Sunday, June 24, 2012

MY UPSC INTERVIEW

Chairman Dr. K.K. Paul, 2 Male and 2 Female members.

Me: Height- 185 cm (roughly 6′ 1″) Weight- 70.7 kgs as on medical day.
Optionals: LAW and Political Science & International Relations.
Hobbies: Calendar reform, Dispute Resolution and Street Food
Extracurricular Activities: Organising Artificial Limbs camps, Blood Donation camps, Cultural Programs. Member- School Cricket Team.
Work Experience: Partner, XYZ Food Products; Director- XYZ Cold Storage pvt. ltd.; Director- XYZ Food Products pvt. ltd.
Home State: Jharkhand
Interview dress:- Charcoal Black Formal Lounge Suit, Pinkish White Shirt and Violet Tie. Usual other things like shoes, belt, socks etc.
(Afternoon Session, 3rd to be called in)
Buzzer; the Orderly opens the door for me.

I ask “May I come in Sir”. Somebody said “come in”.

During entering I saw that the Chairman is going through my summery sheet.
I enter; went near my chair and wished the board; the members were not interested in wishes.

Asked to sit down by Chairman.

Chairman: Dr. K.K. Paul. A very smart and goodlooking gentleman.
CM: What is your Name?
Me: Sir…..Name

CM: And Date of Birth
Me: Sir…..DOB

CM: And Roll number

Me: Sir…..Roll no.
CM: So you are from Law; tell me the difference between Due Process of Law and Procedure established by Law?

Me: Sir, Procedure Established by Law is any procedure which may be established by a duly enacted legislation or made by the administration while Due process of Law involves the principles of natural justice. Here the Law itself have to be just and can be questioned in the Courts.
CM: When this Due Process did enter our constitution?
Me: Sir, In Menaka Gandhi’s case in 1978.

CM: Tell me what happened in the Menka Gandhi case?
Me: Sir, the passport of Menaka Gandhi was impounded by the airport authorities and proper hearing was not given to her. The Supreme Court held that the principles of natural justice have not been followed and struck down the decision of the authorities.

CM: In How many ways the constitution of India can be amended?
Me: In 3 ways sir; First is by simple majority in the Parliament whereby boundaries of States can be changed under Article 3,4 and few other provisions too; the second is by a special majority of two third of members voting along with an absolute majority of the total number of members and third is by special majority plus absolute majority plus ratification by half of the States.
CM: What was held in Golaknath case?

Me: It was held that Fundamental Rights comprising Chapter-3 of the Constitution are transcendental and cannot be amended further a new doctrine of prospective overruling was laid down.

CM: That is fine but something more was there?

Me: Sir, it was held that Article 368 only prescribes the Procedure to amend the Constitution and not the powers.

CM: Yes this was the most important thing. Ok, What was the ratio of Judges of Golaknath case?
Me: Sir, 6:5 judges. (Chairman tried to recall)
CM: What happened after Golaknath?

Me: Sir, the Parliament brought the 24th and 25th amendment. The 24th amendment inserted that Art. 368 includes the power to amend the constitution and a clause was also added which I do not exactly remember.
CM: Then what happened?

Me: These amendments were challenged in the Keshwanand Bharti case where it was held that the Parliament can amend the constitution but it cannot alter the basic structure of the constitution.
CM: And Minerva Mills case?

Me: In this case the basic structure doctrine was confirmed sir.

CM: Tell me what was the matter?
Me: Sir, the 42nd amendment gave primacy to all Directive principles that is Chapter-4 over Chapter-3 that is Fundamental Rights. This was held to be violative of basic structure of the constitution.

CM: You have a hobby Calendar reform, What is it?

