supplement if the vehicle coming from the front also sounds horn. There is also a sense of depth because of the stereoscopic vision. So, all these inputs will be processed by the brain and signals will be sent to the locomotory organs. In this case, to the arms that are controlling the steering wheel and to the legs that are controlling the accelerator.
Compare a human being with a computer.
Sir, the sensory organs act like an input, the brain does the processing along with the mind and output functions are performed by certain other organs like the locomotory organs. Mind is represented by the heart.
Which is the CPU? The brain or the heart?
Sir, comparing to the mechanical computer, it is brain where the calculations are done.
The CPU is the heart. Without heart, the body will not function.
I was nodding with a good smile on my face
Thank you, your interview is over.
Thank you Sirs.
No non sense questions and I am happy. Fingers crossed for the results in the first week of May.