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Model Interviews 2

Mr Avtar Singh Tur is an aspirant for an IAS job. He has qualified in the written examination and is called in for the interview by the Selection Board of the UPSC. He is dressed in a simple but well-tailored and ironed suit with a matching tie and turban.
 
He arrives at the venue for the interview nearly 20–25 minutes earlier. He comes and greets the other candidates present there and shortly he is able to strike up a conversation with them. He exchanges views on various news items with the other candidates and keeps them engaged in cordial and friendly discussions. After sometime, a peon comes and calls the name and roll number of Mr Tur and escorts him to the interview hall.
Candidate
(Opens the door and says) May I come in, sir?
Chairman
Yes Mr Avtar Singh, please come in and take your seat.
Candidate
(Enters the room and says) Good morning to you all, sir (and takes the chair, saying) Thank you, sir.
Chairman
Mr Singh, I can see from your file that you have a good academic record right from pre-university onwards.
Candidate
Thank you for the compliment, sir. However, sir, it seems you have not seen my matriculation record. I secured 86 per cent marks in aggregate and three ­distinctions in the main subjects, that are Science, Maths and English.
Chairman
Yes, you are correct, I didn’t see that. After obtaining two MA degrees and also an LLB, what prompted you to opt for a government job? You could have done well in any private sector where you would have got more money except, of course, security.
Candidate
Well, sir, I preferred the IAS cadre due to the status one enjoys, the authority and command one gets and, above all, the job satisfaction that one gets due to the challenging nature of the assignments. In the private sector you only have a status within your institution, whereas an IAS officer holds a high status in an entire district or even a state. As far as security is concerned, if one is hardworking and takes interest in one’s job, he or she is secure in the private sector also. No doubt, in the private sector you have more money and liberal perks, but I am not looking for only a well-paid job. I am looking for a challenging job in which there is authority and status.
Chairman
That’s fine, Mr Singh.
Member 1
Being a student of economics, you should be good at statistics also. Could you tell us which state has the highest female-to-male ratio?
Chairman
Sir, the highest female-to-male ratio is in the state of Kerala.
Member 1
Which state can claim to have the highest literacy rate?
Chairman
Sir, it is again Kerala.
Member 1
But what about Chandigarh?
Chairman
Sir, it is a union territory and your question relates to a state.

Note: The Member has tried to confuse the candidate. However, the Candidate has shown his alertness and knowledge in tackling this question.

Chairman
Do you think that to maintain law and order, a state should be small? Do we have more problems in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh because of their large sizes?
Candidate
Sir, to some extent it may be true. It is definitely easy to manage small states. But I don’t think it is always the case. Take the case of Punjab. When Punjab, ­Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were together forming one large state, we had less problems, and now we see in Punjab—which has been reduced to a very small size—that there are numerous law and order problems. Therefore, the size of the state cannot be wholly ­responsible for law and order problems.
Chairman
Uttar Pradesh is a vast state, highly populated and economically backward as compared to other progressive states. Could you briefly explain the reasons for its backwardness?
Candidate
Sir, the people of Uttar Pradesh are backward due to widespread poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. They are also not as hardworking as the people in the more affluent states like Punjab and Haryana. As the people of Uttar Pradesh are less educated, they are unable to benefit from the modern techniques of agriculture. To some extent, we can say that the planning of the government is also not effective.
Chairman
As an IAS officer, what remedial measures would you suggest to raise the economic standard of UP?
Candidate
Sir, this would entail a long-term process in which the people and the government both have to work closely. First, the people should be motivated to work hard. Second, they should be educated to take advantage of modern scientific techniques of agriculture. The ­government should take measures to promote education among the people which would, in turn, make them aware of their exploitation and also help to curb the population growth. Then, to remove unemployment, there should be schemes for self-employment and setting up of more small-scale and large-scale industries. If all these measures are properly co-ordinated, I am sure the problem of economic backwardness can be solved in the long term.
Member 1
UP is not only economically backward but there are problems of law and order also. Do you think dividing the large state of UP into smaller states would help improve the law and order situation because smaller states can be efficiently administered?
Candidate
Sir, I beg to differ. Division of UP into smaller states is not going to help us. We have before us the ­example of Punjab. Similarly, Assam was split into five or six smaller states but the division has not solved the law and ­order problem there. Take also the case of Tripura, which is a very small state, but has serious law and ­order problems. As far as efficient administration is concerned, division of UP is not going to help. Looking into the past, Bengal, Bombay and Madras presidencies were larger and yet were administered quite ­efficiently. This shows that the size of the state cannot be attributed to be the main cause of law and order problems. Therefore, division of UP or for that ­matter any other large state is not advisable. There could even be more disadvantages as the government will have to ­invest in the creation of new state capitals, legislatures, high courts, governors, cabinets, etc. This investment could easily be diverted to more useful schemes.
Chairman
Good, you have been able to make your point. We have had enough discussion on UP. Let us now turn to other points.
Member 2
(Another Member intervenes and says) As a postgraduate in economics, can you give us a brief definition of the concept of mixed economy?
Candidate
Sir, in a mixed economy both the public and private sectors are allowed to exist side by side. As a matter of policy, they complement each other. A mixed economy is beneficial for developing countries such as India.
Chairman
I see that you have also done your second MA in ­history. Is there any useful purpose of history in our day-to-day life? (Before the Candidate can answer this question, one of the members intervenes and says)
Member 2 :
And how is it going to help you as an IAS officer?
Candidate
(Addresses the Member and says) Sir, I will answer your question after answering the first question.
 