Me: Sir, actually we use 2 calendars; the first is the Gregorian Calendar which starts from 1st January and the second is our religious calendar. Our religious Calendar is faulty sir; the Calender reform committee presided by Dr. Meghnada Saha in 1955 suggested reforms which have not been carried out till date and the result is that….(Chairman interrupted)

CM: How do we correct Gregorian Calendar? There is leap year also?
Me: Yes sir; every 4th year is a leap year but every 100th year is not but every 1000th year is again a leap year…..(again interrupted)

CM: Indian Calendar also has; one extra month. That corrects the Calendar?
Me: Yes sir intercalary month is there. (Decided to leave the matter here and not to be argumentative)
CM: What have you done for this hobby of yours?
Me: Sir I am a member of a Calendar Reform Committee with like-minded people and I have also made representations to various Government departments.
CM: There is election of President. How is President elected?

Me: (Mistook it to be US presidential elections). Sir I don’t know the exact procedure sir; but primarily elections are there on State to State basis and the candidate win states and get votes of all delegates from…(Interrupted)
CM: No, no. We have our Presidential elections in June or July?

Me: I am sorry for my mistake, sir. In our Presidential elections a collegium of all MP’s of both houses amd all MLA’s of State Assembly is formed. The total number of votes of an MLA is calculated by a formula….
CM: What is the formula for counting electoral votes?
Me: Sorry sir, I don’t remember the formula, exactly.

CM: Then?
Me: Sir equal number of votes are given to MP’s. Then final election is carried out by Proportional Voting system by a system of single transferable…(interrupted)
CM: What is this Proportional Voting system?
Me: Sir, here the candidates can give vote in priority. Firstly the first priority votes are counted and if a candidate dosent gets 51%..sir, more than 50% then second and then third priority votes are counted.

CM: There was an election where the second and third priority votes were actually counted. Do you know that?
Me: Sir, I think it was the election in which Chief Justice Subba Rao participated.
CM: No Subba Rao lost out rightly to Dr. Zakir Hussain?

Me: Sorry sir; I am not sure then.
CM: You have been associated with a business firm. What is it?
Me: Sir it’s a food processing unit engaged in Pulse Milling and producing Soya Nuggets.
CM: After doing business for so many years; why do you want to come for civil services?
Me: Sir I had Civil Services in mind from my school time sir; but due to illness of my father who has a stroke and after that vascular dementia, epilepsy etc. I had to join business in 12th standard sir; I even had to leave studies at that time sir; but now sir when my younger brother is incharge of business and I don’t have family responsibilities and I have come here sir.

Transferred to M1 (Male Member).
M1: What is domain name?
Me: Sir it’s a name given to a website sir for identification. We surf a website by its name which is the domain name itself.
M1: Why do lawyers wear Black Coat?
Me: Sir it’s a British tradition sir. I don’t know more than that.
M1: It is said that Lawyers must wear white coat. Why it is said so and do you agree?

Me: I don’t have any idea in this regard sir.

M1: What is the difference between Rule of Law and Rule by Law?
Me: Sir rule by law is a situation were we try to govern as per the rule laid down by the legislature or administration but rule of law is a British Dicean concept which implies equality before law and equal access to law. The difference is like procedure established by Law and due process of law only.
M1: Have you heard about Justice Krishna Iyer?

Me: Yes sir, he was a great Judge and people friendly too sir.

M1: In which Court he was there?

Me: Sir, Supreme Court and earlier Kerela High Court.

M1: What are the methods of dispute resolution (Again my Hobby)?

Me: Sir there is formal adjudication and alternate dispute resolution system which comprises Arbitration, Conciliation, Mediation…..(interrupted)
M1: Explain the difference between Arbitration and Adjudication?

Me: Sir Arbitration is done under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996; its an informal process sir where the parties themselves can decide on arbitrators, procedure etc. while formal adjudication is done by the formal courts using Civil and Criminal procedural laws.
M1: In Arbitration can you wear white coat?

Me: Sure sir, and I will say coats of all colour for the purpose sir. (Smile)

M1: (Smile) Do you know IP?
Me: Sir it stand for Intellectual Property.
M1: What are different types of Intellectual Property?
Me: Sir we have Patents, Copyright, Trademark, Geographical Indicator and one for Integrated chips too sir, which I don’t remember.

