This was my 3rd UPSC and 2nd IAS interview. So, I already knew the procedure. I am currently in IFS. But in such interview you never feel fully confident because of sheer pressure in those moments is quite high. As expectations are high not only your personal but also people who know you. And to do justice to those expectations create pressure on you.

After doing paper work and other formalities we were provided seats in the circular hall inside UPSC head office. We were already divided into groups. This time I was seeing a lot familiar faces from other services including IRS and IPS.

After some time I was called for interview. I came to know that it is board of an experienced diplomat. There were 5 members in the board.


I entered into the room. Greeted all. Chairman told me to sit.
Ch. So Parveen you went to IISc bangalore and if I may say the top institute of India. As the latest ranking by government also shows. How many years you spent there ?

Me. Yes mam. I spent two years there.

Ch. What were you doing after that.

Me. Mam currently I am in Indian Forest Service as a probationer.

Ch. Ok. Parveen there is a debate in India between traditional outlook and modern technologies( she elaborated little bit more). How do you see it ?

Me. Mam I believe in synthesis of both. As they say sometime old is gold. But at the same time we should be rational and open to the new ideas.

Ch. But according to some people there is this debate also about investing in science by countries like India. (It was a long statement, she touched digitisation, cyberspace etc.)

Me. Yes mam, even it was very much in news when we went for moon mission. Here I want to touch upon one example. Back in 1928 Dr CV Raman while in a journey came up with the idea of Raman Effect. And now the same theory is used in wide fields including health care and cancer research. Research takes time but it provide fruits.

Ch. What do you think is India a traditional society ?

Me. (After thinking little bit) Yes mam. At least in rural areas it is traditional. But in recent years things are changing and youth is leading.

Member 2

M2. Asked a long question on privacy and security. What do you say, should power be given to state for surveillance.

Me. Sir there should be privacy but if issues are of national security then there should be power with state.

M2. So do you think state can track your things on the name of security.

Me.Sir. I think proper procedure should be followed for it.

M2. And who will see the procedures.

Me. Court will do that.

M2. Court has already so many things to do. (He was adamant on grilling)

M2. What is Fiscal deficit and revenue deficit.

Me. Explained little bit. Half cooked probably.

M2.Can fiscal deficit be negative or positive if revenue deficit is negative.

Me. Yes Sir.

M2. Where is gulf of hormuj.

Me. (World map was revolving in my head. The statement of Manmohan Singh came into my mind when he said India’s extended neighbourhood lies from strait of malacca to state of hormuj. But didnt want to get into this area) I am sorry sir. I am unable to recollect now.

M5. Which is the longest river.

Me. Sir Nile river.

M5. Is it not Mississippi.

Me. Sorry sir this is what I remember.

M2.Where is Cape of good hope.

Me. It’s in Southern corner of Africa.

M2.Where is suej canal.

Me. Sir it’s in Egypt.

M2.Which two water bodies are joined by suej canal.

Me. Red sea and Mediterranean sea.

M2. How wide is Territorial waters of a country?

Me. Sir 12 Nautical Miles.

M2. After that?

Me. After that there is Contiguous Zone for 12 nautical miles.

M2. After that?

Me. Exclusive Economic Zone.

Member 3

M3. Parveen there is a concept called as Basin. What is basin improvement.

Me. Sir it’s like mapping of water quantity, maintaining quality in a river basin and at the same time managing the ecological flow of rivers.

M3. How they effect fisheries and local communities.

Me. Sir it will improve the quantity of fishes and so as the revenues of local communities.

M3. This is the problem we have …. we always talk about the revenues for people but forget that the basin will be so helpful for fishes and also providing them the nutrients.

Me. I am sorry sir I forget to mention.

M3. we have a debate in india which revolves around forest rights act which is hampering the forest protection. (He elaborated) How do u see it.

Me. Sir I think we can not do conservation without the role of local communities. As we have seen in case of Gir forests how Maldhari community is helping in conservation of lions.

M3.Parveen what do you think what was the role of Nehru in developing modern india. Why he should be called as maker of modern India ?

Me. Sir as my reading goes he made india a strong democracy.

