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Interview: CSE Date: 14th march 2013 Time: 3.30 to 4.00pm Board: Dr. Y. V.

Reddy Name of candidate: Tripti Bhatt

Prologue: It was a pleasant march day. My interview was scheduled in the second half. We reached the premises well before time but only the aspirants were allowed to enter at about 1pm with guardians outside. I was cool calm and cheerful. I peeped at sheet with the gatekeeper and calculated that my turn would be somewhere third or fourth. We reached reception and submitted mobile phones. We were also given codes and people with same codes had to sit on the same round table in a large hall. Inside the hall people were seated, having water/coffee, reading mags/newspaper, chatting... everyone appeared confused or studious or relaxed or all of the above. Soon our documents were verified by upsc staff. By now we knew our turn but not the board. It was about to be 2pm when someone came to our table and informed the first candidate that it was to begin soon and the board is of Dr. Reddy. Rest of us were chatting, discussing how they dont even allow wristwatches inside, how is the board, each others b/g homestate, sequence of interview etc. My fellow aspirant started reading notes and another picked up newspaper so out of competition i too took my notes to revise ;) but soon lost interest and put it back. Time was flying... people who came back appeared happy and gave good feedback. Soon it was my turn. I was escorted from the hall and seated outside the interview room before the bell rang and i was told by staff to go inside. I wrote this transcript two-three days after interview so its almost identical to actual events and words. Lapses/voids wherever applicable have been duly mentioned.

I: May i come in sir? Voice: Yes CM:Take a seat I: thank you sir. Gud afternoon sir. CM: so..tripti bhatt. Yes sir you are 24 years old (i was like ummmm 23 years nd three odd months but then i realised he is THE chairman and its his first utterance so i replied smiling) yes sir you are a design engineer sir in the mean time i have become an assistant manager. (he carefully nodded) so u have a degree in mechanical engineering. You must be well versed in your engineering fundamentals then. (To this i replied some namby pamby stuff..i did not want to go to mechanical since i had not revised anything other than power plant cycles)

So you want to say that you have forgotten your engg fundamentals? No sir. An engineer can never forget his fundamentals (this i said in a tone almost like a soldier ready for battlefield :P) but its just that i am not very sure whether your questions will resonate with my knowledge base or not ( loose translation: i know i am good enough at engineering but i dont know what fundamentals are you going to ask and i dont want to screw up my interview in the very beginning.. I just used better words) okk (he passes on to next person. Nothing else asked by him.) Next member: Hmm you say that you met President Dr. Kalam. Is it a position of authority or leadership? (he was reading my daf under that coloumn) (with a smile) sir i met him as school headgirl (i completed the sentence he had truncated deliberately.my daf said met president Dr. Kalam as school headgirl) (he started reading my daf quickly in partially audible manner. At every pause i felt geared up for a question since my daf was loaded with many triggers but he kept reading.) you have so many hobbies (i had mentioned composing poems, photography, swimming and singing) how do you find time for so many of them? Sir poems i am writing since childhood... (before i could venture to others he interrupted me) so do you consider yourself a poet? Yes sir have you published any of your works? No sir, i havent yet but i would like them to be published someday. Its said that poetry has degraded in present times.what are your views on contemporary poets and their works (I could not rememebr anyone except kumar vishwas. And he is no lofty figure in poetry at all. I remembered him then arvind kejriwal, india gate, anna hazare, tv coverages then suddenly came back.) sir poetry has seen a shift in modernism and post modernism era and it is a distinct shift from the earlier works and styles but we cannot exactly term it to be a degradation (i made it on the spot. I was lucky he didnt grill me) but isnt poetry loosing its popularity? Sir i have personally observed that people do have a taste in poetry and the youth also enjoys gud poems but there is not enough promotion especially since childhood one should have an exposure... if we talk about this generation then we have an example of kumar vishwas who is now politically mobilizing people on the basis of the popularity base he attained solely due to his poetry. (i used what i knew :P ) what are your views on female poets? Dont you think that there is a gender bias in literary world? Sir women are under represented in this domain and there have been allegations time to time that there are gender biasnesses..differential treatments..glass ceilings for women but this is equally true for other professions as well. Women are under represented in research, in engineering and many other areas (by all this i wanted to pull them out from female poets. That too contemporary. I knew not even one of them. I was giving triggers for him to go into areas where i knew at least few names. There were no visible sign of my ignorance though. i was fluently and confidently elaborating) and in poetry i think at the end of the day its the poem that one relishes rather than the name or gender of the composer. No no. I meant that they dont get that treatment as the male poets and ................. (something more he uttered but i was lost midway. i was looking him speak as if the tv is on mute. i was just nodding. I gave some vague reply which i dont exactly remember. Probably he realised i am not interested in doing research on poetry but composing ;) ) so you are from uttarakhand. Women have traditionally enjoyed a good social status in uttarakhand. I smiled and nodded.

