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UPSC Interview Transcript: ‘deusAdeeb’, Already in IRS, M.Sc. Economics and B.E. Computer Science, BITS Pilani

M.Sc. Economics and B.E. Computer Science, BITS Pilani
IRS(Customs) probationer since Dec 2015.
Ajitb hosale board and Aruna Bahuguna madam as a panellist.


Last candidate..like the last one in all boards combined.
I enter, Chairman greets me.


Chairman

Mr. Pathan, you are an extremely academically successful candidate, your parents must be proud of you. Not just parents, your entire family. They must be saying, “ Adeeb is the ideal person”.(I am totally not kidding. These are his exact words. )
Me : Yes Sir, they are.
Ch : But there must be one reason that your father is upset regarding you. What is it ?
Me : Sir, nothing that I can sense. He seems proud of me and happy with my performance
Ch: It’s so good to see that parents are happy with their children. The generation gap is immense in our generation and yours. We as a society are facing many issues . What are these ?
Me : Answered
Ch : Anything else ?
Me :Added a few points
Ch : Anything regarding the underpriviledged sections of our society ? What can be done to uplift them ? Otherwise the gap will keep inceasing.
Me : Gave a state centric answer that state must take the command and free markerts can’t be left to themselves for addressing this.

Member 1

How to solve water scarcity and inter state water issues ?(The actual question was much more elaborate)
Me : Sir, we need to address industrial and agricultural uses of water. Cropping pattern in India needs to shift from water guzzling crops like rice to coarse cereals. We need to adopt more scientific methods of irrigation like drip irrigation. In the industrial sector we need to do more RnD and adopt water sensitive technologies in industries that consume large quantities of water.
M1: What about inter-state water disputes?
ME: Sir, one permanent tribunal needs to be established and it’s award needs to be implemented without any undue delay as observed in Cuvery dispute case.
M1: You are saying incentivise coarse cereals but out MSP policies are heavily tilted in favour of Sugarcane, rice and all
Me: Sir, this situation needs to be remedied. MSPs for coarse cereals needs to be increased
M1 : GIGO full form (Comp sci)
Me: answered
M1: What does it mean?
Me: Explained
Few more I might have forgotten..M1 was satisfied.

Member 2

(most jovial of them all) : You said about water guzzling rice. Are you aware of any technique that is used to address it.
Me: Sir, I am aware of SIRI.System of rice intensification. But I am not aware of the details.
M2: That’s okay but at least you know that a technique exists that can plant rice even with drop irrigation. We need not change our entire crop pattern
M2: You must be knowing abot 101st amendment to constitution. Explain its provisions.
Me: Sir, under the previous position, states cannot tax services and center cannot tax sale of goods. The amendment addresses this issue. Then there are consequent amendments like sharing the revenue so obtained by Finance commission recommendations. The bill addresses them too.
M2 : Any other provisions, important ones ?
Me : *trying to recall….*
M2 :Any body established under it ?
Me : Sir, the GST council
M2 : What is it’s structure ?
Me : explained to his satisfaction
M2 : What is unique in this ? you have already answered this question but again, what did you find unique in this arrangement ?
Me : trying to answer but M2 pointed out that Article 246 was what he was looking for and he didn’t bother much since I had already explained it.
M2: Come back to Cauvery(Laughs along with all the board). Did the SC change the cauveryverdict ?
Me : Sir, The lower riparian state had approached the supreme court to review the issue.
M2: Can they do that ?
Me: Sir, as per the Article 262 of the constitution the parliament can enact laws to resolve inter state disputes and bar the jurisdiction of any court including the supreme court from hearing appeals against it’s decisions.
M2: Which law was thus enacted ?
Me: The inter state water disputes Act
M2: Then how did the state approach the SC?
Me: Sir, I can only take a guess.
M2: Please…by all means
Me: Sir, tribunals are established to address issues where social interest is prevalent rather than rights of individuals. So, they follow PNJ instead of CPC but it might have happened that in this case rights of individuals were being affected and there are many precedents where the apex court has allowed appeal in such cases.
M2: Whose rights were being affected?
Me: The farmers’ rights to a secure livelihood.
M2: Now that you know all of this, The state went to SC because the award was not notified for seven years. That’s the issue.
Me : _/\_
M2 : You say that single tribunal will solve the issue, Why? Because the Prime minister has recently said that ?
Me: Sir, I have read many articles to that effect that a single tribunal can be a potent solution.
M2: According to me, it will increase the problems . Can you tell me why ?
Me: Sir, one reason could be that the tribunal will be burdened with multiple issues
M2: Yes, good, that’s one reason..and ?
Me: Sir, the same tribunal might follow different principles in awarding different verdicts and this might open up a whole new set of challenges (WTF was I saying )
M2 : Ok…now if You have to select a subordinate, honest and inefficient or….(not typing the rest)
Me : Sir, all efforts must be taken to select a candidate who is honest and efficient but if I have to select one, I will select the inefficient and honest one.
M2: Why ?
Me: Sir, if he is inefficient, I can take it to myself to dispose off his work, (M2 reamarked something and the entire panel LOLed. I smiled too) Since I am his superiror, I can exercise his powers. It will be a burden for me but a dishonest man, that too an efficient one will always find ways to perpetrate corruption in the system.

