Interviewed by UPSC

Today is 13th April 2007..two days have gone after the day when I was interviewed by UPSC for Civil Sevices Examination. My watch was showing 4:30 pm and my heart was beating fast in the body which was doing kumbhak, rechak and poorak while sitting on the chair placed outside Ms. Parveen Talha’s office. Suddenly the bell rang and peon told me to go inside. I went in, with a smiling( albeit nervous) face.  I saw Ms Talha and said..good evening ma’m ..and thereafter..good evening sirs..

CW: Please take your seat .

S: Thank you ma’m ( after sitting)

CW: So, you are Mr.Sudhanshu Shekhar, a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Kanpur.

S: Yes Ma’m

CW: Mr. Sudhanshu, tell me what’s the difference between power and authority.

S: Ma’m, if the power is having legitimacy that is, if power is given by law then it is authority.

CW: As a civil servant, what will you have, power or authority?

S: It’s authority ma’m.

CW: Authority for what?

S: For serving the nation ma’m.

CW: But for serving the nation, do we need authority.(with a strict face)

S: Ma’m, authority to implement the policies of govt.

CW: Yes ..please continue M1.

M1: I will continue from this question. Tell me in case of delegation, what do you delegate, authority or responsibility or both?

S: Sir, we delegate the responsibility alongwith adequate authority to carry out that responsibility.

M1: So, we delegate responsibility.

S: Sir, we delgate both.

M1: Okay, tell me why is there a concern that the way govt is handling the inflation problem is going to come in way of economic growth?

S: Sir, RBI is mopping up liquidity from the market in order to address the problem of inflation. Now, in order to do investment, money is needed which will be less now and thus it will suffer. As investment is directly related to economic growth, it is going to hamper e.g.

M1: How to fight inflation?

S: There are three methods sir, on monetary front, fiscal front and supply front.

M1: Is govt. going on right track?

S: Yes sir, govt is exercising all the three options.However there is a need of greater emphasis on supply front by structurally changing the agriculture and supply side.

M2: You have a hobbey of reading Hindi novels?

S: Yes sir.

M2: Who is your favourite novelist?

S: Sir, it is very difficult for me to single out one particular novelist….

M2(interrupts.): must be liking somebody most.

S: Sir, I like Premchand and Renu most.

M2:Why, since Renu is from your place(it is Purnea in Bihar), you like him.

S: No sir, it is because of his ability to depict the reality in a holistic manner that I like him more.

M2: Which novel of Renu?

S:Sir, it is Maila Aanchal.

M2:Why not Parti Parikatha?

S: Sir, it is another very good novel..However, in this a story is written in a unidimensional manner whereas Maila Aanchal is holistic.

M2: Which one of Premchand?

S: Sir, it is Sevasadan.

M3: Sudhanshu, have you worked in engineering field?

S: Yes sir, I have worked in Tata Motors for 3 months.

M3: Do you like to go in IT?

S:Sir, I have limited interest in IT and that’s why I want to confine myself to Mechanical Engg.

M3: People from all branches of engg are going to software you like it?

S: Sir, as India is set to become a knowledge superpower, we do need professionals in IT and if the modern India is to prosper, it needs to be done.

M3: But won’t the core braches suffer?

S: Sir, if there will be a demand for core engineers then market will have a pull for them. So, market will automatically adjust this demand and supply dynamics of engineers.

M3: Is this trend good?

S: It is desirable presently and in long run , it will be balanced automatically.

M3: Mr. Sudhanshu, why is it that family ties are breaking so easily nowadays..divorce rate is it because of development..

S: Sir, it is one of the reasons. However, there are many more factors, for e.g. growth of nuclear family, urbanisation( other factors I don’t remember now) etc. are leading to this. But, as far as divorce is concerned, the reasons are different.

M3: What are they?

S: Sir, the lack of significant deliberations before marriage and lack of incorporation of needs and aspirations of spouse are the chief reasons apart from non-existence of counselling institutions.

M3: Why this is so?

S: Sir, I wouldn’t like to blame one single factor responsible but a number of factors..for e.g. urbanisation, nuclear families etc.

