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UPSC Interview Preparation

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In addition to being a desirable career option with advantages like a decent package and job stability, the civil service offers a platform for a candidate to serve the country at different levels, work for the welfare of the poor, and contribute to the growth of the country 
UPSC interview is the final step of the examination. The interview round requires careful planning in order to succeed because it differs greatly from the prior two rounds. Although it’s unpredictable and we are unable to foresee the questions that will be asked but I hope my experience will help you to gather some knowledge. Enjoy the Process! 

The questions asked by the board in the personality test/interview may vary, depending on the candidate’s choice of subjects. It is not a question-and-answer test, but it is a discussion session. Remember that the most frequently asked questions will be about current affairs, optional subjects in Mains, job (if any) information, hometown, and other things in the resume.
Be confident and answer clearly and politely, and if you don’t know about any question or event, then don’t answer that question. You can tell the board that you don’t know about this subject (avoid any artificial description).  

Here is the list of some questions that the panelist asked.

Name: Nikhat Khan, Age: 25

Optional: Political Science 

Medium: English

Chair Person

Q1. Please introduce yourself to the board.
Ans: Sir I am Nikhat Khan. I am from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. I have done my schooling in Lucknow itself and completed my Engineering in Electrical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur. My interests are Yoga and painting.

Q2. You have studied at IIT Kharagpur and have an 8.9 CGPA which is phenomenal. Then why do you want to pursue UPSC rather than Electrical Engineering?
Ans: Sir, If we look at the level of governance, then the essential responsibilities of the executive are discharged only through civil servants. Today civil servants have broad scope to work, due to which they are sometimes criticized. However, if this power is used correctly, it can change the country’s condition and direction. These services have always been the subject of priority and prestige among the candidates and the society for providing a better platform of stability, respect, favorable and desired conditions of working, etc. After joining the civil service, I’ll have many opportunities to grow and take the country forward. I’ll be able to contribute to the development of various sectors like agriculture, health, education, and management which is hardly possible in any other public sector. 

Q3. Nikhat, as your name suggests, you belong to a minority community. Please tell us the challenges faced by the women in your community.
Ans: Being a woman presents many social challenges, but being a woman from a marginalized group gives extra obstacles. Their dual identities make it even more difficult for Muslim women to attain an education. According to UNESCO, Muslim women’s literacy rate is just 51%, which is less than the national average of around 62.8%. The Pasmanda Muslims face day-to-day discrimination, which needs to be curtailed. However, the current governments’ mantra- Sabka Sath and Sabka Vikas are leading all communities together in the development process through welfare schemes like Digital India, Ujwala Yojna, Beti Padhao Beti Bachao, and many others. The total recipient of academic scholarships has also increased in recent years.

Q4. You have studied electrical engineering and taken Political Science as your optional. How do you think politics affects the electrical generation transmission distribution in India?
Ans: Sir, first, in the case of power generation, there have been issues where the power purchase agreements have been agreed upon by the previous government but canceled when the next government came to power. So it’s up to the ruling party to honor those agreements. 
Secondly, the positive dimension of politics provides a greater thrust towards enhancing energy security for the people. This, in turn, leads us to increase our installed capacity in terms of electricity generation. Schemes like the Saubhagya scheme provide a free connection to the BPL families. 
The third point is the selection between thermal power and renewable energy. It has to go through the parliament discussion. So this issue will depend on the resolutions passed by the ruling political party at that time.

Member 1 

Q1. Tell us something about comprehensive national power.
Ans: Sir, comprehensive national power refers to a nation’s total economic capacity, like GDP production. It relates to the defense power of the country. Apart from that, the government’s variety of resources, standing in global affairs, and soft power.

Q2: In the contemporary Indian context, maritime domains are essential in strategic neighborhood policy. What is your take on this?
Ans: Yes, sir, today, the maritime neighborhood has become necessary. This is because around 80% of our energy supplies, primarily oil supplies, are imported by the maritime sea routes.