M1: Pick up the Pencil. (Probably to have a view of rings I was wearing). I Picked.
M1: Tell me the number of IP associated with the Pencil?

Me: Sir Trademark is surely there; and if the pencil is manufactured by a special process than patent may also be there.
Me: Sir may I keep this Pencil Down.
M1: Ya, Ya.
M1: I am having a Pen. Tell me the number of IP associated with this Pen? (It was uniball pen)

Me: Sir the same two sir; Trademark and Patent.

M1: (explaining) See this tip of the pen is patented.

CM: (adding) Process Patent and Product Patent.
Me: Yes sir.


Transferred to M2. (Female member with extremely charming personality)

M2: What is Street Food (my hobby)?
Me: Mam, its food sold by street vendors and small restaurants.

M2: How can this hobby help you in Service?

Me: Mam, in recent times we are seeing processed food as vital for food security of the people; in my home state Jharkhand we have a Mukhyamantri Daal Bhaat Yojana which I will be able to implement with this hobby, mam. Further maam the knowledge of food-processing will be helpful to me at various stages and schemes.
M2: You can also organize street food fairs and handle Tourism sector enterprises.
Me: Yes. That will help surely mam.
M2: You have been in Business for so many years. How will your Business experience help you in service?

Me: Mam I have completed projects on time and that I can do in future also for the Government, infact we completed our Cold storage in 7-8 months (I had been a director in Cold Storage a Pvt. Ltd. Company)….

M2: That is very good; delayed projects are the biggest problem

Me: (cont)…further mam I have knowledge of food processing sector which is vital for the country; I also have interest in food technology mam which will be helpful…(was running out of words here because Mam was too motherly)

M2: Your experience of Management will also help. You have spent so many years in management.
Me: (Relieved) Surely mam.
M2: You must be knowing about PPP?

Me: Yes maam, its Public Private Partnership
M2: What is it?
Me: Its a partnership maam, where private sector is called upon to co-opt with the private sector in the development of the Country maam.

M2: Has it been useful?

Me: Yes maam, it has be very useful and specially in the infrastructure secor it has been of special significance. It has been useful in development of Roads, Airports and had futher potential.

M3: Have you been to Rajasthan?

Me: Yes maam.
M3: What had been done in PPP there?
Me: Mam in Rajasthan we have build up extensive network of beautiful roads throughout the State maam in this mode.
CH: (in between) In which sectors apart from Infrastructure, PPP can be useful?
Me: Sir in energy sector and the 12th plan calls upon PPP in virtually in every sector.
M2: (again taking back) What is 12th plan?

Me: mam we are starting with 12th five year plan from 1st April this year. I have read the approach paper to 12th plan man and the headline of the plan is “towards faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth”

M2: So how does 12th plan calls for PPP?
Me: It focuses on sector specific schemes mam, but I am sorry mam; the details I dont remember.
M2: Do you like Gol-Gappa?

Me: Yes Mam.
Transferred to M3. Male Member. (A bit strict, decided to be hard as the lady earlier was soft).
M3: You have international relations as one of your subjects. There is dispute between Turkey and Greece…?
Me: (In between) Yes sir, Cyprus.
M3: Yes Cyprus is there and many more; and the dispute is one reason that Turkey is not being admitted to EU? Can you tell?

Me: Sir I am aware that Cyprus is a dispute; I also know that Turkey has problems with EU entry but sir I am not aware about the history and details of dispute between Turkey and Greece.

M3: Don’t you think Hygiene issues involved with street food?
Me: Sir there are hygiene issues involved with street food but sir the food is cooked in oil sir; above 100 degrees so there is very less chance of bacteria being present further they mostly prepare fresh food everyday while in restraints……(interrupted)
M3: Then why do you take street food
Me: Sir, the body allows and I enjoy sir. That’s the reason sir.
M3: You take street food anywhere or you have some choices?

Me: Sir I make choices.
M3: How do make the choice?

