- Mock Interview #1
- Mock Interview #2
- Official UPSC Interview
- Lalit Narayan (B.E, Mechanical) hails from Ajmer, Rajasthan and has been working as an Assistant provident fund commissioner in EPFO’s Gujarat regional office for past few years.
- Optional Subject: Public Administration, Hobbies: Tennis and Reading
- Mock interview date: 10th May 2015
- Panelists: Mr.VRS Cowlagi (IAS, Retd.), Mr.Amit Kumar Singh (Ethics Faculty, Delhi), Mr.Ketan Gajjar (IRS) and Mrunal Patel
- Venue: SPIPA, Ahmedabad
Video recording Link: youtu.be/wlXG74maXHg
- Mock interview date: 10th May 2015
- Panelists: Mr.VRS Cowlagi (IAS, Retd.), Mr.Amit Kumar Singh (Ethics Faculty, Delhi), Mr.Ketan Gajjar (IRS) and Mrunal Patel
- Venue: SPIPA, Ahmedabad
Video recording Link: youtu.be/5VO3e_uoRS8
Date: 5th June, 2015
1. is this your photo?
Ans. Yes sir.
2. Why you are not wearing glasses in this. I want a photo in glasses.
Ans. I don’t have a photograph wearing glasses.
3. After a while saying something called someone and asked him to get a photograph from me wearing glasses after the interview.
4. ok so you were working with a private organisation on reasonably high salary, why did you left the job?
Ans. sir i got this job through college placement process wherein i was selected for a particular profile. However after an induction training which was to last for 15 days it kept on being extended for a month, then two months and further. Then i realised that probably there is something amiss which was that the firm have recruited me for some project but it got stuck somehow therefore there is no meaningful work which i could be offered.
5. so what are your skill set and profile you were offered.
Ans. sir i was offered a role in operations profile.
6.ok then why you joined another firm at much lower pay compared to earlier job.
Ans. sir the profile which was offered to me was very good in terms of responsibility and opportunity to learn quickly and being fresh from college i wanted to on a steep learning curve so i joined the firm.
6. what is this name of the firm. What field it is working in.
Ans. it is involved in consulting on urban management and governance issues.
7. you are already working in government sector from last one year.ok so why did you joined government then and now appearing for civil services.
Ans. sir during my second job i got the opportunity to work very closely with the government of gujarat officials from urban development ministery and also worked on many projects of municipal corporations. Essentially we were making reports and then presenting the same to the government officials and it was in their hand to act on those. This exposed me to the scope the civil services in general have and therefore i decided to write civil services entrance and fortunately the pattern changed in manner that suited my skills. In civil services one has a great scope and scale on which policies could be formulated and applied.
8. listen gentlemen what we see in our country is that there are a lot of good policies being framed but somehow they don’t yield desirable result. I think that there is problem in implementation somewhere. Perhaps it is the implementation we are not good at. So any talk of policy framing will not lead to any betterment in society. So all this talk about policy framing is not going to take you anywhere. Do you agree?
Ans. sir what i feel is that our style of policy framing is that we take a situation and without much analysis take an intuitive approach and come up with a policy. But what we lack is a sense of evidence based policy making. A policy which is designed based on data reflecting certain realities instead we rely on intuition and make some grand statement. So i believe any policy which is ab-initio faulty cannot yield good result however good the implementation.
9. so you mean to say that policies are faulty and there is nothing wrong on implementation part.
Ans. to an extent yes and sir though there is good scope for improving on implementation part aswell. For instance i was reading a book poor economics by abhijeet banerjee and another of his colleague there they talk about evidence based policy approach. If you may permit i can talk about some areas the book focuses on.
10. yes please go ahead.