What do you think have been the changes in the recent past in condition of women in uttarakahnd. Sir there have been some visible improvements. Specifically for uttarakhand migration from rural to urban areas was earlier confined to menfolk but now women are increasingly stepping out and moving to urban areas for better education and employment. There is increasing vocational education among females. do you think that women empowerment has taken place in india? (this was one of the best answers i gave. At the end of my answer he was visibly impressed :) though i dont verbatimally remember how did i actually start answering it..writing the broad outlines that i remember right now though the actual answer was more elaborate) sir women empowerment cannot be seen in isolation with the women we are talking of. Is it an urban educated upper class woman or a tribal uneducated or rural poor woman. I have personally seen when i was at rihand that there is a visible divide between the rich and poor, urban and rural women, tribal and non tribal and so on.. and it reflects in the different opportunities and challenges that one faces. The policy frameworks that we have are able to cater to a specific section of women and the benifits dont reach to the entire group as whole. So you want to say that there cannot be a common conclusion for all women. Very good. So what are your views on women reservation bill? Its not passed yet. Dont you think they should also come to parliament and beat up the other members? (the member was cheerful and cordial) (i was like yes! Yes! When he uttered women reservation since i had prepared it thoroughly opinion wise as well as factually but i contained my happiness. However out of happiness i did not directly answer what he asked but started with flaunting what I knew. This could have been avoided.) sir there are contrasting views whther reservation should be passed as a bill or there can be amendments to the representation of people act itself so that parties reserve one third of their tickets for women to contest... another member intervened: yes that is what they are saying i replied politely looking at him : no sir, amendment of representation of people act would mean one third tickets are given but it would not ensure that it actually translates into one third seats in parliament. They.... ( i was saying they may be used as dummy candidates to contest in strongholds of rival parties but in the meantime i was intervened by the member who had originally posed the question) i am talking of one third reservation in parliament....the bill has passed in rajya sabha but not in loksabha. Sir there have been commendable measures for involvement of women in political arena and reservation in PRIs is a welcome step. I think this bill will also be passed sooner or later... But it is not being passed (he intervenes me midway) sir there are interests of people[at stake] who are supposed to pass the bill and i think thats the reason. you talked about PRIs, women have not been able to fare that well in the PRIs inspite of reservation. There is even a term.....(i said yes sir dummy puppet candidate as he continued speaking with or without listening to what i said. It was a different term as i came to know in his words) they call them sarpanchpati (everyone started laughing) sarpanch is a female but the work is handled by the husband to wo sarpanchpati ho gaya. What do you say? Yes sir i agree to this situation that puppet candidates are contesting especially from seats that are traditional strongholds of certain families or dominant castes in a village that have been exercising those roles in the past. But it has led to a higher community involvement of women and this has led to benifits in other areas as well for example women self help groups, in indira awas yojna home is named after women of the family and now they are getting aware of such rights. (sociology came handy for this answer)

Next member you have mentioned swimming as your hobby. what is your highest speed of crossing the pool? (i felt he will now go to olympic times or pool length etc. which i didnt knw so i tried getting out of this probable mess) Sir i do recreational swimming. I am not very fast. (he asked some more factual questions on swimming,types of strokes and a couple of other one liner answer typ stuff which i comfortably answered)

