[Nigvekar] Interview Reforms: Score Table on fixed parameter, Personal Narrative Essay, Softcorner for Rural, Consolation prize for interview failed (Part 4 of 4)

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Mrunal’s UPSC GSM3-2020 Model Answer lecture: Science Technology, Internal Security Border Management Questions from last Mains Exam Solved!
  1. Prologue
  2. Interviews: Give soft corner to Rural candidates
  3. Every candidate should be interviewed by all boards
  4. Declare result on time
  5. Remove group B service
  6. Consolation prize for Interview failed
  7. Interview reform for Physically handicapped
  8. SSB like Group Task, Outdoor activities
  9. What Nigvekar recommends
    1. #1: Statement of Purpose (SoP)
    2. #2: “Score Table” for interview
  10. Misc. recommendations of Nigvekar
    1. R&D center in UPSC
    2. Allow service preference change during training
    3. Provide info on job profiles & exam scheme
  11. Download Full Report of Nigvekar


Highlights of [Nigvekar] Committee on civil service exam reforms: this article series has four part

  1. PART1: What inputs Nigvekar got from eminent people including Dr.Kalam, CAG , CIC, various UPSC members, + age attempt related issues.
  2. PART2: prelim reforms.
  3. PART3: mains reforms.
  4. PART4: Interview reforms.

Nigvekar Committee Reforms in civil service Interviews

Interviews: Give soft corner to Rural candidates

(Input from UPSC’s own research wing- from Page48)

  1. Personality test is a nightmare for most of the students coming from rural areas. Since they are not exposed much to such a formal set up, it is very tough for them to cope up with this problem. So Personality test should be more interactive and informal. Like SSB in armed forces, it should include group-discussion, decision making exercises etc. Time of personality test should be extended. It should be at least of two days for the candidate.
  2. In civil service exam and selection, there should be more attention towards Hindi medium and rural background students. If a student belongs to rural background then it’s necessary that in interview, there should be soft corner towards him.

Every candidate should be interviewed by all boards

(Input from UPSC’s own research wing- from Page48)

  1. The 300 marks are very high for interview. Though the mains marks has less variation, because to these 300 marks there is obtaining a huge variation in the total marks. How can a personality be judged in 20-25 minutes with huge variation in marks and variations in board to board.
  2. One candidate should be interviewed by all the boards to assess the personality of the candidate and average score of all the boards. True personality of candidate will be known with multi-board interview system.

Declare result on time

(Input from UPSC’s own research wing, Ch3.Page51)

  • The results should be declared on the pre-announced date. (so people don’t waste time speculating result date on online forums).

Remove group B service

(input from UPSC’s own research wing, Ch3.Page50)

  1. Split the UPSC civil service exam into two; One for IAS, IPS & IRS and the other for group ‘ A’ central service.
  2. Remove group `B’ service from Civil Service. This will enable candidate from reputed institutes like IITs, IIMs to just sit for the one for IAS, IFS, etc. (and) They will not waste seat and reduce chance of others to qualify in other government jobs.
  3. Efficiency will increase and the ones opting for group ‘A’ central services will work hard in their fields. Now .a lot of youth with professional degrees join group A services and waste their years in preparing for most attempts, just to leave the service.

Consolation prize for Interview failed

(input from UPSC’s own research wing, Ch3.Page51)

  • There should be an alternative career system for students clearing mains exam but not getting selected into the final merit list.
  • Any candidate who clears Mains examination should be opportunity to serve Govt. of India in least Group-B Non-gazetted post so that civil service exam could attract maximum talent in the country.

Interview reform for Physically handicapped

(input from UPSC’s own research wing, Ch3.Page51)

  • Arrange interviews and medical test for physically handicapped persons so that they have not to stay for more than 2 days in Delhi. Interview dates should be changed on request of candidate in some special cases.