M3. But was it in his hand. He was not the only one.

Me. Yes sir. But he was a strong leader at that time. He also listened to the opposition. He established various institutes including IITs, UGC and industries in 1st and 2nd five year plan.

M3. But there is a perception that PSUs are not doing any good and they are dead ships.

Me. This is true sir that many are not in good condition. But the reason being they have a mandate to provide services to people.

M3. Do you think some PSU should be winded up.

Me. Yes Sir if they are not profitable few can be winded.

M3.What is this new scheme about connecting the airports.

Me. Sir UDAAN scheme is about connecting various places by air. Government will do that viability gap funding up to the tune of 205 crore.

M3. He talked about corporate responsibility etc etc. Are they doing good or are there any provision for it.

Me. Talked about TATA doing CSR and then gave example of Sravoski helping in forest conservation in Bharatpur bird sanctuary.

M3. So you think they are doing find.

Me. Sir in recent years they are doing good but there is scope for improvement. Government has also introduced the role for CSR.

Member 4

M4.Again touching IISc…. Bla bla rank… And then coming to recent Rankings.. should any other criteria should be added.

Me. I touched upon existing criteria. She interrupted. We all know about these criteria. Would you like to add some new.

Me. Yes mam. Criteria like startup should be added. Then how much fund a particular institute is getting from industry.

M4.Why industry funding is important for universities.

Me. Currently government only providing funds. It will further increase funding to institutes at the same time it will solve industries practical problems.

M4. But then it will reduce power of institutes by private funding.

Me. No mam. It is only for specific projects. For example during my stay at college I was working on a a project related to agriculture sector funded from outside. It provided me knowledge about how projects should be handled including accounting.

Chairman – But there are no such projects in Humanities.

Me. Mam the research is also important in Humanities.

Ch. Parveen tell me what do you think. Do traditional societies provide enough scope for empowerment of women.

Me. No mam. They do not. For example problems like Dowry, Child Marriage, Low Labour Participation rate which is 35-37 % currently, and less properties on their name reduce the scope of empowerment.

M4. As u have written your hobby is blogging. So what do you blog.

Me. Mam I blog on contemporary issues. I give opinions on them. The prime reason for starting blogging was that I wanted to improve my english which was very week. As blogging give you luxury of getting reviews.

M4. You hobby is reading also. SO what do you read.

Me. Mam, I read non fiction books.

M4. So which last book have you read.

Me. Mam it was by Malcolm Gladwell called as The Outliers. (Both lady and chairman nodded in positive. )

M4. How was it. Was it good.

Me. Yes mam. It is a good book.

Member 5

M5. Tell me about Parliament vs Presidential system. And which is good for India.

Me. Sir parliament system is simple form of government. At the same time it is more accountable vis a vis presidential system. I prefer parliamentary system given the low level of education in country.

M5.Can president say no to a bill.

Me. Yes sir. In case of a state bill he can say no under article 200. (At that time this is the only thing came into my mind).

M5. Tell me about Powers of president.

Me. Sir there are various powers. He invites largest party after every eletion. He give a talk after every election and in first sitting of every year. (This is the only things I remembered at that time })

M5.How presidents election happen in India.

Me. It is by forming of college according to single transferrable vote system. Elected MPs and MLAs of states vote.

M5.How president is elected in America.

Me. Sir various Parties nominate their candidates. Then each state.. for example in USA there are some 50 to 52 states… They elect members and then further these members vote for president.

M5.Type of forests world wide.

Me. Sir there are tropical forests, temperate and Alpine. Evergreen, semi evergreen, dry deciduous etc etc

M5 Which are forests around equator.

Me. Sir they are evergreen forests. Tropical evergreen.

M5.What is the relation between Basins of amajon, Congo, Indus.

Me. I am sorry sir I am not aware.

M5. Where is Amajon.

Me. Sir its in South America.

M5. Which are the states from which we will pass if we are travelling from Kerala to srinagar.

Me. Kerala, TN, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu Kashmir.

M5. Where are the good forests among these.

Me. Sir Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka,  J and K etc.

Ch. OK Parveen Your interview is over.

I thanked all and came out.

Source: Forum IAS