Me: Sir, whenever I go somewhere I enquire about that place that where I will get best street food. When I first came to Delhi I enquired and was told about Chandani Chowk……(was not allowed to complete)
M3: You have Dispute Resolution as your hobby. What kind of disputes you resolve?

(M2, lady from behind; “It is a very good hobby; it will help you as a DM; a DM has to resolve various disputes”)
Me: Sir I have a realization that most of the people we dislike or have dispute with are infact our closest people sir. If we make a list of people we hate or dislike we will find that most of the people in the list will be our close people. This realization helps in dispute resolution sir.

M3: Have you ever been in external disputes, outside your circle of influence?

Me: Yes sir, in 3-4 disputes I have helped exploited people to have access to justice.

M3: Your extracurricular activities are Artificial Limbs, Blood Donation camps etc. How do you do them?

Me: Sir I am a member in few organizations sir; and we collectively undertake these activities.

M3: Have you ever donated blood your-self?

Me: No, sir. We organize blood donation camps sir but I personally haven’t donated blood.

(Don’t know whether this answer was right; few friends suggested that I must have said a lie that is Yes).

Transferred to M4. (Female Member. A bit serious.)

M4: What is Jaipur Foot?

Me: Mam its an organization based in Jaipur which is known for its work in the field of artificial limbs.

M4: Explain the technology of Artificial Limbs?

Me: Mam, we use HDPE pipes as the body of the leg; Plaster of Paris foot is prepared and fitted in the pipe mam and the base which we use that is the toe part is the Jaipur Foot itself.

M4: What is special in Jaipur Foot technology?
Me: Mam its cheap. An artificial limb costs only 1000-1500 rupees.
M4: There is something special with Jaipur Foot?
Me: (A bit nervous realizing that Mam is trying to grill me). Sorry Mam we use Jaipur Foot base but I am not aware mam.

M4: How they tie the limbs?

Me: Mam leather or polyutherene belts are used but I am not very sure of the exact technology mam. (Mam wanted to know about sockets and joints which I did not know).
M4: Heard about Kalam?

Me: Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam mam..(to confirm).. Yes.
M4: What were his achievements?

Me: He was President of India mam. He is known as the missile man,

M4: What special did he do?
Me: Mam he was the head of the Integrated Missile Guided Program and for his scientific achievements he was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1997.
M4: Why was he popular?
Me: Mam he was fond of Children and a very simple person famous for these things.
M4: He has written some books?
Me: Yes mam, Wings of Fire and Vision 2020.
M4: Have you read them?
Me: No mam, I purchased Vision 2020 but I have not read it mam.
M4: There has been a new-book by Dr, Kalam? Are you aware?
Me: No Mam.
M4: Its 3 Billion

Me: Thank you mam.
M4: What is the difference between invention and innovation?
Me: Mam, Invention is making something completely new, out-of-box idea mam but innovation is improving upon an existing thing mam; modifying it.
M4: What innovations have you done in your industry?

Me: In our Pulse Milling industry there is need to sprinkle oil on whole Pulses and keep it in Tank for 48 hours so that the husk loosens. We are using a technology where we don’t mix oil mam and do without it.

Then How many hours you keep pulses in tank?
Me: mam, we process pulses directly; we give only 6-8 hours as time is required to cool; the pulses go through an emery roll mam and are heated up…..(interrupted), (I also fumbled a bit in this answer)