SSB like Group Task, Outdoor activities

(Input from UPSC’s own research wing- from Page48)

  • Personality test is not enough to evaluate one’s personality in 15-30 minutes, so new tools and techniques should be included.
  • Some Psychological test to peep inside the mind to test his commitment and honesty
  • A behavioral based questionnaire could be introduced during the interview session.
  • Group discussion to check the communication skills.
  • Outdoor tasks to check leadership quality and team-spirit

What Nigvekar recommends

input given by eminent people to Nigvekar (given in ch3 and annex of his report) What Nigvekar recommended (given in Ch6)
soft corner to rural candidates nope
interview by all boards nope
Statement of purpose (SoP) essay before interview yes
SSB like outdoor activities, group discussion nope
consolation prize for players failed @interview stage. nope
quickly windup interview-med checkup of PH candidates nope
remove group B services nope

He recommends only two reforms in Interview stage:

#1: Statement of Purpose (SoP)

  1. Nigvekar recommends that every candidate that clears mains exam, should be asked to submit a “personal narrative” report. [Similar to the “Statement of Purpose”/SoP essays required in elite MBA institutions.]
  2. Personal narratives would be autobiographical in nature where candidates will briefly discuss their personal history and reasons for aspiring to join civil services.
  3. He may also elaborate his academic, non-academic and practical experience/achievements which may help him in being a successful civil servant.
  4. He  may also discuss his success or failure in managing specific/unusual situations, if any.
  5. Personal Narratives could be written within 400 words and should be considered by the interview Board.

#2: “Score Table” for interview

To make the interviews less subjective and more transparent, Nigvekar recommends “Score-Table”

Attributes Maximum marks Marks awarded
  1. Ability Of Social Cohesion & Leadership And Suitability For Civil Service
  1. Mental Alertness, Analytical, Reasoning, Assimilation Skill And Balance Of Judgment
  1. Variety And Depth Of Interest
  1. Communication Skill
  1. Intellectual And Moral Integrity
Total 300

Misc. recommendations of Nigvekar

R&D center in UPSC

to do following things:

  1. at every five year, Government should send a copy of annual performance appraisals of officers selected through UPSC. UPSC’s R&D center should, analyze these inputs, subsequently fine tune the exam process
  2. Develop technology to create a repository of question banks, and formulation and conduct of online examinations (for preliminary examination), etc.

Allow service preference change during training

  • A candidate may be allowed to review his service options within one month of joining the Foundation Course.
  • Allotment of service and cadre should be made by the government before the Foundation Course ends.
  • Counseling for the various services should be given in the first two weeks of the Foundation Course.

Provide info on job profiles & exam scheme

  • UPSC should utilize its website and share colorful presentations about profiles of various services so that candidates can make a better and informed choice of service.
  • UPSC should publish and disseminate attractive information booklets, designed by professionals, which contain summary of the scheme of examination. This would help market the Civil Services better and attract candidates, from across the country that might not be well informed about the Civil Service.

Download Full Report of Nigvekar

For the public record, I’ve uploaded entire report here:


But I don’t recommend you download his report (and waste your internet bandwidth). The reasons are following:

  1. ch1 talks about evolution of civil service exam- from British Raj till now. The summary already available in 2nd ARC reports. This chapter contains deep Ph.D, that useless for studies (Even for Public Administration).
  2. ch2 talks about the recommendations of Committees before Nigvekar (Kothari, Khanna, Alagh etc. but their summary also available in 2nd ARC report- in more eye candy fonts. This pdf has bad quality. (Because UPSC itself gave low quality Xerox to me.)
  3. Ch3, 4, 5, 6 and annex 1 is/will be covered in my [Nigvekar] series four articles.
  4. Annex 2 deals with recruitment system in USA, France etc. = useless because that syllabus topic was helpful in MCQs of Public Administration prelims. But now prelims doesn’t have Public Administration or any other optional subjects.

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15 Comments on “[Nigvekar] Interview Reforms: Score Table on fixed parameter, Personal Narrative Essay, Softcorner for Rural, Consolation prize for interview failed (Part 4 of 4)”

  1. sir write something about storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints can we use food processing article points here ?

  2. In complete favour of consolation prize type scheme of exam. It shall be given a second thought. It wil creat less trauma for failed students……

  3. धन्यवाद महोदय! अपना कार्य जारी रखें।

  4. when can we expect these changes to be implemented and how good are the chances of them being implemented?

  5. I can confirm the “Score table” for interview is already being followed. It is the same way of evaluating in most PSU job interviews.

  6. Thanks Mrunal for bringing out the report. In the entire series of these articles, does the word “toppers” mean all students whose names have come in the final merit list? Or does it include only those students who have topped their respective service on the basis of final merit list rank – like the topper of IAS, topper of IFS, topper of IRTS, etc?

