Home Stories IAS Topper Gaurav Agarwal UPSC Interview 2014

IAS Topper Gaurav Agarwal UPSC Interview 2014

gaurav agarwal ias topper

UPSC Interview questions asked by the interview board (chairman and members) and answers of Gaurav Agarwal, IAS Topper.

Cp: XXX, you did this, did that, worked here…why left that job for civil services?
Me: Mam’, it was due to a combination of professional and personal reasons. The professional reasons include the mature of the civil services job. It gives a wide scope for public service, it gives wide decision making powers at our age, and it is so challenging and dynamic. Personal reasons included I wanted to come back to India, parental aspirations and also this job has a lot of respect in the society.Cp: didn’t you like that jo

Cp: didn’t you like that job? There was so much money as well.
Me: Mam’, money is not everything. I realised that when one has to work for 30-35 Years money cannot be the motivation. One has to look at larger things, so I switches because of factors mentioned earlier.

Cp: What has been the role of media in influencing people in the elections gone by?
Me: Media played a very important role. For example, the way it covered Mr. Modi’s Varanasi road show… the way it was showing the massive crowd… all swayed the people. What was happening in UP was being seen right in our rooms 24×7 in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, all over India. Moreover, there was massive advertising

M1: what are biosphere reserves?
Me: they are regions of great ecological significance so notified by the government.

M1: difference between biosphere reserves, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries?
Me: Sir I am not very clear about it, but from what I know, sanctuaries are notified as such by the state government, and biosphere reserves by the central government.

M1: And the national parks?
Me: Sorry sir, I don’t know.

M1: You are from Bharatpur?
Me: Sir I was born there…

M1: Bharatpur has a national park or sanctuary?
Me: A national park… Keoladeo National Park

M1: have u been there?
Me: Yes sir, Bharatpur is my nanihal… so as a child I used to go there on morning walk with my nanaji (grandparent).

M1: how should we protect environment?
Me: First we need to empower and involve the local communities. Because they are the ones who are closest to forests, know best about it and are dependent upon it. On the contrary, our laws tend to centralize powers in the hands of the forest department. Second, we need to change our accounting system to one which includes the value of ecological services. Right now it is only GDP where these ecological services are given zero weight. We need to give these services a tangible value in project appraisals.

M1: In project appraisals, what are the social costs?
Me: Typical project appraisals only capture the market prices or costs to private parties. Social costs are the costs to the society. There may be instances where the cost to private party may be different from the cost to the society. For example, if a project is being setup which will lead to migration, the cost of migration for the private operator may be taken as 0, but it will have real costs on society in terms of destruction of family structure, destruction of social capital…

M2: u acted n edited a movie in the college. What was it?
Me: It was a small movie we made based on then released Kaante. 🙂 We were a group of students studying in our college who get caught by the dean while cheating in an exam. The dean expels us. So we decide to take a revenge on the professors by looting the bank where they used to keep their savings. 🙂 We get caught doing that also and end up as sweeper, waiter etc.

Cp: How did you loot the bank? Through computers?
Me: No mam, we looted it physically like in the movie kaante. 🙂

M2: what was the message of the movie?
Me: It was a fun movie sir.

M2: fun movie.. Still there would be some message.
Me: Sir the message was that if one resorts to shortcuts in life, bad things happens to him ultimately.

M2: You talked about media earlier Social media. What is it and what are its pros and cons?
Me: Social media is via internet, sites like facebook, twitter, Google, blogs where users can share and interact. Its advantage is that it can preserve freedom of speech, specially in cases of autocratic government. For instance, in Turkey, the government tried to curb Twitter but it failed. Now this advantage also leads to its disadvantage. Because of the anonymity it offers and difficulty in suppressing its content… if we suppress one handle, people can create a new one and publish… it can lead to many problems. We saw last year how it led to exodus of people of North East from Bangalore, Pakistan uses it to flare up communal tensions in India…

M2: u blog… What do u blog about?
Me: I write about the things which I am doing, my observations, inferences, learnings.For example, the last blog I wrote was on the budget and economy of India, what are the challenges, what should be done. When I used to work in XXX, I used to write about markets, how to trade.