Ans. sir they have taken health, education and other policies of government and have tried to analyse the results of these policies using random controlled trials which is a statistical method. They have shown how poorly designed education and health policies are not delivering outcomes they should have ideally delivered. For instance they have taken case of free education and health care facilities at primary health centre and primary school. In udaipur they have visited a lot of villages and found even BPL go for private treatment and don’t approach government facilities for they equate free with poor quality. Therefore this mind-set needs to be figured in while designing policies. Further they show many instances where government policies have failed due to perverse incentives rather than lack of incentives.
11.recently Bangladesh have become an important country for us. The prime minister is scheduled to visit b’desh and there have been an agreement ratified by us. Though there is some issue which is still pending and could not be settled as of now due to lack of consensus on it but i am asking you why this sudden change of heart for b’desh. How do you see it and what exactly is happening there. What could be the benefits in it and why after all we are doing it. Could you explain this?
Ans. the b’desh agreement on which consensus could not be reached is teesta water dispute between us and b’desh due to some reluctance on part of west Bengal cm. The agreement which the government have ratified is land boundary agreement agreed upon in 1974 based on indira-mujeeb accord after the Bengal liberation war. This is going to be very helpful to integrate our north-east better and open up avenues for further integration of india with asean countries. Also it will help unite economies which were separated due to partition. The partition which was political
12. that is ok but why after so many years and what more can we see from it?
Ans. sir when Pakistan was born after partition we could have avoided economic partition which we could not do then and now this is harming our economies. The trade is highly imbalanced and total trade with b’desh is low as well. So we have to deepen our economic ties with b’desh and ensure regional integration to ensure economic gains for both of us by eliminating inverted duty structure and trading through different countries. Also this could not be done for so many years due to some perception problems with b’desh which came to be viewed from pakistan lens only. Perhaps we have given undue importance to pakistan and limited our foreign policy towards pakistan and neglected b’desh for long.However we announced our look east policy in 1992 wherein b’desh became important for us and now we have act east policy thus we have acted and delivered on what we have promised. Also this is driven by the fact that b’desh has helped us by handing over insurgents of ULFA and many other similar organisations and they have a PM in form of sheikh hasina who is viewed as liberal-secular leader unlike khalida jia previous PM. So since b’desh has acted we have reciprocated and it will give access to markets and also improve our image world over where we will be viewed favourably that we are serious about our neighbours and we are focussing on immediate neighbours and even small ones. That it can be a brotherly gesture from our side.
13.you are missing on something. Tell me what all benefits india will have.
Sir kept on saying one-two-three so on.
Ans. trade increase. Better integration of north east. Reach out to asean. For instance at partition all the mills stayed with india but all the jute belt went to b’desh, even in textile we faced the same problem. therefore it is better that we have more integration.
14. you are missing something fundamental here why this gesture from india after such a long time and that too with b’desh. Cant you see something bigger happening then trade, connectivity etc.
Ans. thinking hard.long pause…sir perhaps we are trying to remove the defects of saarc. We are looking at saarc minus pakistan so that all the benefits of saarc could flow.
15.can we really achieve that saarc minus Pakistan?
Ans. certainly yes, we can isolate it. Anyway we are focussing on other arrangements such as BCIM, other regional groupings with b’desh, Bhutan, myanmaar etc
1.lalit china is building an economic corridor with Pakistan, also it has asked india to stay away from troubled waters of south china sea. Further they have said no to india’s proposal to delineate the LAC and instead have asked to develop trust measure by asking india to stay away from border and not indulge in any infra activity in border areas.looking at all these aspects how do you this whole situation evolving with respect to china. What as a country the implications are for us. How can we counter the Chinese threat.
Ans. china as a nation is following policies which are not consistent as it asks india to stay away from southchina sea but instead it calls gilgit-balitistan entry as a commercial project only. There is a significant trade deficit which needs to be corrected, sooner the better for india. Our defence minister remarking on Chinese ganesha is a rallying cry for improving this increasing deficit through make in india. Further china has built a string of pearls around india thus limiting indias movement in the open sea around indian ocean if need may arise some day. So sir we need to increase trade and remove the trade distortions caused through inverted duty structures, more exports to china, taking Chinese investments in india and build our strength slowly. The day when we come close to their comprehensive national power we will see how to respond.
