Although I was sure of getting interview call, as I had written my Mains well, yet I was thrilled out of my belief with the result. Since it was my second interview,
I had already prepared the groundwork by collecting material related to my village, district, State and hobbies, etc., in the previous attempt. Whatever more was required, I collected that from the Internet.
I immediately shifted to Delhi and joined one coaching institute that provided me up-to-date information on current affairs and conducted mock interviews which helped me immensely. I improved my communication skills by speaking in front of a mirror as I was alone at Delhi, without any friend circle. On thelnterview day, I wore white shirt and grey trousers with a grey necktie. I was second to be interviewed, in the afternoon session. I spent my time by chatting with the other fellows and reading newspapers. I got Ms. Arundhati Ghosh’s Board and I was a little bit tense, when I entered the room. First question put to me was, ‘Why do you want to join Civil Services ?’ Last question appertained to a hypothetical situation. I had a stressful interview for about 40 minutes. There were a lot of supplementaries and interruptions. I was cool and calm except for the first few minutes.
The Chairperson asked me why we do not kill the stray dogs (my hobby in caring for stray animals);
—Dr. Balkar Singh, IAS
adverse sex ratio in Haryana and how it can be improved; what are administrative problems associated with adverse sex ratio ?
Second Member asked about NAM; its agenda; whether it is relevant today; SAARC; North-South dialogue and South- South Cooperation.
Third Member asked : “Why is RBI decreasing interest rates on savings and lot of supplementaries ?” The same Member asked me the meaning of the statement “No unit is good or bad; it is only the officers who are good or bad’.
Fourth Member asked me questions on ‘India Shining’; poverty alleviation programmes; what I would do for the rural areas if I became the member of Planning Commission.
Last Member put a hypothetical situation.
The most ticklish question was related to bringing wives by the Haryanvi people from other States. The Chairperson of the Board was very sentimental and emotional about this problem. I answered most of the questions in a nice way and the Chairperson supported me on the last question, i.e., hypothetical situation.
One can improve his/her personality even after getting intervietv call and should utilise the time efficiently and confidently. Personality is not a fixed trait, it is very much a dynamic trait.
session to test your knowledge or memory. Instead, it is an opportunity to exchange ideas and learn more about the candidate through his attitudes, aptitudes and responses. Under the circumstances, the Board wants you to open out and speak freely and frankly. Hence they will find out the topics on which you can readily speak and you will find that the questions are straight, simple and easy.
Dayal : Supposing they pose a question to which I do not know the answer. What am I to do?
Shobana : (Smiles) What is the problem? All you have to say is sorry and that you don’t know the answer.
Dayal: What if they ask a number of such questions, say, 10 or 12 of them in a row. Do I keep saying sorry all the time?
Shobana : The answer is yes. Better be frank and honest than pretend or bluff. However, as I told you earlier, such a situation will never arise. The Board wants to hear your views, ideas, etc., and their purpose will not be served if you are forced to maintain silence. They will find out the topics on which you will be able to talk.
Kashyap : Can you give a concrete example of a question where we will not be asked to give the right answer but just our views or opinions only?
Shobana : (Smiles) Oh sure. Let us say the Board asks this question, “Do you agree with the view that degrees should be delinked from Government jobs?” Now, would you say that this question has any so-called right answer, as you say?
Kashyap : Frankly, I don’t know what would be the right answer. But I see no harm in saying ‘Yes’ to the Board in reply to this particular question.
Dayal: No, I don’t agree. In my view, the degrees should not be delinked from the jobs. At least for certain jobs like the IAS, university lecturers, etc., we must have degrees. Basic qualification must be there.
Shobana : Well, as you could see you can agree or disagree with the proposition. You could be right whether you say “yes” or “no”. All that is required is that you should back up your “yes” or “no” with convincing reasons. Your supporting arguments should be coherent, logical and rational.
Dayal : Thanks, I could follow you now. I could see that the Board is interested to find out whether the candidate has understood the question and grasped the essentials of the subject. Most important, he should discuss the topic in all its perspective in a rational, objective and interesting manner. I take it that in the process the Board will check up whether the candidate is flexible, whether he could come to firm conclusions, whether he could face challenges and cope with them successfully and so on.
Shobana : That is absolutely correct. Well, they are starting the interview now and here is the messenger to summon
me. Wish you both the very best and all good luck. Since we are clear now as to what the Board expects of us, I am sure we all will do well and come out with flying colours. Bye. (She waves to them and proceeds towards the interview room.)
Dayal and Kashyap : Thank you so much. Wish you all the best.
Comments : We find our candidate Miss Shobana Roy to be a well-informed, knowledgeable and diligent person. Evincing keen interest and setting her sights to win her objective, she has taken the required trouble and made the necessary preparations to fare well at the interview. She creates a forceful and favourable impact on others by her appearance, conduct, knowledge and winning social qualities.
