[UPSC Interview 2021] – Transcript #123 : M. Sathyavathy Board, Maharashtra Home State, Geography Optional

Date of Interview: 19th April, 3pm
Board: M. Sathyavathy Ma’am
Home State:  Maharashtra
Background: BA honours, MA, and JRF all In Geography from Delhi University.
Optional: Geography
Hobbies: Aquascaping and backpacking (Most of my interview was focussed here)

Etracurriculars- College Street Theatre and MUNs

Mocks- Helped in some critical questions (that actually came in the final interview) and in getting used to the required body language and confidence.

Experience in interview- Very conversational. All the questions were entirely from hobbies, extra curriculars and educational background/ Optional. Chairperson was very charming, smiling all the time. Wonderful experience altogether.


Read my DAF aloud and asked me my first name.

  1. What is this aquascaping? (My first hobby)
  2. Do you have your own aquariums?
  3. Do you do it commercially also?
  4. And what about backpacking? What is it?
  5. Where did you travel last? (I mentioned Chopta and explained its geographical position)
  6. Which other states did you cover?
  7. What were you doing since 2019?
  8. What is Interlinking of rivers? What is your opinion on it? (i mentioned EIA, rehabilitation and Ken Betwa Project) (another critical answer that led to quarter of my interview- River based questions)
  9. What are the issues involved in Ken Betwa Project? ( I supported it and mentioned about need for proper rehabilitation and wildlife relocation and minimum damage)
  10. Are you sure wildlife can be relocated at this scale?

Member 1

  1. What is Chopta? A hillstation?
  2. What makes Tungnath special? Tell me the story.
  3. Where is it? In Kumaon or Garhwal?
  4. Where are Garhwal and Kumaon in Uttarakhand?
  5. Distance of Chopta from Dehradoon. And of Kedarnath from Chopta.
  6. Where is Chardham? In Garhwal or Kumaon?
  7. What makes Chandrashila trek attractive to backpackers?
  8. What issues did you face in the trek? What happens in low oxygen at high altitude? What precautions?
  9. What is a floodplain of a river? What activities will you prevent in a North Indian river floodplain
  10. Why can’t transmission lines be laid?
  11. What were the issues involved with artificial embankments on Kosi floodplains? ( and A few more followup questions)

Member 2

  1. You have studied Geography throughout your education, why? (Asked from my response to what I had been doing since 2019)
  2. Did you not fall in the engineering trap? Or get insecure that engineers are more successful these days? ( I mentioned about UPSC’s report and the statistics that prove the opposite, they noded in approval)
  3. Does the lack of opportunities in Geography, if you dont qualify CSE, not frighten you?
  4. Why did you join Streetplay team in college? What did you learn?
  5. What issues do tourist places in India face (from my hobby)
  6. As a policymaker, tell me the policies you will make for promoting Indian tourism sector for foreign ‘backpackers’ ( specifically backpackers)

Member 3

  1. You mentioned about Environmental Impact Assessment. In that regard, what are IRR ( and some followup questions about very technical words that I had never heard about, so I said I have not read)
  2. How is silting of reservoirs harmful?
  3. How do we remove the silt? ( i mentioned dredging and was giving a general answer, he interrupted me and asked for specific technologies, so I apologised and said I dont know)
  4. You have many aquariums, open water leads to mosquito breeding. How do you prevent that?
  5. What things will you be most passionate about when you come into the services?
  6. Don’t you think you could have done better if you went to those sectors directly?

Member 4

  1. Have you visited abroad? ( I said no)
  2. Which country would I like to visit the most (I said Egypt)
  3. Why? ( I said architecture, mythology, history) What type and phase of architecture ( I said tombs, temples, sarcophagi and pyramids of the Old kingdom)
  4. How were pyramids made? ( I mentioned a few theories)
  5. Name a few pyramids, their years of construction and their makers?

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