2. what is so special about china. How could they do this kind of growth within 20 years.
Ans. sir what is special about china is their ability to execute large projects with clinical efficiency. They take task at hand and see that it reaches logical conclusion without any hindrance. Further they understand the importance of strategy thus they could achieve so much in such less time frame.
3. that is ok but what i am asking how it happened.
Ans.sir after chairman mao died around 1974 deng started the process of rebuilding china with focus on economic development at any cost.
4. how it was different from india i am asking.
Ans. sir they began with agriculture then moved on to manufacturing and now increasingly acquiring service capabilities as well.
5.CM interrupting.even india did the same so what special.
Ans. india have bypassed manufacturing stage and moved on to the services from agriculture that is causing problem. And sir if I say what is different is that china have focus single minded attention to a thing at time and they do it. I tell you sir they are very good at strategy we as a country have always lacked long term orientation which china have in abundance. For instance before the modern naval and air power only way india could be attacked was through just two passes in the north-khybar and bolan. And we could not seal these two only and were subjected to so many attacks and whereas china build a wall over thousands of kilometre long to guarantee peace and thus prosperity. Historically they have had long stable and powerful kingdoms and in india except for a brief mughal period we never had very powerful pan india kingdoms.
6.CM cutting short…so you mean to say india doesn’t understand strategy and china does and also our political system is a problem. We have lot of debates and like.
Ans. yes sir i do say this. But our political system is a product of our experience over ages. China always had powerful kingdoms and weak society whereas india always had a very influential society and weak kingdoms. For instance the Confucian ethic signifies five duties and the most important is that of ruler-citizen followed by father-son. Therefore people have faith in their ruler and do not question them whereas we have had vibrant tradition of questioning so we have limits to bull doze citizen wishes.
7. CM again….so you mean to say democracy is the problem and china is very good at it due to lack of it.
Ans. no sir, i will say democracy is not the problem and there is no strong correlation between level of development and democracy. The oldest democracy usa is very developed and most powerful nation. Even the European countries England,germany..
8.CM again..you mean usa is oldest democracy.?
Ans. in the modern constitutional sense yes and other democracies England germany all have achieved significant development. So democracy is not the problem though dissent slows down the process but it is then much more deeper and sustainable. China have developed but there are significant costs also for that it will pay.
9.CM again..what kind of costs gentlemen.
Ans. sir environment is one. The spatial pattern of development is not balanced the coastal eastern cities have developed but north and west are left behind thus there is lack of social cohesion. The ulgur rebels are a case in point and it is an environmental catastrophe after all and they have realised this as well.
10. CM what you are talking.. do you have some idea delhi is the most polluted city in the world. I find it difficult to stay here and you are saying china is an environmental catastrophe. Beijing was most polluted 5 years ago they have cleaned it up. Just see around you.
Ans. you are very right sir. Delhi is most polluted city. But sir as i have earlier explained that china is excellent when it comes to project management and when they decide on a thing they could take it to logical conclusion. So they decided we want beijing clean and they could do it in 5 years flat. This is what strategy is about and focus is. We lack this. And also sir delhi is polluted we need do something about this but still per capita emission of china is very high compared to india. So in that sense we are not that degraded as well.
First time CM gave an appreciative look and said that is true.
11. so lalit problem is strategy this is what you are saying.
Ans. yes sir i am certain we need long term planning say 10-15 years horizon. Sir in china every child understand strategy and in india i am from a management background even we are not made to understand and read about philosophical foundations of strategy. And just one or two courses on strategy are there. Serious problem is to appreciate strategy chinas education system make them read about art of war so they understand about it. We are no match for them in terms of planning is all i am saying and we should rectify this and our alignment with b’desh is a step in that direction.