Shobana is the first candidate to be interviewed this morning but this does not weigh on her in any way. She walks towards the interview room with elegance and confidence. Before going into the room, she gently taps on the door and tarries for a few seconds. A voice bids her to “come in” and she moves forward maintaining her poise, enchanting smile and self-confidence. On approaching the chair meant for the candidate, she comes to a halt and greets the Chairman and other Members of the Board in a pleasing and impressive manner.
Shobana : (Keeping her palms together in typical Indian style and with a slight bow of her head) Namaste to you all please.
Chairman : Namaste, Miss Roy. Please take your seat.
Shobana : Thank you, Sir. (She occupies the seat gracefully without any noise or unnecessay movements. Once seated, she remains relaxed and yet attentive awaiting the further observations of the Board.)
Chairman : I see that you have come all the way from Kolkata to Delhi to appear for this interview. Is this your first visit to Delhi? How do you find this place as compared to Kolkata?
Shobana : Well, Sir, after about five years or so this is my first visit to Delhi. Before that my parents were stationed here for a couple of years and I used to come over here for the school holidays. Now, as compared to Kolkata, Delhi, particularly New Delhi, has plenty of space, greenery, parks, etc. Kolkata is crowded and congested. Most of the residential areas are old and worn out. Delhi has several new and posh residential colonies and it has expanded on all sides. The only problem in Delhi was distance which has been considerably reduced by the use of Metro rail network. To be frank, Sir, I am impressed with the city and I like it.
Chairman : Comparing the size of the country and our security needs, would you favour shifting of the capital to a more central and secure location, say, in the Deccan ?
Shobana : (Smiles) Well, Sir, about seven or eight centuries ago Mohammed- bin Tughlaq tried it but with disastrous consequences. In these days of jet travel and satellite communication, geographically central location is not that important. Delhi has been traditionally the national capital for ages and after Partition it has grown fast. I think we can put our resources to better use than building an alternative national capital.
Second Member : What about the security aspect? You have not referred to it.
Shobana : I am sorry, Sir. I had omitted to refer to it explicitly. With the advent of nuclear weapons and ICBMs, any place on earth is vulnerable to enemy attack. Further, major population centres are no longer that attractive targets as was the case during World War II. Today the prime targets are our key defence installations, oil installations, oil refineries, nuclear power stations, steel plants and the like. Besides, Delhi is not on the borders of Pakistan or China. Finally, we are a democracy and even if anything happens to those in the capital, there would be plenty others with necessary competence to take over. Hence in my view even security considerations do not warrant the shifting of the capital from Delhi.
Comments : The answer given by the candidate indicates tremendous self- confidence, courage and objectivity on the part of the individual. She does not shy away from difficult situations but meets the challenges boldly with courage and conviction.
Second Member : From your dossier I find you have done M.A., B.Ed. and presently you are a lecturer in a degree college. You have also registered yourself for a Ph.D. Don’t you feel that you might find the IAS as dull and drab in the context of your academic interests and excellence?
Shobana : (Smiling) I have opted for the academic and teaching fields as a means to realise my ambition of making the IAS grade. My involvement with the academic subjects helps me to keep updated and fully familiar with the
subjects I have offered for my written examination.
Second Member : Can you explain in simple language, as you would do to a layman, what exactly deficit financing implies and what is its link-up with inflation?
Shobana : Deficit financing means increasing the amount of money in circulation at a given time by printing and pumping in more paper currency by the Government of a countrjs-, There is no corresponding increase in the amount of goods produced. Since the supply of goods remains constant and that of money increases, naturally there is a rush for the restricted goods available making the prices to shoot up. But if the increase in money supply is made with an intent to increase production, soon there would be more goods, greater employment and market expansion leading to economic growth. Thus if increased money supply is directed towards non-productive expenditure, it will lead to inflation. If deficit financing is used to step up production of goods and services, it will result in economic growth and higher per capita income.
Comments : The candidate shows initiative, originality and courage to express her views freely and frankly. Her arguments are rational and logical and * she is sincere and earnest.
Third Member : What do you know about the 119th Amendment Bill to the Constitution ? How much importance does it have with regard to India’s foreign policy ?
Shobana : Sir, the 119th Amendment Bill to the Constitution is related to the 1974 India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA). The protocol for this was inked during PM Dr. Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka in September 2011. If the Amendment Bill passes muster in Parliament, it wilt operationalise the LBA and fully demarcate the 4,100-km India- Bangladesh land border. So far as the importance of the 119th Amendment Bill in India’s foreign policy is concerned, I can say that it has got immense importance, as operationalising the LBA would resolve the complex issue of enclaves and adversely possessed pieces of land. Currently, India possesses 111 enclaves within Bangladesh, while Bangladesh possesses 51 enclaves within Indian territory. At present, neither of the two countries can exercise jurisdiction over its enclaves due to geographical constraints. As a result 51,000 enclave residents are
virtually stateless. If the LBA comes into effect, there will be a direct swap of land (enclaves) and the hardships of the enclave dwellers will come to an end. Besides, the criminal networks that have come into existence and have been active along the border areas will be dealt with an iron hand. The Opposition in India is not in favour of the LBA, whereas it has been ratified in Bangladesh.