(Now the Candidate addresses the chairman) Sir, ­history serves a very useful purpose in our life. We cannot understand the present and plan for the ­future without having sufficient knowledge of the past. Through a study of history we learn the causes behind our country’s rise and fall and the mistakes committed in the past which resulted in its downfall and decline. We can learn a lesson from history and avoid ­repeating past blunders.
 
(Now he turns towards the Member and says) Sir, no doubt history will not directly help me as an IAS ­officer, but as I have said earlier, through a study of history, we learn what were the causes of downfall or which policies resulted in the downfall of rulers. As an IAS officer, I may be required to take certain decisions; I would, ­therefore, be able to avoid committing the same errors in the present and be able to take better decisions.
Chairman
As a student of history, could you tell us how the ­policies of Samudra Gupta differed from those of Ashoka the Great?
Candidate
Sir, Samudra Gupta did not follow the pacifist and the ­religious policies of Ashoka. He did not believe in ­conquest by Dharma as Ashoka did. Instead, ­Samudra Gupta tried to extend his empire by military ­conquests.
Member 2
Mr Singh, could you please tell us how your law degree is going to help you in your career as an IAS officer? Isn’t it a degree useful only for lawyers and others in the ­judiciary services?
Candidate
Sir, I believe law is a subject of interest for every citizen. Every citizen of India should be familiar with the laws of the land. For an IAS officer, it is especially useful to have a detailed knowledge of law. Suppose, as an IAS officer, I am appointed to manage a public sector ­industry; in that case my knowledge of labour, ­industrial and commercial laws would prove to be very helpful. If appointed as the head of district administration, my knowledge of IPC, CRPC, etc., will help me to maintain law and order. Some knowledge of law will be helpful in any type of work, especially administrative tasks.
Chairman
This means that to become an efficient administrator, you should be an MA in economics and history with LLB?
Candidate
Sir, I did not mean that. I only said that a study and knowledge of these subjects are going to help me perform my duties more efficiently. People like J. R. D. Tata and the Birlas did not possess any of these qualifications, yet they efficiently managed large industrial houses. To be a good administrator, one has to be a good leader and possess other managerial abilities. These subjects are of secondary importance but would definitely help.
Member 1
Mr Singh, from our discussions so far, I have observed that you are not worried about this interview and it gives us a feeling that you are carefree. Why is it so?
Candidate
Sir, I am sure you don’t want to see long faces in ­interviews. A cheerful smile is loved by everyone. Moreover, any amount of worrying is not going to help me in this interview. One is worried or tense when one is lacking confidence. I am extremely eager to be ­selected, but for that I do not think I need to have a long and serious face. Also, when I entered the hall, I found all of you very happy and co-operative right from the beginning of our discussion. Whatever little fear or worry I had before coming here vanished due to your cheerful and friendly discussions.
Member 1
Very good. Your explanations about your cheerfulness and carefree attitude have satisfied us.
Candidate
Thank you for the compliment, sir.
Chairman
Do you read the newspaper every day?
Candidate
Yes, sir. Even if I don’t get time in the morning, I ensure that I read the day’s newspaper in the evening or at night.
Chairman
Which newspaper do you read?
Candidate
Sir, I read The Indian Express and the vernacular ­paper Navbharat Times.
Member 2
What is the most important news item you have read in today’s newspaper?
Candidate
Sir, there was no newspaper today as yesterday was 26th January, which is observed as a national holiday all over India. (This question was put just to ­confuse the ­Candidate and see his mental alertness in ­answering it.)
Chairman
What is your favourite pastime or hobby?
Candidate
Sir, I read novels in my spare time.
Chairman
Don’t you think you are simply wasting your time by reading novels?
Candidate
You may be right, sir, from one point of view, but as I said, it is only a pastime. I do not waste my useful time in reading novels. I read them only when I need some change or relaxation. (With a smile) Sir, you will appreciate that everyone needs some hours of peace and relaxation.
Chairman
Well done, Mr Singh. That will be all. However, before you go, please write a resume of our discussion.
Candidate
Thank you, sir. (He gracefully stands up, puts the chair in its original place and confidently walks into the other room to write his resume.)




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