Interviews of IFS Officers-I

ROLL NO. 001732

My interview was on 26th February 2013 in the morning session. I got IMG Khan Board. There were five members including chairman. I was the second candidate in a queue to be interviewed.
Me: May I come in sir?
Chairman: yes, yes please come.
Me: Good morning sir (to chairman) and good morning (four times to rest of members).
(There was a silence for a few seconds…)
Me: May I sit sir?
Chairman: please take your seat.
(They were going through my resume …) suddenly …
Chairman: you are an IIT product…
Me: yes sir! (I said confidently)Chairman: your name is Pradeep Mishra … by the way, what is meaning of “pradeep”?
Me (with pleasant smile): sir, pradeep means “someone who enlightens others”.
Chairman: your name carries big responsibility on you… do you understand ?
Me: yes sir.
Chair man: you did Metallurgical Engineering and then you move to IT sector? I think India does need good Metallurgists. Then why did you move to IT sector?
Me: sir, during my college, apart from Metallurgy I had interest in software programming also. As per my college campus placement rule—once you get a job, you can’t sit for another job until rest of students are placed. Then the second job placement would start. In the beginning all big IT companies such as TCS, IBM, and INFY etc. come and they are also bulk recruiters. I tried for IBM that was the first company in the row and I got through.
Chairman: IBM is a big name as all of us know. Did you join IBM for its name?
Me. No sir, it’s primarily because of my interest in software programming.
Chairman: Currently you are working in some other company. Why did you leave IBM?
Me: Sir, I left IBM for my preparation. I took a break of approximately two and half years. Sir, due to this break in career, I had to again start with small IT Company. Also, I was not getting good opportunity in big companies.
Chairman: So, what are your current role and responsibility and nature of work?
Me: My role is technical lead and my designation is Senior Software Engineer. I am leading a small project of four people. My project name is SIS. My project based on Legacy Migration Application. Basically, I am working on Mainframe Platform.
Chairman: how do you think that your background—metallurgy and IT is going to help in forest conservation?
Me: Sir, I would like to start with IT… the most visible impact the IT has created is that it have made the World paperless and it is still in the process..on technical front, IT based application such as GIS is immensely helping in planning and policy making that in turn helping in forest conservation. Further… (Chairman intervened)
Chairman : what is GIS?
Me: GIS stands for Geographical Information System. It is an integration of software, hardware and database. It works as an inventory management and resource management tool in which we feed various input information and get customized output.
Chairman: what are inputs you provide?
Me: Inputs such as types of forest, soil, biomass weight and volume etc. (I stopped)
Chairman: no… continue … tell me some more inputs…
Me: climatic information such as temperature and humidity …
(Chairman was smiling… I was not sure whether he was convinces or not)
Chairman: have you heard the name of forest survey of India?
Me: yes sir.
Chairman: where is it’s headquarter located?
( I knew it is in Dehradoon but I was little confused with Kolkata I was thinking… then suddenly …)
Chairman: where is your forest training institute located?
Me: sir, it is in Dehradoon!
Chairman: yes!
(Then, chairman passed it to the next member)
M1: you are a metallurgist, can you name any Aluminum plant ?
Me: it is Hindalco located at Renukoot in UP.
M1 : who owns Hindalco?
Me : I don’t know sir.
M1: form which material you obtain aluminum?
Me: pardon sir, could you repeat your question? (Since, his voice was not audible)
M1 : form which ore, you obtain aluminum?
Me : sir, it is bauxite.
M1 : yes.
M1: what are byproducts of aluninium ore processing?
Me : sir, I have forgotten.
M1: have you heard the name of Red Mud ?
Me: I must have read about it but it’s now tough to recall.
M1: are you working on GIS?
Me : no sir, I am working in mainframe technology.
M1: okay…you talked about GIS, from where you get those inputs which you said you feed in GIS?
Me : data collected from Remote Sensing and Ground based survey.
M1: what is remote sensing?
Me: remote sensing is a technique through which various relevant data are obtained without being in actual physical touch.
M1: do you know some more detail about Remote Sensing?
Me: no sir I just know the basics.
(He is done. He passed to another member M2)
(I pointed myself to M2. I could easily see that he was going through my summary sheet underlining with a pen in his right hand)
M2: Your hobby is “watching documentary movie on Nature and Ecology”
Me: yes sir.
M2: how long have you been following this hobby?
Me: for last six to seven months…
M2: is it that you kept the hobby keeping IFS in back of your mind?
Me: yes sir (I admitted it confidently)… I thought I was preparing for such a coveted IFS exam so I should know some basics about nature, ecology, wildlife etc. I should have some genuine inclination towards it…once I went deep into it I started enjoying it. Now, I can call it as my full-fledged hobby.
M2: which documentry movie did you watch recently?
Me: I watched “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore…
M2: that’s fine… did you watch some movie on wildlife also?
Me: yes, I watched documentaries on Olive Redly turtle, crocodile…
M2: where is olive redly turtles found in India?
Me: Gahirmata in Odissa and rest of easter coastal plane and in kerala and up to goa in western coastal plane.
(Members were silent for a few seconds…)