Third Member : What are the issues that the Opposition cites for blocking the LBA ?
Shobana : There are three issues. First, swap of enclaves will involve New Delhi ceding 17,149 acres of its territory to Dhaka in return for 7,110 acres. It means India will have to lose around 10,000 acres. Second, the LBA does not address the issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh. And third, the basic framework of Indian Constitution prevents the Government of the day from ceding any portion of Indian territory.
Fourth Member : Some experts say that the so-called “endgame” in t Afghanistan may not be really at hand. Why do they think so ?
Shobana : I think that the confusion over the US talks with the Taliban in Qatar in June 2013 has led them to express this idea. Barely hours after the talks were announced, the Taliban broke the agreement by flying its flag and presenting itself as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. Afghan President Mr. Hamid Karzai got furious and Washington tried to pacify him by saying that the Taliban’s Qatar office would be closed, if it did not stick to the terms agreed in the pre¬negotiations.
Fourth Member : How do you assess the perception of the Indian strategic community after the US administration’s attempt failed to deliver anything fruitful ?
Shobana : The Indian strategic community is not very optimistic about the fate of the US attempt. It is very apprehensive. But the Government of India is comparatively calm and hints at some flexibility. External Affairs Minister Mr. Salman Khurshid referred to the proposed American talks with the Taliban an “experiment”. He wanted to suggest that the US efforts must be judged by outcomes rather than the construction of a “process”. A spokesman for the foreign office hinted in his remarks in June 2013 that Delhi had an open mind on talking to the
What do the various jobs under Civil Services involve ? Perhaps, it may pay if you take the trouble of going through the information sheet on the Civil Services once more to familiarise yourself with the objectives and scope of the Civil Services. Once you know what the job is all about, all fear and nervousness will die out.
Be honest about assessing your weak points as well. Nobody has perfect qualifications and a perfect work record. Everyone has had some failure or disappointment but the important thing is to be aware of these weak points yourself so that you can be prepared with the best positive interpretation of them if the Board picks them up.
Taliban. He tried to stress the point that there should not be any dilution of the legitimacy of the elected government in Kabul. At the same time, the spokesman also tried to drive home to everybody that all insurgent groups, including the Taliban, can be taken into confidence, if they’ are ready to “join the mainstream.” In a sense, now Delhi has expressed its willingness to believe in the idea of “good Taliban”, to which it was previously opposed.
Fifth Member : Does the election of Mr. Hassan Rohani as the eleventh President of Iran make any difference to Iran’s politics ?
Shobana : Yes Sir. The presidential election of June 2013 in Iran has been seen as a significant event. Iran elected as its eleventh President not a hardliner but a mild-mannered cleric, Mr. Hassan Rohani. The people of Iran elected Mr. Rohani, because he was the only non-conservative candidate to talk about the improvement of economic conditions and the defence of civil liberties. Mr. Rohani’s election is supposed to decrease tensions between
Iran and the outside world. It is thought that his election will not create new international challenges. In other words, Mr. Rohani will certainly inject a new tone of moderation in Iran’s foreign policy. His call to end Iran’s international isolation can serve as a bridge between the supporters of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the reformists. In the meantime, the full support provided to Mr. Rohani by two former presidents, Mr. Akbar Hashami Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami will play a crucial role in determining the future distribution of political power in Iran.
Comments : The candidate reveals the ability to face a complex situation with imagination, analyse the major factors involved in their correct perspective and decide the course of action to be followed in a firm and unambiguous manner to achieve successful results. Her answers indicate that she is keeping herself abreast of current and latest developments in each field.
Sixth Member : If you were a sportsperson, who would you like to emulate or model yourself on ? And why ?
Shobana : Sir, I have had a keen interest in a number of games since my childhood. But the one I am particularly fond of is cricket. I must say that I not only share my love for cricket with countless compatriots, but also adore Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar as my hero like most of them. If I were a cricketer, I would undoubtedly try to emulate Sachin and Sachin only. Throughout his career, the little maestro from Mumbai has made several outstanding records in Tests as well as ODIs and taken the game of cricket to hitherto unknown altitude of glory through the inimitable brilliance of his willow. Thus, he towers over all others in terms of records. Apart from what the figures speak of Sachin’s greatness, it is his unflinching
commitment to the game, his strong willpower, team spirit, humility despite worldwide fame and fortune and motivating character that make him a true idol for a whole generation of budding cricketers as also millions of cricket lovers across the globe.
Concluding Comments : This candidate has shown comprehensive knowledge and shrewd understanding of the social, political and economic developments taking place in India and other countries. She is realistic and practical. Selected with high