12.CM-then the problem is in our genes..
Ans. before I could say anything signals the 2nd member to ask.
1.So lalit you have studied Public administration i will ask you something about it. You see that at the time of independence we had grand old party. Now there are a lot of parties. In last 2-3 decades regional parties have came up as a potent force in Indian political system. Further the national parties have weakened over the years look at what happened to congress. Also there is this phenomenon of coalition era politics in india. So what is the status currently and do you think regional parties are a threat to our national interest as they have their vested short term interests. And how do you see it going forward.
Ans. ma’am if i may begin to answer the question with the later part first i do agree to your observation that regional parties have become a potent force and also they have some times acted in local interest rather than national interest. For instance the agreement we signed with b’desh could not be signed due to Bengal opposition to it and in south there are problems with srilanka due to tamil issues and tamilnadus stand on it. So if state leaders can influence foreign policy stand than there is a certain truth in your observation that they sometimes act contrary to national interest or priorities.
Coming to other portion why they have grown as a phenomenon is that perhaps after independence certain areas felt left out as development process by passed them completely therefore there started a mobilisation which built on resentment due to lack of development. So they could gain politically. In part it is good as well that regional aspirations gets attention this way but when it becomes a very narrow interest chase it does not add up. So if we have to check whether it is good or bad we have to see data for years comparing the phases of two political dispensations.
2.so you mean to say Bengal is good now.
Ans. ma’am if we have to compare Bengal now and earlier we need to factor in the fact that it was under a communist regime for around 3 decades and therefore industry could not take off and thus lack of development. And for instance we take Orissa i think they are being voted back again is due to fact that the people have got feeling that the ruling dispensation is good and is able to give a clean administration though it is still a bimarou state.
3. this is what i am saying that they could not develop their states as well.
Ans. ma’am that is certainly true but we have to factor in conditions such as long coast line thus vulnerability to storms and resulting destruction. Also they could not get sufficient investment due to lack of clearances and for long the governments in centre and Orissa have been different therefore they could develop fast. But ma’am i feel that there is still a positive feeling that the CM is an honest and efficient man. Even if i sitting in jodhpur can feel that Shri patnaik is a good and honest man it is natural that people will vote for him.
4. so how do you see the coming up of aap in delhi.
CM interrupting saying don’t ask him political questions.
5.okay so what should i conclude whether regional parties are good or bad.
Ans. ma’am rajasthan have always been a two party system so i cannot say something very conclusively but i will say that if i have to compare than we need to look at 20 years of congress rule or bjp rule in a state and compare it with a relevant period of regional party rule. Though we have seen in recent times a trend towards weakening of regional party as we see in UP both parties got wiped off and places where rulers are perceived as benign have been successful. So we need to look at relevant time frame and can compare on data.
1.what do you mean by natural person and a legal person. What is the difference.
Ans. i looking clueless asked sir i cannot fathom your question please can you elaborate on this.
2.look there is something known as a legal person. You are working in a position where you must be dealing with legal cases and other things. So ideally you should know about it. That a legal person is someone who can sue and be sued, you understand it now.
Ans. yes sir i know that someone can sue and someone who can be sued is a legal person. Natural person is what i am not aware.
3.CM saying..look you and i are natural persons..but we can also sue isn’t ..upsc is a legal person .
Ans. sir if i can take it from here i understand that anyone who can sue or be sued is a legal person.
4.what do you understand by criminal liability.
Ans. sir i am not aware in the strictest possible legal sense of the term but generally understood it is the liability arising out of any criminal act being done by the persons involved in the said act. So anyone who commits this act needs to be punished so his liability gets over.
5. ok so if a company lets say upsc does it than how do we punish.
CM coming again…so will you punish this building?
