- Economy related UPSC Interview Qs
- Polity and Constitution
- Diplomacy & International Relations
- Roleplay / Situation Reaction Test (SRT)
- Three weeks ago, the UPSC mains 2018 result was declared and the interviews are scheduled to begin from February 2019.
- Here are some mock interview questions (20 to be exact), from the current affairs of December 2018.
Economy related UPSC Interview Qs
- In 2018- December, Pakistan Government announced to issue ‘Panda Bonds’ in Chinese currency, which proves that China is trying to make the renminbi a global currency similar to US dollars. Should India also encourage Bangladesh, Nepal and the L.D.Cs of Africa to issue ‘Cow bonds’ in rupee denominations to make rupee a global currency?
- Hint: Danger that candidate will simply say “yes sir yes sir we should do like that”- Whereas it requires deeper thought and understanding of the risk associated with such move e.g. Ethiopia could borrow rupee currency from Indian market with such Cow Bonds, and if they default on bond repayment due to regime change, will it not hurt our economy? Think!
- A government committee has advised AICTE not to give permission to any new Engineering College from 2020. It proves that there has been mushrooming of poor quality engineering colleges in the previous decade which has also led to large number of graduate but unemployable youth. What should be done for those?
- Follow up: Betaa, you are giving the same cliched answer that government should launch skill scheme to make them employable, but Government has already launched skilling schemes but most of these graduates think it is beneath them to learn this how to be carpenter and electrician- Then how can we tap their demographic dividend?
- What are your thoughts on the investor Summit organised by various states? (Hint: Candidate is most likely to appreciate such Summit saying that it encourages competitive federalism and therefore states are motivated to do more reforms for ease of doing business etc.)
- Follow up Qs: United Kingdom has recently pulled out of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit stating that even after spending 50,000 Pounds each for sending their officials, yet the quantum of business deal had been very little last year. Many of the MoUs signed during such summits remain only on the paper and not translate to creation of factories or jobs. Investor Summit so basically showpiece state events without lack of satisfactory commercial outcomes. Don’t you agree? What will you do as a Secretary, DIPP?
- What is World Happiness Index? What is India’s rank in it? On one hand, India’s rank is improving rapidly in the ease of doing business, whereas in world happiness index we are at rank 133, behind Pakistan and Nepal out of 156 countries. Why is this contrast? Are we really that unhappy or there is something wrong in the computation methodology of such index?
- In the year 2008, the outflow of foreign portfolio investors money was very high because of the subprime crisis in USA. According to recent reports, the foreign portfolio investors outflow for the year 2018 is even higher than 2008. Why is this happening? If FPI is quitting then doesn’t it reflect that India’s improvement in the ease of doing business ranking is fake? (Hint: For that we must see FDI data, not FPI, because FPI investments are speculative so they can run away to other countries if they are getting better returns there!).
- In December 2018, Government notified certain restrictions on e-commerce sites to end deep discounts, cashback schemes and exclusive mobile phone flash-sales offered by them. This is seen as a move to help the brick and mortar stores. But don’t you think such restrictions will harm the competition and innovation and discourage the FDI investment? As a customer, will you buy a mobile phone from a brick and mortar store or an online store which is offering you 500 rupees cashback & 30 days return policy? (Hint: Here some candidates will try to portray themselves as Good Samaritans and say that “I will buy it from a brick and mortar store, even if it is more expensive” but then interview panelists are experienced and intelligent enough to see the phoniness in the character of the phone buyer.)
- The chairman of LIC VK Sharma has retired and the Bank Board Bureau is in the process of selecting a new full-time chairman of LIC. But don’t you think UPSC is a better, impartial and more qualified agency for the selection in such esteemed post? Why do we have this Bank Board Bureau?
- How does RBI generate surplus? Why does it have to pay dividend from the surplus to the Government of India? Critics allege that government is demanding higher dividend from RBI to finance its fiscal deficit, whereas the pro BJP faction says that RBI is already sitting on an unnecessarily large surplus compared to other Central Banks of the world, and therefore if RBI gives larger dividend to the government for Welfare of the nation- it’s justified. What are your thoughts on this matter? (Hint: RBI has setup Bimal Jalan Committee to look into this matter, we should wait for its report!)
