I got my interview scheduled for the afternoon session of 15th May 2015. With the wishes of my family and friends, and carrying loads of hopes of my dear ones, I prepared myself for the big day. I reached UPSC with My pillar of support - the one who is more confident about me than myself.
Loads of thoughts crossed my mind but one gentle touch gave me all the strength in the world. I entered in. The gate separated the smiles.
I was allotted Mr. Manbir Singh’s board. After the verification of documents we moved to the waiting hall. Below that dome of the Dholpur house which remains the dream of lakhs of aspirants. After hours of wait, chats and discussions, I was called in at around 4.45 pm.
I entered the room, wished the Chairman and the members. He told me to take my seat. I dragged the chair and settled down.
C: So you are already in a Group-A service. You must be following the current issues. Which newspaper do you read? What was in the editorial today?
Me: Sir I read the one about the high productivity of this budget session after almost 15 years, due to the majority this government has got.
C: Productivity in terms of what?
Me: Sir, in terms of the working time, bills passed, discussions, question hours
C: Okay, So what were the bills passed by the Parliament in this session? Parliament, not Lok Sabha.
Me: Sir, Black money bill. Some bills like LARR amendment, GST have been sent to committees.
C: Is Black money bill really needed in India?
Me: Yes sir it is definitely a progressive legislation as black money leads to a parallel economy. In most cases the money laundered is diverted to terrorism financing which makes it all the more important for India due to its sensitive and strategic location.
C: Will the bill serve the purpose?
Me: Sir curbing black money will of course be achieved in the long term but the present need is to create deterrence since huge amounts of money are involved.
C: So you feel it won’t bring immediate changes?
Me: Sir on an immediate basis the aim is to bring back the black money stashed abroad. Since the issue is a complex one involving political corridors and other vested interests, curbing it may not happen immediately. The bill is very essential but its implementation will decide its effectiveness.
I was a little relaxed by then as the Chairman had finished shooting his questions.
M1: What is BPR? Sam Pitroda who headed NKC said that BPR is essential while computerization of government departments. Your comments.
I didn't know much about the question and so answered vaguely.
M1: What is BCP? What is going concern? Government accounting? Types of accounts?
One thing that I confidently said for all the above questions were – Sorry Sir, I don’t know.(Lol)
M1: Tell me what is cut motion? What is token cut?
I explained in my words. Couldn't recollect any bookish ones.
M1: Explain the budgetary process.
I felt a truckload of polity questions bulldozing me. Finally the next member shifted to a different arena – even more dreadful. It was based on my graduation - Electronics & Communication Engineering.
M2: What is GSM? CDMA? What are the differences between them?
Some random preparation helped me answer them pretty decently.
M2: What is broadband? Potential in India. What are the government initiatives for rural connectivity?
I explained internet and mobile penetration with reference to the National Telecom Policy 2012 and broadband for service delivery. I also explained NOFN.
M2: What is USOF?
It was asked as USOF finances NOFN, so answered it.
M2: Let me give you a case study. Give your comments.
He explained a labour union issue in a very elaborate manner. If you are the DM will you order police firing? Yes/No.
The 3rd member was a lady. Again it was a round of Indian polity.
M3: Which bills were referred to the joint and the select committees?
What are the proposed changes in the child labour law?
What is a private member bill? Recent example. When was the previous such instance?
What does the 8th schedule of the constitution contain?
She then asked what is Vedaranyam plan? I didn't have any idea about it except its location.
Another random question – Who was Ibn Battuta? Which emperor did he meet in India?
M4: I will ask you simple questions (He smiled).
I thought - Simple? So he feels the questions till now were not simple! (It was a great feeling)
M4: Lightning and thunder. What are the values of the speed of light and sound?
Hot water or steam – which causes more burns?
Will tubelight continue to glow even after the starter is removed?
I answered all of them and explained the science behind them. Felt relieved with that stream of simple questions.
M4: What is MCB?
Me: Sorry Sir, I don’t know.
M4: Explain the Evolution of IT in India.
I said about internet , smart phone based apps etc.
M4: How does mobile technology function?
I explained geographically divided cells (hexagonal), mobile towers, hand-offs
M4: What are the differences between TVs of older times and the present?
Me: Sir, miniaturization. Earlier CRTs were used for display while now we have shifted to LCD and even LEDs.
M4: Abbreviate LCD and LED. Which is better in terms of image quality?
I just answered his question without explaining much.
M4: What is 3D TV?
I again kept my answer short as I didn't know the technical details of 3D TV.
C: Thank you
I thanked everybody and left.
Outside the gate there were eager eyes waiting to see me. I got back to those patient yet anxious ones that waited for four long hours. Blessing in my life!
P.S: The only aspect from my DAF on which questions were asked was my Graduation. It was a totally unexpected kind of test I faced. My kind suggestion to aspirants is to have a very open mind while going for Personality Test. Don’t have preconceived thoughts about what kind of questions you will face, but that shouldn't stop one from preparing one’s DAF well.
Expect the unexpected. Those 25-30 minutes is like a roller coaster ride – you will experience many emotions. Enjoy the thrill. All the very best. :-)