M4: What have you done for Quality Control and betterment?
Me: Mam, after the Mains exam I have installed a Colour Sortex Machine. Colour Sortex is a revolution in grain milling which separates grains as per colour. We should have a Government program for its promotion mam.
Finally transferred back to the Chairman. The Mighty Paul sir.
CM: In Bihar/Jharkhand there is a disease called Kala-Azar? (Home State- Jharkhand)
Me: Yes sir, Kala-Azar
CM: Tell in details about the disease?
Me: Sir it’s a disease in rural area sir, but I don’t know the details about it sir.
CM: Difference between Epidemic and Pandemic?
Me: (Thinking for 3-4 seconds) Sorry sir, I am not sure.
CM: There is problem of flood in Bihar. Even without rain there will be flood. (Sarcastically). What is the reason?
Me: Sir we had the problem of flood in Bengal and Jharkhand too…(interrupted)
CM: In Jharkhand I am not sure but in Bengal Surely.
Me:..yes sir, we have controlled the flood there with multi-purpose projects and specially DVC sir. In the case of Bihar there is uncontrolled water coming from Nepal sir and we have not been able to build projects in Nepal. We have a Kosi project sir but work is moving very slowly on that sir.
CM: What is the solution?
Me: Sir we have to take Nepal in confidence and sir only after that…..(Interrupted)
CM: You talked of Nepal; Why we have difficulty dealing with them?

Me: Sir there is trust deficit in Nepal sir; between the parties themselves and between India and few parties of Nepal; sir, with Sri Lanka and Maldives we have the privilege of having good relations with all parties but we don’t have the same privilege in Nepal and Bangladesh sir; so if we move with some parties immediately there will be anti-India rhetoric by some others; but the present PM, Baburam Bhattrai seems to be India friendly sir.

CM: What is the problem there?

Me: Sir in 2005 all the parties united against the King sir but they have not been able to agree after that. There are deep divisions in Nepal and they have not been able to complete the constitution sir.

CM: What is the biggest dispute?

Me: Sir its about induction of Maoist cadres in the Nepalese Army sir.

CM: What should we do with Nepal?

Me: Sir we should try to open with all parties and seek a reconciliation to complete the Constitution. Then we should facilitate the transition of Nepal to a functioning democracy. Once Nepal becomes a functioning democracy; it will help sir.
CM: OK. Thank you.
I get up. Wish “Thank You to you all”. The Board is again not interested in wishes. I exit.

(The Chairman was staring; throughout my way to the exit).
I came out; the candidate next to me was sitting outside and gave me a Thumbs Up. I also returned and went to the Central Hall to collect the belongings and then came out.
It was 20-25 minutes interview. I was third to be interviewed and out by 3.35 PM.


MY EXPERIENCE

About the mighty Paul sir: Paul sir is extremely smart and good-looking person. He is pakka police wala. He can dig everything out of you. In short he is extremely smart person. Very dangerous. You can’t bluff him and get away. Yet he was cordial and smiling too. Though his smiles were few and not very large. He asks questions one by one and will try to confuse you. He will ask in small steps and will ask…then….then. My advice to others: don’t say a lie before him. He will catch in no time. Answer only when you are confident; don’t beat around the bush. Paul sir will show very few emotions and will not smile. But that is good too in a manner that you will be careful.
About M1: He was probably a generalist; probably an ex-bureaucrat. He asked general questions from all of us as transpired from talks the next day during medical.
About M2: She was probably a professor in literature as we came to know later. She was extremely helpful and did also tried to answer M3 on my behalf in 2-3 questions which I didn’t pay much attention to.
About M3: He was probably another ex-bureaucrat. No special analysis for him.
About M4: She was probably a professor from engineering background as she asked technical questions from all of us.
Myself: I tried to be cool, calm and humble which I was able to. The interview went in a consistent pace and there were no ups and downs. Very few cross-questions were there but supplementary questions were asked many times. As it transpired there were lot of mind-games being played and the board tried to balance each other and used all techniques. I answered slowly and took few pauses of 1-2 seconds in between. Overall I think it was a good interview but as it was Paul Sir I don’t expect the marks to be too high.
The candidate who went after me for interview informed me that the board called him in after a time lapse of about 10 minutes. He also told that the board seemed very happy and positive. These I presume are signs of a good interview.
I Got 210/300 for this interview. This is probably the highest from this Low Scoring Board in CSE-2011.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Farewell to Incredible India: The Slowdown Story.


Bereft of leaders, an Asian giant is destined for a period of lower growth. The human cost will be immense.