- What is Mudra scheme? Critics allege that because of Mudra loan scheme, public sector banks are forced to give unrealistic targets and they have to give the loans to MSME in fast manner, and as a result the Mudra-loan segment NPA has increased from 600 crore to 7000 crore in 2 years. Shouldn’t the scheme be abolished? (Hint: MSME account for nearly 40% of our export and large chunk of our work force, if they are not given loans by the formal sector, growth will be affected.)
Polity and Constitution
- Uttar Pradesh government has imposed “Cow Welfare Cess” on its profit-making public-sector units. What are your thoughts on this? Don’t you think such Hindutwa-vadi agenda is against our secular constitution? (Hint: DPSP Article 48: State to prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves and other draught cattle and to improve their breeds)
- Follow up Q: You are telling me about the directive principle, the fundamental duty also requires that we should have compassion for all living features then don’t you think that UP government should have rather imposed an animal welfare cess instead of specifically cow and faces? (Trick question- because most candidates will lean on pro-cow, or non-pro-cow depending on with what tone the panel is asking question or counter question. You need to have a firm stand on such issue.)
- Can you tell me something about the three Islands of India that have been renamed by the PM? How can PM rename a place? (Hint: Bhai woh Union territory hai!).
- Follow up Q: If you were the chief minister of your state, would you like to rename any particular place of your state? Why?
- Uttar Pradesh State government has renamed Allahabad into Prayagraj while Allahabad High Court name is not changed. Same for Madras High Court, Bombay High Court Calcutta High Court, why? If we want to change name of a particular High Court, who has the power is it the State legislature or is it the union parliament? And, should we change the name of these High courts: yes /no ?
- A country named Estonia has decided to become completely digital in its administration, every bureaucratic decision will be made online and will be available in the public access records. What are the challenges of adopting such system in India?
- Follow up Q: Some critics allege that Right to Information Act has rather become a tool of blackmailing in the hands of certain journalists and activists, even the decisions taken in good faith are made open to public scrutiny in a malicious manner. Certain restrictions are, therefore, required on The Right To Information Act. Do you agree?
- Follow up Q: Someone filled an RTI and obtained data that very small number of IAS/IPS probationers had Hindi as their Mains-medium in the recent recruitments, so indirectly it is fueling the fire as if we (UPSC) are biased against the non-English medium. So, again, don’t you think full transparency is harmful to administration because it can be maliciously used for running such type of propaganda against the institutes? Hint: Candidate will first give Pro RTI and then anti RTI stand depending on how the panel is framing the questions and counter questions, so better you have a firm stand whether RTI should be diluted or it should not be diluted. If you keep thinking on this side and that side like a headless chicken, it is not generating an image in the panels’ minds that you have officer like qualities.)
Diplomacy & International Relations
- What is Asia reassurance initiative act? How does it benefit India? Don’t you think India will rather end up as a pawn in the US-China powerplay like once upon a time Pakistan became pawn in the game of USA vs Russia in the Afghanistan war.
- In Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, the students are required to answer the roll call with “Jai Hind, Jai Bharat” instead of “Yes sir/ Present sir.” The state government is justifying that it will inculcate the spirit of nationalism among the students, what are your thoughts?
- Follow up Q: The Directive Principles also requires the State to promote international peace and security and maintain just and honourable relations between nations. But such “Jai Hind, Jai Bharat, Surgical Strike, Commando Training” type hyper nationalism by the State & the media prevents any peaceful dialogue with Pakistan or China. Don’t you agree? (Hint: Here also the same danger, first the candidate will appreciate the state government initiative and then when countered, he will lean on the other side that we should not have hypernationalism.)
Roleplay / Situation Reaction Test (SRT)
- Suppose you are the vice chancellor of a University and you have invited an eminent foreign scientist for a memorial lecture. Afterwards, there are allegations of #METOO against this scientist on twitter, and certain activists and student leaders begin a campaign against you that invitation should be cancelled because the said scientist is accused of sexual harassment. Media also picks up on the story and they also start putting you in a negative manner. Will you take back the invitation or not?