Ans. sir again i am not aware of legal position but based on understanding developed during my present job our act has provision that whosoever is in the final control of the affairs of the company can be prosecuted for the criminal act. If i take example of union carbide factory of Bhopal the accident occurred due to negligence of engineers and workers but ultimate responsibility is of the owners/directors because it is their negligence as well so they needs to be prosecuted for this criminal act.
6.CM coming in-yes very true that is how you could process.
7.do you know about the writs.
Ans. yes sir I do.should I name them?
8.yes go ahead.
Ans. sir they are issued by higher courts to protect fundamental rights fo the citizens.they can be issued by supreme court under article 32 of the constitution as supreme court is the guarantor of the fundamental rights and any infringement of the rights can be checked by issuing suitable writs.
9.so only supreme court can issue writs?
Ans. no sir, even high court can issue suitable writs demanding some action.
10.what all kinds of writs are there?
Ans. there are 5 kind of writs.should I name each of them??
Ans. habeaus corpus-it means to have a body.the court can ask to produce before it any individual.quo warranto-wherein the court checks the legality of any appointment by asking the occupier that by warrant you are here..mandamus-here the court commands activity on the part of a public authority,say if a public authority has failed to perform its duty the courts can order to do the same..prohibition-here the court prohibits lower courts to hear a case which is beyond their jurisdiction…fifth one I could not name then..but got it after a cue from member.
12.so what is mandamus issued for any example?
Ans. yes sir, for instance if the level of pollution in delhi are on higher side and the courts feel that pollution control board of delhi is not doing anything then under mandamus it can order the pcb to clean up the delhi in a given timeframe and report back to it the status from time to time..this can be called a continuous mandamus.
13.what is then the opposite of it.
Ans. sir where mandamus commands activity the prohibition commands inactivity..so in that sense it is opposite to mandamus.
1.so mr. Lalit narayan singh sandu… is it correct.
Ans. yes sir.
2. tell me what is criminal justice system.
Ans. sir if i may ask, you mean to ask about the system which deals with criminal acts and their punishment.
3.yes go ahead.
Ans. sir the entire process starts after a criminal act is committed the police investigates and then files charge sheet in the court and the litigation process thereof.
4.you mean to say the prosecution thereof and don’t you think the jail authorities are part of it.
Ans. yes sir by litigation i meant prosecution part and yes jail authorities are a part of it.
5.don’t you think the entire system is in shambles.it is completely ruined beyond repair i should say.
Ans. sir i will not take such an extreme view but i will definitely agree that there are areas which needs significant improvement. The investigations are a bit sloppy therefore the case takes longer and it does not stand a chance in court.also there is huge vacancies to be filled at every level. High vacancies exists at district courts, high court and the strength of supreme court is fixed at 30 else here also we would have had vacancies. And a lot of cases are pending at every level including thousands of cases at supreme court level.
6.getting agitated-sloppy that is a very moderate word they are absolutely nonsense. The system is dead gentlemen.
Ans. sir as i said that it is not perfect but it is not dead as well.
7.cutting short…cases take 20-30 years to decide and you are saying it is not dead.
Ans. sir i just want to say that there are problems but take for example in jodhpur a foreign tourist was raped and the entire trial was completed within 6 months and the criminal was imprisoned. We also have cases where celebrities are punished say a salaman khan, sanjay dutt..even most powerful politicians cant get away from law..so it has not failed completely though there are a lot of areas which needs improvement.
8.exactly lalit..exception doesn’t prove the rule..did you understand…if you are taking these examples that means the system has failed..they are exceptions so the rule is complete mess….Ok if have to ask what is the biggest problem in it and how can we improve upon that..
Ans. sir i think the most problematic part is the input that is the nature of investigations done by the police are cursory and lacks professionalism..so if we feed the system with a bad input the process will not be able to get us a good output, however good the intermediate processes be. So we need to make our investigation process good.
Also sir if i may add, many recommendations in this regard have been made which says that the police work should be divided under two heads, one responsible for investigations and other for law and order maintenance. This will improve the process and then if we can do something about it than using technology we can get status updates of the cases and increase our judicial strength to improve the entire system.