  7. Still most of civil servants come from priviledged backgruonds (City dwellers, rich family, convent educated), earlier it was more the case. This report, which is prepared by taking the opinion of mostly these kind of civil servants, clearly shows how disconnected these people are from ground reality.This is a report which is prepared by the elite, to favor the elite (it is not necessarily deliberate, most probably because of the subconsious biases only). A person from a rural background, who studied in his mother toungue and could complete graduation by age 22-23 and does not have access to coaching classes and internet – is not worthy of being a civil servant. A civil servant should know fluent english – even though most of them have to work in small districts of India and largely interact with non-English understanding people! Only good recommendation I could see is limiting the number of attempts for all categories to 5. Really number of attempts are too high, it not only harms new entrants but also the ones who are trying – because they are trapped in the hope that ok this time.

    1. Hi Ketan,

      IMHO it is not too wise to judge the intentions of the reformers in such a sarcastic way. I may not be able to comment much on the candidates coming from rural and backward areas and surely agree that they face multitude of difficulties during the course of education which most of the city-bred aspirants may not face. Majority of rural students do get their education in vernacular medium and it is indeed difficult for them to cope up with English during the course of preparation. Hence the decision to roll back the introduction of English language paper last year.
      Please do understand that these are only the recommendations and not at all binding on the committee. The committee must appreciate feedback/ view-points from the people who have been a part of the system. I am sure the committee hold multiple discussions before introducing any change as they are well aware of the effects and consequences. Along with that I would say the system has to keep evolving, the processes have to reform to ensure they meet the demands of the time and are dynamic. I am sure, most would agree with the influence of technology in bringing fast, effective and efficient changes in lives of so many people and e-governance have opened new horizons which were unthinkable till last decade. So if we the committee suggests that today’s candidates should adapt more with the technology and provide more n more technology driven solutions along with human effect, I do not find anything wrong in it. This is just an example to look at the reforms UPSC is trying to bring in the future candidates, after-all it is entrusted with the selection of the future officers who are going to impact lives of everyone they are in command of for delivering services and policy implementations.
      I believe there are some services which probably demands more than basic knowledge of English (tested through compulsory English paper which is not counted in final marks) like IFS considering the nature of the job. We can not deny that these services do need a handsome command and fluency in English which probably can be acquired over time during service but not compulsorily. The Committee may well have received feedback from IFS quarters taking into account the conduct of the IFS officers. Hence there is no harm in having deliberations.
      For attempts I would say your apprehension could have some place but not fairly justified as we have a look at the year on year Annual Reports of UPSC. The reports contain data on the no of attempts taken by a candidate for the selection and shows that over 90 % have been selected by forth attempt. This also contains re-selection of the candidates for higher preference. For a minor section, the attempts could fall in 5,6,7 category but then they are all from reserved categories and for their benefit only the govt has allowed extra attempts considering their disadvantageous and backward background.
      I would suggest you to keep working towards your success with too much of a thought on attempts and reforms as it would affect majority in the same way as it would affect you once introduced. But yes, we have to keep in mind the qualities being looked into for the future officers without explicit mention in notification and we must ensure that our efforts are in that direction for an overall employable personality.

  8. mrunal sir…I sincerely hope ye optional remove ho jaye…and they must create and manage the positions + give aspirants life easy.

  9. This year CSE 2013 final result is very shocking. The minimum cu off for CS main fixed by UPSC was amazingly only 564/1750 i.e. only 32%. most of the qualified candidates belonged to brilliant academic backgrounds like IIT, IIM, other similar institutes. Such poor score by them speaks volume about the UPSC,s game plan to limit the written part of the exam to less than 40% in waitagage and selecting the candidates on the basis of only interview and favour only english speaking elites people who know very little about true India which mostly lives in rural areas and smaller towns. The maximum and minimum marks awarded by UPSC in interview varies from 75 to 225 as evident from last year marks. This is contrary to Nigvekar committee recommendation for UPSC reforms. Interview by different Boards, questions asked by them and glaring mark differences awarded by different Boards in just 20-25 minutes time is also highly discriminatory and full of subjectivity. What is your opinion on my observation.

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