[UPSC Interview 2020] – Transcript #114 : Sujata Mehta Ma’am Board, West Bengal Home State, Botany Optional

Date of Interview: 02.09.2021
Board: Sujata Mehta Ma’am
Education: BSc honors and MSc in Botany: Ph.D. (thesis submitted in August) from CSIR lab
Optional: Botany
Home state: West Bengal

3rd attempt, 1st interview With Mask on all the time. Not even asked to remove it to verify it.


  1. Introduce Yourself.
  2. You are going to be a doctorate very soon. After working so long in super specialised field do you think you will like the work of very generalist IAS?
  3. Do research scholars get the respect they deserve in society?
  4. Young IAS or IPS officers get better respect or not? Have you ever interacted? (Mentioned Bharat darshan trainee visits to our lab here)
  5. How are they? Were they arrogant or willing to interact?
  6. Should we continue research on gm crops?
  7. Why we are not accepting it? Why USA accepted but UK don’t?
  8. Will there be any ill effect of gm?
  9. As a botanist, will you be in favour of promoting gm crops?
  10. What you do as popular science communicator? (Hobby)

Member 1

  1. After Covid, do you think we need more trees for immunity boost or pure air? Are we doing enough?
  2. What else can we do to increase tree cover in metro cities?
  3. Long talk on Iraq, Syria, Libia. They are building extremely good infrastructures eg. flyover even better than Delhi. Despite having autocratic ruler. Why?
  4. Don’t you think law and order could be better maintained by autocratic govt?
  5. How many districts are there in India?
  6. As a DM of any of these districts after few years, what will you do to improve state of affairs?
  7. What are SDGs?
  8. Do you think India can achieve the SDG goals as promised?

Member 2

  1. Why is the development of WB is Kolkata Centric? Why places like Coachbehar and Jalpaiguri are getting ignored?
  2. It’s not about infra only, do you have enough educational institutions there? (Mentioned 2 recently opened univ there)
  3. Why WB doesn’t want to share Teesta water? Why is the river so important?
  4. Do you think we took advantage of Farakka treaty by not listening to Bangladesh’s demand?
  5. Are there any flaws in these treaties?
  6. Talk about some work permits and free movement between indo Bangladesh. Do you think we can open a border for local people in Bengal?(said it will increase illegal migrant issue)
  7. But won’t people will be benefitted. They can go to work in the day and come back to India at evening. (Said we can do it on pilot basis, then open up if positive response and maintain proper transparency and safety measures)
  8. You have studied in Bengali medium. What do you think about DU discrimination between cbsc and state boards? At the 10+2 level, how can we bring down the disparity? (Talked about neet. But will be difficult in social sci. Still, a common minimum syllabus may help)
  9. You said same syllabus. But do you think you studied at presidency college say someone from Munger will have the same capability as you have? (Said capability is individual but education environment will take more time to be same)

Member 3

  1. What was your thesis topic?
  2. Significance of it?
  3. Most of the faculties in IIT and other educational institutes are Bengali. Why Bengalis prefer academics so much? (Mentioned less conducive env for business here)
  4. Can’t Laxmi and Saraswati go together?
  5. You organized a women entrepreneur conclave. How do you see the idea of startup for research scholars?
  6. Prosopis julifera. Invasive trees. How could you control? And 2 3 follow-up questions
  7. You talked about NEET. Which state is constantly opposing neet?
  8. What was their argument? (Gave wrong answer. Said language but he said rural people disadvantage. Accepted and said sorry)

Member 4

  1. Name 4 biodiversity hotspots of India
  2. Have you ever been to Assam/ Arunachal/ Meghalaya?
  3. Are north eastern states poor? (Said poor if we see infrastructure but rich in biodiversity and ethnic diversity)

(This transcript has been posted by a community member of ForumIAS)
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