M2: u want to write a book. What kind of book?
Me: Sir, I presently write about things I see, my inferences and observations. So the book would be about that only.. what I see and learn in the field over next 10-15 years.. the problems I see and what policy measures we can adopt to solve them.

M2: u have a well built body n good height… Don’t you play any sports?
Me: (I was thinking I played so many sports, but to answer like that may expose me to questions from any sport) Sir I used to play football in college.

Cp: Yes he has mentioned that in the form…
M2: what position in football?
Me: I was the goalkeeper.

M2: don’t you play cricket?
Me: Yes sir, but only at the gully, street level.

M2: what is the role of the leg umpire?
Me: Sir, first if there is any overhead wide, then he calls it because he is in a better position to see. Then in case of runouts, he can see better. Finally, if the main umpire has any doubts, he can assist him.

M2: should,’t we replace umpire by technology?
Me: There would be practical problems in that. The decision of the third umpire comes after a lot of delay. So if we keep referring each appeal to the third umpire, there would be too many breaks in the game. Secondly, even the technology is not so accurate and we have seen some glaring errors being committed by it.

M3: (Some long story of Bangalore local government acquiring land for a foreign company) government acquiring land for private companies.. Isn’t this abuse of governmental power?
Me: Sir, if we leave land entirely to private players i.e. the private company buys it directly from the owners, there would be a market failure. Because say a company wants 100 acres to build a factory and buys 99 acres. The remaining 1 acre guy would get a veto power on the project. He may say give me 10 times the price of land otherwise you will not have your project. So we need governmental intervention in acquisition of land. But the real issue here is that the original owners must get full compensation and rehabilitation. What we should do is to give a part of the developed land back to the original owners… the value of developed land is generally much more than that of undeveloped land… this way even they can become stakeholders in growth and there won’t be any protests and development can happen.

M3: difference between vision, Mission, aims and objectives?
Me: Sir vision is at the top… its the broad overarching destination. For example, the government can have the vision that the governance reaches to that last person..the poorest man. Mission are the strategies which one can adopt to reach vision. The mission can be, use of technology for better delivery of services, climate friendly (:O I don’t know how this came to my mind) mission, poverty elimination mission…

M3: Aims and objectives?
Me: (thinking and trying) Aim could be we will reduce poverty by 2% per annum.

M3: Isn’t that target?
Me: Sorry sir, I am unable to tell about aims and objectives.

M3: difference between planned and market economy?
Me: Market economy is one where private sector plays a dominant role. The decisions of price and quantity produced are governed by market forces of supply and demand. Planned economy is like the one we have. There can be 2 types… one we had before 1991 where state was dominant, it used to fix the price and quantity produced mainly via PSUs. Then after 1991, we have moved to indicative planning.

M3: what are SEZs and your view on it?
Me: SEZs are special economic zones where the private operators are given a host of incentives to operate. It was a good concept… We have seen how SEZs have led to huge development in China. But the SEZ policy has come in for criticism that it has become a land grab scheme. Private operators are acquiring land in the name of SEZ but are not setting up any industry there, merely using it for real estate. Then the idea behind SEZ was to provide good infrastructure facilities also. But the size of our SEZs is so small. China has 5-6 large SEZs where it has provided all facilities. What we really need is a proper implementation of the policy. We need to have a few large SEZs instead of hundreds of small ones and then provide good governance and infrastructure there.

M4: your hobby is following macroeconomy and forming trading views. How?
Me: Sir I used to do this earlier in my job.

M4: but that was ur job, not hobby..
Me: Yes sir, earlier it was my job. But after quitting, I have pursued it as a hobby.