Member 3

(a complex, bizzare personality): What is microbionics?
Me: Sorry sir, I am unaware of it.
M3: But you have studied science . Maybe it is related to biology, that’s why you don’t know.  Then he explained what it was.
M3: What is paretoOptimality
Me: When a resource distribution is such that the utility of at least one member can be increased without increasing the resource itself, the distribution is pareto sub-optimal. Only when the utility of any member cannot be increased any further in the constraints of those resources, the allocation can be said to be pareto optimal.
M3: So, basically it is about being well off, when one party can be made well off without harming the other one.
Me: *Sure..if you want to be all ‘layman’ about it. * Yes, Sir.
M3: Are taxes pareto optimal
Me: Sir, designing pareto optimal taxation system can be very difficult.
M3: Still, does GST increase paretooptimality ?(This is technically a wrong question. He is confusing pareto optimality with pareto efficiency but I got what he was trying to say)
Me: Sir, it makes both the Government and businesses well off. The government mops up higher revenue and businesses have reduced costs of compliance. So both parties are well off..
M3: You have been with customs for 2 years, You must have dealt with companies. Ok, what is corporate governance ?
Me : Sir, improving the management of companies so that their functioning is more responsive, more accountable and transparent to share holders..er..stake holders.
M3 : Difference between shareholders and stakeholders ?
Me : explained.
M3: What are instruments of Corporate governance ?
Me : Sir, annual general meetings, annual reports …
M3 : Do you know what audit commitees are ?
Me : Sir, they audit finances of a company
M3 :LOLing with the panel..No, no you don’t know what they are …
Me : 
M3: So, government is a stakeholder..How are companies responsive to the government ?
Me : Sir, Companies law….
M3 : No, that’s a law but what are the instruments ?
Me : Sir, they might have to file an annual report to SEBI…
M3 :But what if they are not publicly listed ?
Me: Sir, I am unaware if non listed companies file a similar report
M3 : How shareholders are interested in a company ?
Me : Sir, they are represented in the board of directors and they hold equity in the company and want profitable returns on their investment.
M3: No, the theory of firm says that companies exist for profit maximisation(Dude, that’s what I just said!). What is difference between profit and wealth ?
Me: Sir, profits are calculated in an year but wealth is accumulated over time.
M3: So, wealth is sanatan, ..You have studied Sanskrit, What does sanatan mean ?
Me: Sir, eternal…
M3: SO investors want value. What is the definition of value ?
Me: Sir, if a commodity is exchanged in free markets for money, the money that it can obtain is its value.
M3: No, there is a new definition by cash discounted flows…
Me: *Dude, what is wrong with you ? I know I am failing your test here but you don’t have to be so mean about it*
FinallyAruna madam. She was very disinterested.

Member 4

What’s your name ? Adeeb or Pathan ?
Me : answered
M4 : You were cultural secretary in your college ? What did it entail ?
Me : answered
M4 : Many facets of our culture which people believe are a part of our culture but government does not. Any example ?
Me : mam, can I take 2 seconds to think ?
M4 : ok, say, Jallikattu or cock fights ? Should the state involve itself in them ?
Me: Ma’m preservation of culture must be balanced with the features of a modern democratic state where rights of animals are respected.
M4(completely unsatisfied) : Are you aware of RTI ?
Me: Yesma’m. The right to information act.
M4 : Has it been successful ?
Me : Yes ma’m and explained.
M4 : IS it applicable to customs ?
Me : yes , ma’m..explained.
M4 : But yesterday CIC has ruled that a person who has filed 6000 RTIs need not be given a reply..
Me :Ma’m, for any law, there might be misusers but we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. If there are frivolous applications, the law has a system of checks and balances to address it.
M4 was very very unhappy with me. Passed on to Chairman
Chairman
It has been 30 minutes since your interview started. How did it pass ?
Me: Sir, I didn’t even notice it.
CH :Smiling..so it flew by…
Ch: What suggestions do you give to UPSC for improving the exam process.
Me : Sir, if I can be frank…..
Ch : You better be frank or it won’t be good….
Me: Sir, the commission needs to be more transparent vis-à-vis the candidates. It needs to provide checked copies of the mains exams to the candidates. If the candidates fail to understand as to what exactly fetches them marks, the coaching industry will thrive on this uncertainity.
Ch : Has the message not gone down loud and clear that UPSC questions cannot be predicted?
Me: Sir, since there is no clarity on what exactly amounts to good performance, many instructors might falsely claim that they know the secret to cracking the exams and the coaching industry runs on.
Ch: This is related to Mains. Anything related to interview?
Aruna madam intervenes: That, he will not say now. *laughs*
Ch: no. no..We are all being very frank here.
Me: Sir, this part of the exam is very well managed. I have no suggestions regarding it.
Ch: Thank you, your interview is over.

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