Me: if honorable board allows me then I would like to share a small activity related to conservation of Olive Redly turtle… in which I took part…
Chairman: please go ahead…
Me: when I was in fourth year of engineering in Chennai, I participated in an activity call TURTLE WALK organized by local environmentalist group. In which, we are suppose to go to nearby beach in night. I got opportunity to actually see how turtles were coming and laying eggs. We collected those eggs and put it in the hatched region for its safety. After fifty five days, we took out the small hatchlings and drop it into ocean. This was the first time when I felt connected to nature. It was a very unique experience and very satisfying too.
M2: okay Pradeep…it is really good to know all this. Board would like to know that what inspires you for all this.
(It was a tough question. I didn’t have any good answer. I was about to blank. I closed my eyes so that I could think of some good answer. First time during my interview I felt little pressure. I opened my eyes I saw all five people were looking at me in hope of some good answers. Then I started …)
Me: in whole universe, the most beautiful thing which I see is life. Life is beautiful. And it is worth living…all forms of life are deeply intertwined with each other into a highly interrelated and highly complex integrated matrix. And when I see how we humans are disrupting and degrading our ecosystem, wildlife habitats, and that in a long run threatening our own existence. Then I feel hurt. And I really want to do something for it…
M2: This the only reason for which you want to join IFS?
Me: no sir, this is my philosophical theme, I want to join IFS because primarily because of my interest in forest conservation, the challenging career it provides, the diversity of opportunity present in this job and most importantly rare opportunity to work with diverse kind of people belonging to different backgrounds. I know sir, this is something that IFS offers me.
But there are many things that I think I can contribute. Through my corporate experience, I came to know that I firmly believe in team work, I am person who can create a positive, motivating and encouraging environment for my team to pursue a collective purpose and at the end of day, I can ensure all of us in my team can share a sense of ownership with a kind of work we are doing.
M2: that’s nice pradeep … do you read some book also … I mean you must be reading books related to your field (IT) do read books apart from that also.
Me: recently, I have read a famous book named “MAN EATERS OF KUMAON”.
M2: who is author of this book?
Me: sir, Jim Corbett
M2: who was jim Corbett?
Me: he was a hunter who used to hunt man eaters tigers and leopards in KUMAON region. Later on, by seeing plight of tigers, he became tiger conservationist.
M2: for what else jim Corbett is also known for?
Me: jim Corbett is India’s first national park
M2: where is it located?
Me: it is located in nainital district in uttrakhand.
M2: have you ever visited jim Corbett?
Me : no sir … once I tried to go there with my friends … while reaching near Rampur (UP), we came to know that road condition is really bad so we diverted towards nainital hill station. But sir I have visited sariska national park.
M2: pradeep do play some games also?
Me: sir during college days, I used to play cricket, but now I don’t get enough time as my job is very demanding. But I manage regular jogging.
M2: jogging for reducing your weight?
Me: sir, reduction of weight is one small aspect of jogging. Jogging is more than that. It is a cardiovascular exercise. It ensures over all fitness. Sir I enjoy jogging and in fact I am so fond of it that I would like to pursue it for my rest of life.
M2: yes .. I see … you have mentioned it into your summary sheet also..
Me: yes sir.
M2: what are other wildlife documentary movies you have watched?
Me: I have also watched movie on tiger, lion, elephant …
(He didn’t say anything he passed it to M3)
M3: suppose you are a forest officer, there is a forest fire in the forest. You have plants, animals and humans. You have to save only one among them. Whom you will save and why?
Me: I will save human life.
M3: why?
Me: sir, forest fire is a common occurrence throughout the world. In which plants destroys and periodically regenerates, animals run away from the forest when they sense there is a forest fire and even if they are killed, still they can be regenerated with concerted effort through conservation program as we are doing in case of tiger. But sir human life is the most precious once lost they cannot be regenerated. So I will save human life at every cost.
M3: given an option between tribal people and animals, which you will save?
Me : sir… tribal people
M3: consider a situation, there is flood in forest, there is cave in cliffs at some height where naxals are conducting their meetings if naxals are not there, then animals can go there and take shelter. Now as a forest officer, what will you do ?
Me: sorry sir, this scenario is not clear to me.
M3: give your opinion based on whatever you have understood.
Me: I am really sorry sir. It’s really tough for me express any opinion when I have not understood the whole scenario properly.
M3: okay no problem, next question, suppose you are a metallurgist, in the forest two projects are being proposed that is mining and dam building. Which one you will choose?
(again scenario is not clear to me, but this time I am forced to say something as I thought not taking stand may cause dishonor to M3 member)
Me: sir mining.
M3: why?
Me: as a metallurgist I know the criticality of metallurgical engineering for ore requirement. Further, ore mining can be done in phase wise manner as per recent directives of moef. Such phase wise approach could actually cause least impact to forest.
M3: don’t you think dam building can have more impact on forest?