M4: Do you know about the trends in TV sector? Do you watch TV?
Me: No sir, not much (watch). As for the trends, I don’t know about the individual Companies but for the sector overall…

M4: ownership of media houses (Ambani deal) by corporates and politicians. There was a news even today. Is such a thing dangerous for economy, for democracy?
Me: Yes sir, it is very dangerous for the economy and democracy because freedom of media may be compromised. Most of these media houses are running into losses which lead them prone to such acquisitions.

M4: The media can also blackmail the government and corporates..
Me: Yes sir, and as we saw in the coal scam coverage last year, Zee news was accused of demanding bribes from Jindal for suppressing the adverse coverage.

M4: can we prevent it? How?
Me: By separating the editor team from owners.

M4: but is separation of editing team and management possible? How is it possible when both are in the same company?
Me: It is possible. In my previous job, there was a part of the bank which worked closely with companies and had access to private information. We, on the other hand, were on the public side and had no such access. This separation was made possible by our internal compliance team, auditors and central bank. Similarly in media, this
separation should be enforced by their compliance, auditors and an external regulatory.

M4: what are the things the new government should be doing in the economy?
Me: Sir, firstly, the new government should address the policy issues. For example, retrospective taxation, increasing FDI, cutting red tape, giving more confidence to bureaucrats…

M4: but they are against FDI in retail.
Me: Yes sir, FDI in retail is a bit of a grey area. But in other sectors, they are saying to allow FDI up to 49% via automatic route except for 3-4 sectors. Even in defence they are allowing FDI up to 49, 74 and 100% depending upon the kind of technology which is brought in.

M4: what other things?
Me: They should control the fiscal deficit. Although the previous government claimed reduction of headline number to 4.6%, but the quality of this fiscal deficit adjustment has been doubted by many experts. They say the government has merely pushed many subsidies to the next year. So some of these subsidies have to be removed.

M4: which subsidy they should remove?
Me: The fuel subsidy…

M4: won’t increasing diesel prices lead to higher inflation? There are so many critical Sectors like railways, trucks which need it.
Me: Sir there are 2 things here. One, yes higher diesel prices will push up inflation, but at the same time, the reduction of fiscal deficit due to lower subsidy will have a reducing effect on inflation and will offset at least a part of it. Next, what we can do is that we can compensate these critical sectors directly via direct cash payments. This way we can reduce the inflationary impact as well as prevent wastage of subsidy. Clearly we don’t want to subsidise the luxury cars running on diesel. 🙂

M4: is it possible politically to remove subsidies on gas cylinders?
Me: It is difficult, but given the strong mandate the new government has, it is possible.


  1. Definitely,Mr. GAURAV AGRAWAL is suitablely elligible for this top rank…excellent interview!

  2. Super…….super……. I wish you good future you will a good buerocant and public administater l am too like to will be an ias i will try….

  3. Good to have a person like Mr. Gaurav Agarwal in Administrative Power. In current scenario India more person like him………..
    Congrats Mr. Gaurav Agarwal……..


  5. Example for the aspirants, be staright simple and open minded while facing the Board, You will be rewarded as Mr Agarwal . Superb cool mind of u Mr Agarwal God bless

  6. Sir, your knowledge is vivid and great. I wonder how much hard work you have done to reach this stage. Surely it needs great commitment to achieve this.
    It is good to see that such hardworking people are in adminstration. It was inspiring as well as knowledgeable to read this conversation.
    In the end GOOD LUCK for your future goals.

  7. An excellent interview. A superb one, really inspirational. I wish U best of luck for ur coming career as an ideal administrator.

  8. OMG!! Its really more than our expectations..u have done a great job sir..m impressed n inspired as well..

  9. Inspirational interview.. Thnx sir… Am a step ahead from my preparation after watching this interview sir

  10. Congrats Sir….
    Thank you,my relational friend namely Athar(Rank 560th) also qualified in his first attempt,just at the age of 22……
    I felt him while availing your interview,i too prepare…….
    Best Of Luck !! Stay blessed…..