9.the investigations are worse and further the witnesses turns hostile so rest everything remains a mere formality.
Ans. yes sir that is an important area we should focus on..witness protection is very essential..i know many western countries have an elaborate witness protection programme in place..also we have been long contemplating to bring in a law for whistleblower protection bill, to safeguard who discloses information in public interest..the case involving CBI director the advocate could not disclose the name of person who gave him information for fear of life of the informer. So we need to strengthen it.
10.CM coming in..that is true we should think about it..nods appreciatively
11.so lalit you have been talking about Chinese threat and our inability to do anything.look they come into our territory at their will, humiliate our soldiers, it cause a great psychological loss to even me here..i feel humiliated by it i feel bad..but we cant do anything.
Ans. before he could finish i said even i do feel same sir..most likely i said i feel bad that we even lost panditji due to chinese.
12. so there is nothing what we can do..why should keep on staying calm..look nothing has progressed we had an agreement when narsimha rao was in power in 1993..even atalji signed an agreement in 2003 but Chinese are saying you cant build anything here but we can come in and physically harm your soldiers..though there is a fact not even single bullet has been fired but still it is deeply distressing.
Ans. yes sir i agree and i empathises with your concerns and even i feel bad about it..but what can we do sir.if i can talk about the policy options then perhaps there are three options we can work on.
First is that whenever they provoke us we also retaliate but sir in terms of comprehensive national power we are no match for them..they will get over us in no time..they are more powerful by a factor of three or four..so what we will gain.nothing i think.
Second is business as usual..whenever they want to come in let them come in..do whatever they want.we will not open our mouth.. this is not right i think because it harms self respect and dignity and what benefit we derive out of it nothing i suppose.
Third is work very closely with them have their money flow in, there companies come here..try to reduce trade deficit..build alliances with like minded people who are feeling threatened due to chienese ..leverage our friendship with America to thwart danger and once we come close to them by progressing economically and using economic power to build military strength then we will reanalyse their response till that time we should stay calm and quiet.
13. CM coming in again…so lalit you mean to suggest use money of china to develop ourself..do you have any idea what you are hinting towards..you are saying lets welcome chinese to our land and even if now they are posing such dangers what they will do once there companies are here and we become dependent on them..look what government has announced i think we are heading for trouble.
Ans. sir i understand what concerns you have but sir this is the real test of foreign policy..the sectors we give them access to is what will decide the future outcomes..for instance if we say that please invest in our telecom infrastructure than we are exposing ourselves to even the calls of our prime minister being listened to by Chinese..so the real issue is whether we are able to protect our sensitive sectors or not and still have their money to develop.
Sir one more thing if Chinese money and Chinese companies are present say in arunachal Pradesh or delhi then perhaps it will be disadvantageous to them bombing these locations rather than when there is no incentive for themselves to not do the same. It is where the balance needs to be maintained that make such economic dependencies that it is not in Chinese interest to harm us militarily..if our neighbour throws a stone at our house and he knows that his mirror is also lying in our house most likely he will not throw the stone then.
14.CM again….it is funny that you are saying use their money to protect us..even Americans fear Chinese so threat is very real.
Ans. sir at present we are no match for them they are very strategic.. very deep.. and if they have designs they will accomplish it..so only way to stop them is to increase the interaction and create costs for them if they do so..and sir i would say we should learn from them..we should learn the first rule of their strategy what deng said..keep lying low when building strength..dont tell people that you are getting stronger and then one sudden day come up and declare to the world that look we have arrived and please make way for us now…
15..CM again…very funny indeed learn from them..that sounds good
Asked the member to ask any final question if he wants to..
You can go now. PS:i should have used a quote about china ”if you are not on table with them then you are on their menu”.
All India Rank: 163
Interview score: 201/275
For more video recordings of mock interviews, visit this youtube playlist