- Follow up Q (If you take back invitation): The principle of natural justice says innocent until proven guilty if we start to boycott people simply based on some anonymous Twitter campaigns, isn’t that same as mob-lynching?
- Follow up Q (If you don’t take back invitation): In some cases, the nature of sexual harassment is such that it is difficult to prove in court so if society doesn’t have some type of social ostracization and boycott mechanism then will it not strengthen the men in high places to treat women as sex-commodities?
- Suppose, you are the Prime Minister of India and you had invited the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia as the chief guest for the 26 January parade. Afterwards, there are reports that Crown Prince allegedly got a journalist assassinated who was writing against him and on Twitter and Facebook there is a campaign by group of Indian and foreign journalists that India should take back the invitation- And it appears that until you (as PM) don’t take back the invitation, they (journalists) will continue to criticize you on each and every policy of the government, thereby affecting your chances of reelection. So, will you take back the invitation or not?
- Follow up Q (If you take back invitation): But we have a large number of Indian workers in Saudi Arabia, if we antagonize their Crown Prince, there is a likelihood he could instruct Saudi Labour Commissioner to neglect Indian workers’ welfare and minimum wages etc. and Saudi could support Pakistan’s claim over Kashmir in UN resolutions! Don’t you think of prime minister should take pragmatic decisions rather than reactionary decisions according to what is being demanded by social media and Journalist?
- Follow up Q (If you don’t take back invitation): In the past, India has been accused of keeping friendly-relationship with even the military rulers of Myanmar who were accused of gross Human Rights violation. While we can justify it was necessary to keep China at bay, but do you think Gandhi would have approved such diplomacy, if he was alive?
- In Gujarat, an IAS officer was telling an activist that large scale corruption had happened in a state Government’s scheme for tourism Infrastructure development. Someone recorded this conversation and circulated the audio clip on social media. The IAS officer has been suspended for breaking the service conduct rules related to anonymity and criticizing a policy or action of Government. What are your thoughts on this? Isn’t this colonial era service conduct rule an encroachment on the personal freedom of thought and speech of a civil servant in his personal sphere and private capacity?
- In GST, a merchant has to file monthly and quarterly returns otherwise there is penalty. The GST official have already fined many merchants who had not filled the returns. But, then (due to pressure from trader lobby), Government extended the return-filling date to 31st March 2019. So now the merchants who had already paid penalties are demanding refunds! So, as the Commissioner of GST, what will you do?
- (Follow up Q: If you refund their penalties) Don’t you think it will encourage the merchants not to comply with tax-rules believing that tax authorities will also extend the dates and be lenient in future, के बेताज बादशाह है हम तेजपुर के. ई जी.इस.टी. अफसर हमरा कुछ नहीं उखाड़ सकते.
- (Follow up Q: If you don’t refund their penalties) but don’t you think it is an injustice to the merchants who have paid the penalty against the merchants who were so arrogant that they did not file the return, nor paid the penalty!
- What is the controversy surrounding the Bhima Koregaon? If you are the collector, will you give permission for commemoration of such event in your area- If there is a possible danger that it could lead to the clashes between two communities?
- Speaking of State events, first our PM inaugurated the Statue of Unity on Oct 31, 2018, then again he visited it on Dec 31, 2018 to inspect the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat’ parade. Every time there is a visit of PM/CM, it puts enormous burden on the district administration in terms of security and protocol services. As a result, they cannot devote much time on the development activities. As a collector, what will you do?
- Follow up Q: After a bomb blast or Railway accident, usually the district administration will request the big leaders not to visit the place otherwise it leads to more burden on police personnel for VIP security instead of doing the relief operations. On the same logic, shouldn’t there be a restriction on number of State events & Mela, organized in a particular district? (Hint: same danger, first candidate will say we’ve to do the VIP events. And then he’ll say yes we can request them not to come.)
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