Member 2 

Q1. You said you are interested in Yoga. What is your favorite asana and why?
Ans: I like doing Sun Salutation. It is a set of 12 asanas, which I think provide a very comprehensive set of exercises for the body and help improve immunity. It is believed to positively impact the practitioners’ physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Q2. Does that mean the other asanas are redundant?
Ans: No, sir, Yoga has been as old as the dawn of civilization. Definitely, all the asanas have their kind of benefits, but in my case, I think that the Surya Namaskar is comfortable for my body type.

Q3. What else do you like to do in your free time?
Ans: Sir, besides Yoga and painting, I like to read books.

Q4. Ok, what kind of books do you read? Can you name some books that have impressed you?
Ans: I like to read fiction and non-fiction both. I have been an avid reader of writers like Premchand and Rabindra Nath Tagore. Their children’s stories I have read since I was a kid. At the same time, books like Sapiens, Discovery of India, and Stephen Hawking Black Holes have developed my social and scientific understanding.

Member 3 

Q1. You were talking about electrical generation transmission. In the context of thermal energy, what resources can we use for waste products to generate thermal energy?
Ans: Mam, the first is biomass-related waste. If biomass-related waste is dried off and the moisture component is removed, we can use it in thermal power plants. Another method would be pyrolysis, which is heating municipal garbage at a high temperature and converting it into gasses like carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide. Then they can be burnt, and the energy produced can be used to drive the water turbines and generate electricity.

Q2. Recently, the government has been discussing the dam safety act. Why the specific need to regulate dam safety? What were the earlier provisions under which this regulation could be made?
Ans: I cannot recall right now, but I think the specific need for dam safety arises from the fact that India has the third-largest number of dams, and the number of many large dams that are more than 100 years old is increasing. Thus a proper institutional structure is required so that they do not lead to any catastrophic event in the future.

Member 4

Q1. Nikhat, tell us what you think of the concept of Vishwa Guru about India.
Ans: Sir, the idea of the Vishwa Guru, states that India has been a leading power since times immemorial in providing intellectual leadership to the world at large. Ancient India was home to some of the famous learning centers like Takshashila, Nalanda, and Pushpagiri, which attracted people from across the globe. The excavations of urban settlements and buildings at Harappa and Mohenjodaro have proved that India was ahead of others at that time. We have provided the idea regarding the numerical like zero and functions like decimal. Apart from that, we can see other works of Aryabhatta regarding the solar eclipse, the calculation of the value of pi, etc. Social leaders like Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore have been the lighting guide for humanity.

Q2. In the present times, what are the requirements for the country to become a Vishwa guru?
Ans: So, to become the Vishwa guru, we need to start from the grass-root level. The first has to be strengthening education by developing new education infrastructure in our country. This, in turn, will lead to greater literacy rates in our country. Secondly, as the world advances, we need to invest more in research and development in electrical and other engineering institutions. New technology will boost production. And lastly, we need to strengthen our unity in diversity. Bring more tolerance to society and work towards an ideal nation.

Chair Person

Q1. In your behavior, you are more of an inward-looking person and less of a socially outward-looking team player. How will you adjust to the work environment?
Ans: Sir, Introversion and extroversion are aspects of people’s nature. These traits are hard to change, and both can be used to one’s advantage. As an IAS officer, I’ll have to deal with many different personalities daily. Being an introvert, I’ll be able to talk straight to people and get to the point right away. This will save time, and I’ll be more productive. At the same time, I would like to say one can keep their individual reservations while working as a team. I interact less in general, but I try to put my best out in public while working as a team.

Note: Interviewees should try to keep thinking about some interview questions during the preparation for the preliminary exam and the main exam itself so that gradually he/she gets used to thinking about these questions and eventually do not have to face any formidable problem during the interview. Good Luck!

Last Updated : 12 Jan, 2024
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