Your first priority is IAS. Why does everybody want to go into IAS? You are already in a good job. You will not get that level of job satisfaction in IAS. Anyways its my personal opinion. (this statement was not exactly in tone of question so i kept quiet, though i could have replied/added my views if i wanted to)

So how do you think can we ensure women empowerment? Sir, i think for women empowerment we need voice. Voice? Yes sir. Women constitute 50% of population but they are not still seen as a vote bank and the crude reality is that in the era of appeasement politics, policy frameworks are made with a view to garner votes and women have been unable to assert themselves as a politically important entity. If they have voice, they can influence policy decisions impacting their lives. They must have voice for a dialogue in development process. The solutions must come from the people themselves. They are the best provider of solutions.. all we need to do is to tailor fit it to our policy framework, Legal framework and financial constraints. Ok i will ask on corruption. Tell me two things. First what is your stand on jan lok pal issue.which version of lokpal bill do you stand with? And second, dont you think CAG is breaching his boundaries? (both of these questions,and even the word corruption, are good enough for at least a 3000word essay. I had 10 tonnes of material in my head but i did nt know where to start with, what to speak and what not. I decided not to talk on corruption at all and hit straight and short to the two topics.) sir with all due respect to civil society, i would say that i agree with the criticisms of the model that they have proposed. Lokpal is not a panacea for all ills. Its a towering structure they have proposed which might crumble under its own weight. Its not in consonance with our constitutional philosophy and ultimately we might end up being disappointed with something which we thought would be removing our disappointments. ( i think it was very general answer i gave. I could have used this question for very crisp and heavily loaded one but i could not) but the version that government is proposing is lame and blind. There is no investigative agency, so less powers.and the main problem is that both sides are adamant for their version. I think a middle ground has to be arrived at. An overtowering lokpal is not desirable just as a lame and blind one is not. Solution lies somewhere in between.... Okk on this we can talk whole day.. tell me about CAG On CAG question, I would say that CAG is not just a post mortem agency but it creates a financial accountability. Even Mr. B.R. Ambedkar called him to be the most important constitutional functionary. He is the watchdog so that .... (probably i was sounding bookish. He intervened.) no i am talking of his influencing policy decisions. Like the 2G auction, it had to be done again and it could not be successful Sir be it auctioning or first come first serve, both models have their own pros and cons.... yes but CAG cannot be telling the government which policy to follow... (i dont remember the exact answer, but i did mention that CAG can suggest prudence in policy matters. Talked on that line) so you are saying that both of them should make the policies? no sir, policy making is the prerogative of the government and CAG has to exercise financial accountability but there are certain grey areas and CAG can always suggest which policy would be more efficient... (something similar, i dont remember) okk leave it on this we can go on.. ( probably i was giving too long answers.. earlier also he said similar thing) Hmm.. Let me ask you on foreign policy. Who do you think is a more trustworthy partner of India...US or Russia? (i suddenly remembered a quote by henry kissinger on why international diplomacy should not have any place for trust) sir i would like to quote henry kissinger..