  11. really awosum interview sir …..may god bless u…..we all need this kind of mind set and preparation while going to face any upsc,ibps,ssc interview truely genious sir u deserve 1st rank …our country need officer like u ….

  12. Hi Sir ,
    u r my senior I want to meet you & I want to ask you how much hard work you have done to reach this stage.
    suggest some tips to us we also get this much opportunity which u have right now …
    I saw ur questions which ask u on interview ..ur ans was superb …
    &excellent ..!!

  13. Sir ji mujhe b ap jada banana h i am Un success man every Govt . Exam .Sir tell me how i active sucess

  14. I like the way he directly say don’t able to speak about some Topics like national park, Aim obj… As if u r not. Able to speak.. Then. Frankly say No.
    U should not give wrong answer….

  15. Wow!, excellent Interview,…

    Inspirational to us,
    Your vivid knowledge about Life and society shows your Hard work!
    You deserve this position,
    Keep working like this….
    God bless you;
    Best of luck for your Future SIR,*

  16. congratulated dr. Gaurav agrawal sir…..awesome difficulty created from intervewer to check your ability but you show your ability and talent them…..hope I will meet u

  17. Amazing Interview….we reallt want this types of interview question and answer…this interview is enough for get top ranking….welcome bro…god bless u..& may u become no1 administrator of india..

  18. I Am hearing about gaurav sir since i was in 11 in 2008
    As we were teaching from same teachers( iit coaching) they used to inspire us from his story. 🙂

  19. Your are the best….Best interview…your deep knowledge on every topic…is Great…..Feeling proud…to share the Nationality with You Sir….

  20. Really an awesome interview i have read……u deserve it…all the best…
    I also want to be an ias but i m not very cleared about my preparation….is any isntitute need for preparation???

  21. Awesome interview..dude..Love you!!..you are my inspiration and motivational person. I am sure one day I will be at your position by clearing IAS exam.

  22. I really inspired of it … :)& It is my promise to myself , i really meet u in same field … 🙂 under in coming 10 years ……

  23. I am really inspired by reading your answer given to interviewers, you done a excellent job. congratulations sir..

  24. Pta nhi aap comment padhte h ya nhi..
    Aap bahut sharp mind h…
    Mujhe b aapke jaisa banane ki khwaish h..
    But m bahut darpok hu..
    Apna kuch pal nikal kr meri kuch madad kr sko to please jarur krna..

  25. Till now I read so many interviews but I think ur one has been toughest than all.I like the way you faced it n cracked it.I m impressed.

  26. Definitely this would be a new and inspirational interview experience to the forthcoming aspirants….. Great u r really one hold up this one….

  27. it is very most important for prepration student . I like it. Thanks to u. Gaurav agrawal

  28. Each and every common sense people will answer like that
    Who are appreciating like superb interview may don’t have even sense

  29. Sir please reply what is your optional subject .is it necessary to communicate in interview English fluently.
    Please reply.

  30. thank you sir..it’s really motivative for new students who want to crack UPSC exam ..thanks again sir

  31. Really a lot of inspiration is fetched from this.. He is a deserving 1 for this position

  32. Dear Sir,

    Your Interview is really superb. Your vision motivated me.
    I am looking for cooperation from All patriot IAS officers. Common platform, Where they can distribute his common thoughts and if needed they can suggest to Govt and protest also. When necessary.
    Make a team do necessary.

    Thank u

  33. Excellent sir.. Really u deserv for ias topper.. Hatzz of to u….. N i start mh jorney inspiring by u …. Jai Jagannath…

  34. Congo Bro ! You deserves it !

    Well Said !Money is not everything follow your passion do what you love and rest follows 🙂

  35. Yr kaise hoti h itni knowledge tum log ko kya khate ho .god gifted ho …muje to lagta h muje kuch pta he na h is duniya k bare m

  36. Really an excellent interview which excel an important criteria which an interview poses on aspirants, perfect,l.

  37. How come interviewer asked question about Varanasi road show in 2014 which actually happened in 2016 during UP elections !!

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