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Saturday, November 24, 2007

My UPSC Interview : Anurag Srivastava

My UPSC Interview : Anurag Srivastava

Results are not yet out and I can only guess how my interview went.
But for all those who have been asking me what happened here it is.

I was allotted a table along with four other candidates. It was a
great solace to meet four other souls in same state of mind and
butterflies in their stomach. We chatted and felt good. One hour
passed quickly and I did not at all feel nervous.

A clerk came quietly to our table and said "Subir Dutta ka board hai".
Not all were amused by his name. Within minutes we found out he was a
retired IAS, former defense secretary, and was 'not very friendly'.

I was third to be interviewed. My heart was beating fast. I went near
my chair and wished them Good Morning, wishing the lady member first.
(It was a five member board with one lady member, let them be M1, M2,
M3 and M4)

Subir Dutta: Sit down Mr. Anurag
Anurag: Thank you sir (Adapts an imposed smile on his face and gives a
smile to all the members. They all have stern expressions)

Subir Dutta: So Mr. Anurag you have done B. Tec in Mechanical Engg.
from ……. (I take it as a cue for prompting)
Anurag : IIT Kanpur Sir

Subir Dutta: You got this Outstanding B. Tech project award, what was it.
Anurag : Explains it in brief and turns his head (somewhat like a
table fan) to meet the eyes of all members

Subir Dutta: You have worked for six months in Asian Paints, why did you leave
Anurag: Sir I always wanted to come for civil services but I wanted to
get some work experience before coming here.

Subir Dutta: (looks interested) Why do you want to come to civil services?
Anurag: Sir I learnt a lot in my engineering but I felt that my field
is getting narrowed. I wanted to work not only among machines but also
among human beings. Civil services offer an opportunity to work
directly among people. Apart from this, it is a wonderful career
opportunity with a motivation of working for the society.

Subir Dutta: And you also got this summer training scholarship form
University of Stuttgart?
Anurag : Yes sir.

Subir Dutta: When was it and for how long?
Anurag: I explain…

M2: So how did you go?
Anurag: Sir it was by Turkish airlines. I went to Istanbul and then to

M2: Oh, so you did not take the traditional route from Frankfurt. This
route must be cheaper.
Anurag: Yes sir, this was the reason (a smile comes on my face)

M2: OK, what is the distance between Stuttgart and Frankfurt?
Anurag: I think 200 km.

M2: Stuttgart and Berlin?
Anurag: nearly 400 km

M2: Stuttgart and Bonn?
Anurag: nearly 400 km

M2: Stuttgart and Hungary?
Anurag: nearly 400 km.

Subir Dutta: Mr. Anurag what are your 16th and 17th preference of services?
Anurag: Sir they are IFS and IPS. I gave them this preference because
I do not want to enter these.

Subir Dutta: Why?
Anurag: Sir I have some family commitments and it shall be difficult
for me to stay abroad for longer durations.
I did not fill IPS because I felt I do not have the right kind of
temperament needed to be an IPS officer. I tried to know more about
this service but I was not convinced. I felt if I still filled it, I
shall be dishonest with myself and the service (this was a well
rehearsed answer)

Subir Dutta: What is the total Income tax collected?
Anurag: Sorry sir, I don't know

Subir Dutta: (with a small sarcastic smile) I felt you did so much
research while filling the service preferences, you would be knowing
Anurag : (tries to maintain a smile on his face)

Subir Dutta gestures other members to ask their questions

M2: Mr. Anurag, IIT's were made to do some good research but that task
has not been achieved what do you say?
Anurag: Yes sir, this may partially be true. IIT's were made primary
for research but over the years it has been felt that the outcome is
not as expected. The number of undergraduates is twice that that of
postgraduates, and IIT's could not attract students primarily for
research purpose

M2: Do you think there is Brain Drain?
Anurag: May be 20 years before there was, but not now.

M2: Define Brain Drain
Anurag: I define it

M2: But we are using technologies invented in west. So where is this
brain drain?
Anurag: Yes sir that's a valid point of view and we may also see
things like this

Subir Dutta: Mr. Anurag, I forgot to ask you one question. Some
persons come to me with a BE degree some come with a B. Tech degree.
What is the difference?
Anurag: I explain (I had expected this so I gave the answer I found on internet)

Subir Dutta: (not very satisfied by my answer) What is the difference
between engineering and technology?

Anurag: Sorry sir, I do not know the literal difference.

M3: Mr. Anurag, what is the temperament needed to be an IPS officer.
Anurag: It shall be very difficult to define the temperament sir; it
was more of a feeling. I tried to know more about the service but I
was not convinced.

M3: So what did you try to know?
Anurag: I read about IPS officers who had made name. I found that they
all wanted to be in police from the beginning. Reverse was the case
with me.

M3: And?
Anurag: I have also done NCC for one year

M3: and you did not like it?
Anurag: No sir, I liked and it was a very good experience. But
something similar to this as a career preference… I feel my priorities
lie somewhere else.

M3: Mr. Anurag, we have these revenue services. But research has shown
that 90% taxes are collected in pre assessment stage itself. These
services help only in collecting 10% taxes. Why we should not abolish
these services?
Anurag: (I have no idea what to say) Sir but these services must be
providing talented human resources which must be used for that pre
assessment collection.

M3: In a way repeats his question
Anurag: Sir I was unaware of this fact…..

M3: Yes it is a fact; government of India's white paper has said this.
Anurag: (I smile) May be sir even this 10% that these services collect
is very important for the nation.

M3: (he also starts smiling) Ok

M4: Recently online degrees have been started by IIT's. What is your
opinion about them?
Anurag: I support this by saying now the reach of education can be improved.

M4: Do you know any other western university doing this
Anurag: No sir, I specifically do not know, but many must be doing it.

M4: MIT is doing it. Where is MIT?
Anurag: Boston

M4: Yes Boston, Massachusetts.

M2: Anurag, you have seen education system in Germany and India. What
difference did you observe?
Anurag: Sir education is free there, and government is trying to
attract students from all over the world as their population is

M2: What else?
Anurag: I can't remember anything else sir.

M2: They focus more on technical education.
Anurag: Yes sir

M1: What do you know about "Specific Energy policy of India"
Anurag: (I had never heard about it) Madam I do not know exactly what
this is but I can tell about it.

M1: (she nods)
Anurag: I tell all major things about energy, from power sector
reforms to diversification to non conventional energy sources.

M1: Do you think Jatropa farming is successful
Anurag: Yes maam (I explain with certain problems involved)

M2: What is virtual university?
Anurag: (I could have easily guessed it but….) Sir may I guess??

M2: No, tell only if you know for sure.
Anurag: Sorry sir I do not know.

M3: Mr. Anurag the services you want to enter are the most corrupt
services. What will you do to curb corruption?
Anurag: I explain by specially mentioning to use technology.

M3: (with a smile) Use technology and problem would be solved?
Anurag: Not sir (with a smile) but use technology more often, it will help.

Subir Dutta: Ok Anurag, you can go now.

I thanked everyone, but I do not remember them smiling back at me.
They all looked busy in themselves and I came out. All this happened
in just 25 minutes!

I had this strange feeling, I did not think it went very good, I did
not think it went bad. I was confident; I was smiling, so I am
satisfied by my performance. Let's hope for best and prepare for worst
(have to start studying for prelims)

Pray for me



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