He intervened. No no. I dont want to listen henry kissinger. Tell me as a citizen of india. Whom would you trust? Sir as a citizen of india i would trust Russia but as a diplomat i would not trust either of them. i will go ahead where my national interest lies. (i answered this very assertively :) ) Suppose you are home secretary of uttarakhand, what will you do for the police reforms. (this question created a black out in my mind. I remembered how my friend had suggested to read police reforms which i did not. And i realised i am pub ad student its a blasphemy if my grid fails at this question. I started buying time) sir uttarakhand? (saying all this i was trying to think what the hell was in police reforms i was just completely blank i dont know why) Yes since police is a state subject so lets suppose uttarakhand. ( inside my head i was like come on stupid how can you be blank at THIS. And outwardly i replied as james bond ;) ) Okkk sir..then you have asked a very easy question...since uttarakhand doesnt have naxalite problem :) So far. (he said in a tone of wisdom) so far so good. (i too replied in tone of wisdom :P) (i replied just spontaneously and the board burst into laughter. I was eased. Unable to recall anything concrete I started with talking whatever vague things came to my mind) sir i will start with betterment of policing in border areas since a lot of smuggling of forest produce takes place and inter state crimes occur with tendencies of blame gaming and even firs are not registered. Then sensitization of police is essential with better training. Some heinous crimes and sexual assault cases are not properly handled by police. Community policing needs also needs a focus. We have tendencies of top down approach (suddenly mid way all police reforms flashed in my mind..i cud now sprinkle some good words) so we can talk of national security commision, of state security commission, we can talk of less political interferences in postings and transfers but ultimately it has to be a bottom up approach. We must understand that its not a police force but police service. Next member: So you are from pantnagar university. What has your university done for the agriculture in uttarakhand? Sir our university has done for agriculture of entire nation. It was the harbinger of green revolution. No no. I mean the agricultural output of hilly areas is very low. What has your university done for it Yes sir. The geographical terrain of hills is not very conducive for high agricultural outputs. (he intervenes) what hilly area? Do you know about himachal? (i did not but i could guess by his reaction :P ) Yes sir himachal has a very impressive agricultural output as compared to uttarakhand. Yes. It has a very high performance and it has the same geography same terrain. Pantnagar has done nothing for hills. (he appeared annoyed) No sir its not so. We are working on new varities of seeds, post harvest processing, organic farming... he was again apparantly annoyed but it is for everyone. What is there for the hills? Sir organic farming... (i was diffused by this time, replied organic farming in low volume. He was stuck at hills and pantnagar university and i had nothing to impress him. Thankfully he intervened again and asked another question) ok leave it. If you are IAS in uttarakhand cadre, what will you do for better utilisation of natural resources? Sir i will go for a better implementation of the forest rights of scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers so that forests are better utilised and we can check the smuggling of timber by community involvement... (he did not listen to my full sentence and intervened so i mumbled the last part which probably wasnt audible)

No no tell me how will you generate revenue. (now i was in combat mode. I was not doing well at all with this member so i had to do something really good) sir, the hydroelectric power potential of uttarakhand is 22000MW but so far we have been able to tap a mere 3100MW. My first focus would be on power generation and trade. (this data was on my tips) Ok. Second sir revenue can be genrated by utlising the mineral resources of uttarakahnd but it is a doubtful proposition since it would harm the ecology. What minerals? What minerals do you have there? Sir almora has rich reserves of magnesite and in various parts of uttarakahand we find limestone, copper, tungsten apart from magnesite. Though it has high environmental cost. (almora is my hometown so i knew that fr sure) Hmm. There is no industrial development in uttarakhand. No sir, it is not so. There are two special economic zones and state industrial development corporation is doing commendable job... he itervened but it is only state level no sir many good companies are coming to uttrakahnd what companies do you have there? Sir in automobile sector we have companies like tata, maruti,ashok leyland.... (he again intervened i could not give a good answer to something i knew really well and with good factual backing. ) what is the status of tea plantation in uttarakhand? Sir there are tea estates in kausani near almora and.... (He intervened again. In retrospect i was impressed with the knowledge of the board. They were asking all minute and relevant questions..not many people are aware of tea plantations of uttarkhand..) what tea do they produce there? They are running into losses. They dont want to grow tea government is not allowing them to switch. They want to build resorts and hotels. No sir,the quality of the tea is very good but there is not enough marketing.... (he intervenes as usual... i was barely able to complete any sentence with this member but wasnt nervous) is it good like darjiling tea? I dont think so... north east and uttarakahnd lie at same lattitude but look at darjiling tea and look at kausani. Sir tea cultivation is very sensitive to weather fluctuations, soil quality and farm inputs. Even the flavour changes with soils. We have limited resources and poor marketing facilities.... he intervenes again it is no comaprison to darjiling tea sir darjiling has a geographical indicator, it has resources and revenues to invest in again..... (he again intervenes and my last few words are again lost after gegraphical indicator.) but uttarakhand is lagging behind, its very behind than where it should have been (at this point probably other members had a pity on me :P I was being intervened/opposed in every answer. Sarpanchapati wale sir tried to mellow down this member....sir it is a young state.. it will catch up)

Next Member: tell me about jawaharlal nehru urban renewal mission (i could remember only those low floor red green buses with jnnurm and little else about the mission itself but i didnt say sorry :P ) sir i am not very sure about the exact details but broadly it deals with transport, slums, migration, better urban infrastructure etc.