M4:Mr. Sudhanshu, you are from Bihar. If you are made CM of Bihar what three steps you will take, prioritize.

S: Sir, it is-  

  1. Law and order problem.
  2. Development in agriculture.
  3. Infrastructure development for improving investment climate

There are other steps also…

M4: what is 4th step?

S: Sir, it is investment in health and edu and 5th one is elimination of caste based discrimination and fighting naxalism.

M4:How will you improve law and order situation?

S:Sir, as the data suggests, in Bihar, out of 1600 persons there is one police pesonnel whereas in India on average it is 800. So, improving the number of police personnel and infrastructure of police is one..apart from that there are allegatins of criminalization of pol….

M2: So, you don’t believe that criminalization of politics is there.

S: Sir, I do agree that this is there apart from patronization of criminals by politicians. But there is a need to emphasise on policing front.

M2:Why this crimalization is there?

S: Sir, because of lack of bottom up pressure.

M2: Is Nitish Kumar following your prescriptions?(!!!!!)

S:Sir, as we know that Bihar has become the first state to implement police reforms and he is taking other significant measures, I do feel that Nitish Kumar’s govt is on right track. ( He nodds).

M4:You said that you will fight caste

S: May I beg your pardon sir, I said elimination of caste based discrimination..

M4: Yes,yes ..I mean that only.

S: Sir, in the developmental process, some castes are left behind and they then attribute their lack of development to their caste. So, unless and until, the developmental process is made broad based and inclusive of all castes, the caste based discrimination is going to persist. So, if we want to eliminate this discrimination, we will have to incorporate all castes in the developmental process.

M4:If you have to sell Bihar, i.e. if you have to projrct Bihar, what will you project?

S: Sir,

  1. Culture of Bihar
  2. Agricultural potential of Bihar
  3. Human resources of Bihar

M4:Why, won’t you project Nalanda, Patliputra, Rajgir etc…religious tourism.(laughs), you don’t know your strenghts.

S: May I beg your pardon sir, I said culture which is an all inclusive term.

M4: Yes, but that includes Bhojpuri songs as well..(diverts the topic)

S: Sir, may I add that Bihar observes kind of festivals which every person of India must see.

M4: Which festival?

S: Chhath pooja sir.

M4: What is Chhath pooja?

S: It is a festival observed twice a year where the devotees pay obesciences to Sun.

M4: Lord Sun?

S: Yes sir. And although Bihar is criticised to practise worst form of casteism, there are great unifiers like Chhath pooja in which people from all caste practise this and there are instances that people from other religion practise this.

M2: Mumbai also observes this, thanks to Sanjay Nirupam(smiles)

S: Sir, may I also point out that it is also practised in Mauritius and Surinam.

M4:Yes,yes..wherever Biharis are there, they practise it.(Ms. Talha is smiling with surprise).

M4: Okay Mr. Sudhanshu, your interview is over.

S: Thank you sirs(getting up and sliding the chair), thank you Ma’m.

Here I started walking and when I came out, saw the was 4:50 pm…

That’s all ladies and gentlemen…


46 thoughts on “Interviewed by UPSC”

  1. On a second thought, There is nothing special to be seen from your side. Those specials may irk or impress the interviewer. So you gone on for middle path, so I hope that middle is within the IAS boundary.

    One special I can think:-
    Why divorce rates are increasing ?
    :— One of the main reason is stress upon freedom of desire and rights instead of stress of duties to society and family. Other reasons are increasing this trend.


  2. I had my interview in the board of Ms Tahla on 4/4/07. I will post that shortly.

    Your interview seems GREAT… seem to have conducted yourself with great poise.

    however there is one point…. since my subject was public administration, i can point out to you that in case of delegation, while the authority is transferred, responsibility is NEVER transferred. It is held as a fundamental axiom in administration that the responsibility always remain with the delegator(superior). Otherwise, the consequences will be shunning of responsibility resulting in lack of accountability. That is why, I think, the member pressed “So, we delegate responsibility?”

    apart from this, it went very well.


  3. Hi Mr.Shekhar,

    That was a nice interview.

    I did Mech Engg and worked for 3 years in IT industry. Im now preparing for Civl Services. I would like to know the books required to brush up basic concepts of Mech Engg for the interview. I sort of forgot all the Engg concepts done in college. Could you please guide me as to how I should go about it?