IN A world economy as troubled as today’s, news that India’s growth rate has fallen to 5.3% may not seem important. But the rate is the lowest in seven years, and the sputtering of India’s economic miracle carries social costs that could surpass the pain in the euro zone. The near double-digit pace of growth that India enjoyed in 2004-08, if sustained, promised to lift hundreds of millions of Indians out of poverty—and quickly. Jobs would be created for all the young people who will reach working age in the coming decades, one of the biggest, and potentially scariest, demographic bulges the world has seen.

But now, after a slump in the currency, a drying up of private investment and those GDP figures, the miracle feels like a mirage. Whether India can return to a path of high growth depends on its politicians—and, in the end, its voters. The omens, frankly, are not good.

In office but not in power

Some of this crunch reflects the rest of the world’s woes. The Congress-led coalition government, with Brezhnev-grade complacency, insists things will bounce back. But India’s slowdown is due mainly to problems at home and has been looming for a while. The state is borrowing too much, crowding out private firms and keeping inflation high. It has not passed a big reform for years. Graft, confusion and red tape have infuriated domestic businesses and harmed investment. A high-handed view of foreign investors has made a big current-account deficit harder to finance, and the rupee has plunged.

The remedies, agreed on not just by foreign investors and liberal newspapers but also by Manmohan Singh’s government, are blindingly obvious. A combined budget deficit of nearly a tenth of GDP must be tamed, particularly by cutting wasteful fuel subsidies. India must reform tax and foreign-investment rules. It must speed up big industrial and infrastructure projects. It must confront corruption. None of these tasks is insurmountable. Most are supposedly government policy.

Why, then, does Mr Singh not act? Vacillation plays a role. But so do two deeper political problems. First, the state machine has still not been modernised. It is neither capable of overcoming red tape and vested interests nor keen to relax its grip over the bits of the economy it still controls. The things that do work in India—a corruption-busting supreme court, the leading IT firms, a scheme to give electronic identities to all—are often independent of, or bypass, the decrepit state.

Second, as the bureaucracy has degenerated, politics has fragmented. The two big parties, the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are losing support to regional ones. For all the talk of aspirations, voters do not seem to connect reform with progress. India’s liberalisers over the past two decades, including Mr Singh himself, have reformed by stealth. That now looks like a liability. No popular consensus exists in favour of change or tough decisions.

As a result, when the government tries to clear bottlenecks, feuding and overlapping bureaucracies can get in the way. When it suggests raising fuel prices, it faces protests and backs down. When it tries to pass reforms on foreign investment, its populist coalition partners threaten to pull the plug. It does not help that the ageing Mr Singh has little clout of his own: he reports to the ailing Sonia Gandhi, the dynastic chief of Congress. With a packed electoral timetable before general elections in 2014, Congress does not want to take risks.

Is it time for a change at the top? Mr Singh has plainly run out of steam, but there are no appealing candidates to replace him. Mrs Gandhi’s son, Rahul, has been a disappointment. What about a change of government? The opposition BJP is split and has been wildly inconsistent about reform. Its best administrator, Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, is divisive and authoritarian. If it formed a government tomorrow, the BJP would also have to rely on fickle smaller parties.

Some reformers pray for a financial crisis that will shake the politicians from their stupor, as happened in 1991, allowing Mr Singh to sneak through his changes. Though India’s banks face bad debts, its cloistered financial system, high foreign-exchange reserves and capable central bank mean it is not about to keel over. A short, sharp shock would indeed be useful, but a full-blown crisis should not be wished for, because of the harm that it would do to the poor.

Instead the dreary conclusion is that India’s feeble politics are now ushering in several years of feebler economic growth. Indeed, the politicians’ most complacent belief is that voters will just put up with lower growth—because they supposedly care only about state handouts, the next meal, cricket and religion. But as Indians discover that slower growth means fewer jobs and more poverty, they will become angry. Perhaps that might be no bad thing, if it makes them vote for change

(From The Economist)http://www.economist.com/node/21556576?fsrc=scn/tw_ec/farewell_to_incredible_india