Me: yes sir, you are right dam building indeed, can cause more impact on forest. But sir please appreciates my point that I was thinking from metallurgist point of view.
M3: don’t you think metallurgists are environment sensitive people?
(I really could not understand what M3 sir was talking about)
(Before I could answer chairman intervened into it)
Chairman: please forget about metallurgist, consider you as forest officer, now between mining and dam building which project will concern you more?
Me: sir dam project.
Chairman: why?
Because a dam project causes huge submergence of a very large area that in turn causes immense loss of flora and fauna and other form of biodiversity, habitat loss, and very high impact on environment and ecology as a whole.
Chairman (with pleasant smile): yes pradeep … we wanted to listen this from you.
(M3 passed it to M4)
M4: pradeep I won’t ask you many questions from you. You said something called motivating environment. What do you understand by motivation?
Me: theoretically, I have read motivation from Maslow and Herzberg theory. But sir I would like to share my understanding of motivation through my day to day experience in my current job as a team lead in IT company.
It’s all about finding dreams and aspiration among people and relating it to a definite purpose and making them realize that once they achieved it they will be fulfilled and satisfied. This realization drives them to achieve their purpose. I call this driving force as motivation.
M4: okay… you said lead … who is leader … I mean …pradeep what are characteristics of a leader?
Me: sir, leader is a person who has good communication skills, good interpersonal skills, should be person of high integrity, should have high moral character, who knows the basic values of society and most importantly, people who are being led should be able to identify themselves with the personality of leader.
M4: you are a jogger you must know Fauza Singh?
Me: yes Sir, he is the oldest person in the planet who having completed marathon at the age of 101. He announced his retirement recently. That is why he was in news.
M4: he conveyed some message to us. What is that message?
Me: sir, I saw an article on him in the newspaper just two days back. I just had a cursory look on that. Sorry sir, I can’t tell you the exact message but I can share the theme of his message.
M4 : please go ahead …
Me: according to him if a person maintains proper diet, regular exercise, mange his stress level and has ‘will’ to live long he may also lead a fit 100 years life.
(Chairman intervened suddenly)
Chairman: pradeep don’t you think that fauza singh is genetically superior?
Me: sir, I don’t think so.
Chairman: then what you believe in …?
Me : I believe if a person maintains a good dietary habit, regular exercise, good stress level, simplified outlook of life and above all if there is god grace then he can also live 100 years of fit life.
M4: what is so special about jogging?
Me : in my opinion, jogging is the most convenient and the most inexpensive form of exercise which an average person can do. Especially, country like India, where people having different kind of cardiac problems, paying heavily on their medical expenses. For them, jogging is some sort of panacea.
Chairman: you said IT is making the world paperless. Don’t you think that with the uses of various IT gadgets such as printers we are taking more and more printouts?
(I had enough points to refute his concerns. But before I could say any thing …)
Chairman: please don’t take it otherwise pradeep, it was just my concern, I think pradeep, probably you are correct.
Chairman: have you heard that recently, ministry has given directives regarding some projects … where we are not consulting gram panchyat…
(Luckily I knew this issue and out of excitement I said)
Me: Sir, I think you are talking about Linear Projects?
Chairman (with a great smile): yes yes yes … pradeep I am talking about the linear projects only… so pradeep, what is your opinion?
Me : we are leaving in democratic country and democratic set up. It is always desirable that we should get wider opinion on any issue. In a democracy, the process of consensus building becomes really tough and delayed on some issues that involve large number of stake holders. Linear projects such as electric wires, roads railway track passes through several villages. So process of consensus building becomes cumbersome. But at the same time, we can’t wait for development. Because, development is linked with lives of more than billion of people in our country.
In this situation, I think if some public utility projects which can provide immediate benefit to people, and have limited repercussions then the consultation process can be skipped for some time. Thus, I support ministry decision in this regard.
Chairman: don’t you think that we should take opinion of people?
Me: sir, it is always desirable to take opinion of people. Because they are better aware of local problems. Their opinion can serve as a valuable input for the policy making and planning.
Chairman (with a pleasant smile): Pradeep Your interview is over. You may go now.
Me: thank you sir (to chairman and also to everyone one by one)


11 thoughts on “Interviews of IFS Officers-I

  1. sir ,
    i have partial color vision i.e. cp-iii g low grade color vsion …am i eligible for IFS please do reply sir.. as it is mentioned in appendix iii that for IAS and IFS low grade is ok and only for IPS hish grade color vision is required ..
    please do reply
    wid regards


  2. u had given interview for indian forest services but I want to became an indian foreign services officer but I really fell good after reading this interview n I must say u have lot of knowledge … thanx for sharing this


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