  4. IC Engine- Ganesan
    Industrial Management-Ravishankar

    And basic concepts which every Mech engg should know–internet.
    Don’t go deep into all these things. Basic understanding is what they want.


  5. Hello Sir,

    I was much intersted to read out the interview not only that I too am an aspirant for civil sevices but I heard Ms. Parveen talha in one of the Get-together function, I was very impressed by her speech.

    So where are you posted now a days Sir & how do you feel?




  6. Congrats sir!
    i have written mains 2009…
    was just going through the kind of questions being put in interview. i want to ask if my economics is very weak what shall i do when question related to economics are being asked?

    i hope for your reply and guidance.

    thank you and all the best for all the events of life 🙂
    with regards
    priyanka dixit


  7. From ur interview it is very much evident that one needs to have sound knowledge of himself and About the Current affairs. Can u advise me how to prepare for Current affaair for Civil Service Examination and also how to answer the questions like the one ifference between authority and Power as these questions can answered only by presence of mind. Can u also share how u used to study i mean ur daily routine. Thanks


  8. @ Sudhanshu

    Sorry for late reply. Was immensely busy in charge handing and taking over. Now have got a little breathing time.

    Current affairs can be prepared by:
    Vajiram’s notes
    Times of India editorial
    Frontline social issues and legal analysis
    World Focus magazine
    Pratiyogita Darpan

    Times of India editorial gives a balanced view. Read that daily.

    Questions like authority and power are pub ad questions. I did not know then. But, once you have read well, you can manufacture sound reasoned answers. Interviewers will appreciate.

    My daily routine was study, sleep,eat and walk. Sleep for 9 hours :), walk for around one hour and rest of the time only study.

    Best wishes.


  9. hello sir…

    may i know where did u got the posting..
    well best wishes..

    and i asked u whether u appeared for interview as i thought that perhaps u may have given exam again. Actually i was not much aware abt the terms and conditions of the job and whether one can appear while in exam…
    so bas aise hi puch liya..
    aapko ajeeb laga so i m really sorry..


  10. 33.

    may i know where did u got the posting..
    well best wishes..

    and i asked u whether u appeared for interview as i thought that perhaps u may have given exam again. Actually i was not much aware abt the terms and conditions of the job and whether one can appear while in JOB(by mistake i wrote exam in place of job in above msg)
    so sorry….
    so bas aise hi puch liya..
    aapko ajeeb laga so i m really sorry..


  11. Dear Sudhanshu Sir

    I am very keen on opting for Anthropology as an optional for IAS exam, but I haven’t been able to find a reliable source of guidance for the same. Also, there do not seem to be any good coaching centers in Delhi for the subject.

    Could you direct me to some person who can guide me in this subject? I am sure some of your batch-mates must have had taken this as an optional.

    Thanks for your help!

    Sincere regards


  12. dear sir
    iam agriculture graduate with PG in Rural devp from NIRD.
    iam working in bank and aspiring to become IFS officer and i hav appeared for ifs 2010 exam i request you to suggest APPROPRIATE TIME for preperation

    awaiting for your response


  13. @ king alijah

    beta i like your zeal..
    maintain it..
    u r in 9th class..

    by IFO if u mean Indan Forest services
    so after ur 10th exam you have to opt for science stream and i would suggest k tum bio opt karo..
    this would help you while you will prepare exclusively for Indian forest services..

    If By IFO you mean indian foreign services you can choose any of the stream after ur 10th as per your interest in subjects..

    For both forest and foreign what you need to do from now is just read news papers and study your NCERT text books from 6th to10th class..

    you can take help of internet in strengthning ur general knowledge..

    good luck beta….

    i m sorry i responded to ur querry in sudhanshu sir,s profile..

    i am also an aspirant
    so hope you would not mind..


  14. Pingback: a
  15. HI, my name is Adam I searched internet sevices , and found your page- Interviewed by UPSC | Sudhanshu Shekhar…..,Useful info. Lucky me I found your web site accidentally, and I am stunned why this twist of fate did not took place in advance!


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