so you are from NTPC. You must have heard about the project at lahori nagpala. (it was a hydro project near uttarkashi which had to be scraped off. I was relaxed and releived as he asked question on my comfortable and strong territory) why did you abandon the project? It is not a good thing to do. Ntpc should not have abandoned it. What do you think? Sir NTPC never wanted to scrape off the project in fact we had a loss of 400 crore rupees in that venture but there were objections from environmental activists. All infrastructural projects, especially hydro power, have long gestation periods and if there are delays it increases the project cost exponentially. We have to face various delays due to clearances then protests and political pressures came into play so it would not have been economically viable in the long run. But why do you need to go to hydro? Along with NTPC there are projects of NHPC and THDC already going on in uttarakhand. They are dedicatedly in hydro. Whats the need of NTPC then? Sir its not a one time measure but a business philosophy. We are undergoing diversification not only to hydro but to wind, to solar, to geothermal, there is recently a site identified in jharkhand for that. As an integrated power major we are going into power trading as well. We are taking technological enhancements, like supercritical technology, to reduce greenhouse gases and our carbon footprint. There are stricter norms now,carbon credit and all.. so we are expanding to renewables. And our coal reserves are limited so one cannot remain in perpetual existence with a limited resource as the backbone. How do you ensure that coal theft doesnt occur on way sir we have MGR trains that transport coal.. so an engineer is seated at the front coach and one engineer at the end. (at this they started smiling/laughing. I could not understand why. I continued speaking) and they are accompanied by CISF people also. ( later i realised probably they were smiling coz my answer sounded as if engineers are the protector and cisf formality ;) ) Another member intervenes do you import coal? Yes sir but its only for blending purpose since indian coal is.... Blending is ok. From where do you import? Sir we import from indonesia and australia. Our annual requirement is of 160 million metric tonne coal out of which we import about 16-17 mmt which roughly translates into 10% of our requirement. (answering this question i was just looking at the member who asked it and probably it appeared that i can talk for another one hour on coal import. He gave me a hint to look at the member whos turn it was :P i sensed it, stopped the answer and started looking at the person who was asking originally) we have very limited reserves of coal. so what is the situation of your coal stocks? Sir i will give you a very practical example. We have a plant at dadri. There are supposed to be eight trains of coal everyday and if two of them are reduced our plant plf drops. GM starts running here and there. (yes i said exactly this.. after displaying good choice of words throughout the interview this was the phrase i used for our gm :P ) This is the scene at NCR plant. Earlier we used to have stockpiles of 20 to 25 days in huge stackyards but now there are lot of supply constraints. Chairman: okk you may go. (I was expecting few more questions on NTPC but it ended suddenly. I said thank you. While going back members smiled. One of them said good. I smiled and went)

SWOT Analysis Strength Weakness First Attempt, Working Professional, Good communication skills Little/no revision of grad subject and optionals, talking too much i.e. long replies where short would do Strong territory of analytical questions, social issues , power sector etc. If board would dig too deep on DAF related qsns since it was heavily loaded with keywords and I was short on preparation time

Opportunity Threat

Final Marks Obtained: 221 out of 300 Rank: 165 Remarks for future aspirants: Interview process was very coordial and more of a discussion with intellectual audience rather than a question answer session. One should be calm confident and try to answer relevantly without trying to bluff the board or appearing too polished and ready with crammed answers. Be honest, be yourself and dont give too cliched answers. More than the knowledge they are jusdging your mental traits, way of analysis and how do you come across as a prospective administrative officer. Dont be too aggressive nor appear spineless. Take positions in questions where do you think its essential and can be justified but more or less a balanced approach should be followed. Be cheerful and confident, have faith in yourself and on almighty. All will go well. Do not get bogged down by negative remarks during mock interviews as real siutuation would be much different than ANY of the mocks you are appearing for. Take the remarks in positive light and work on them. Also dont be too swayed away by good performances at mock. Its just for exploring your weak areas and should not be taken too close to heart. Your marks would depend on those fateful thirty minutes at upsc :) Best of luck.