Category Archives: UPSC-Journey

My UPSC Journey

Superman… Signing Off…

This would be my last post on UPSC. It is a sentimental moment for me – for the association which started 3 years ago and gave me my life defining moment is going to end. But the time has come to move on.

 

Yesterday, the National Police Academy gave me farewell, and next week, the LBSNAA calls. In the past two months and even before, I have given to the aspirants all I had to give. To carry on would be futile. My years as a young derivatives trader in the financial world firmly taught me that we can excel only when we do something purely because we love to do it, and not when we mix any other reasons in it. If we bring in other reasons, then slowly the pure love gets diluted and so does the quality of our effort and output. I excelled in the IAS exam because I loved to study and not because I wanted anything out of the service. I excelled in the Economics paper even more because I loved it even more (in fact, some day, would even do a PhD in it). That is the reason why I said yesterday I would never make any money from my writing. I love to write and I don’t want money to end this love affair.

 

And so, my love affair with UPSC ends here. But alas, a collateral casualty has been my blog. For what started as a medium where I expressed myself freely to my friends and readers, it has now become a UPSC blog. It was a Sunday morning in early 2010 when I wrote my first blog post to impress a girl, who I had a crush on since the MBA days, with my writing skills (she was into blogging as well). Hehe J. But soon I began to love writing. I began to write on my experiences in the financial world and my learnings J. That fateful night of May 6, 2010 when Greece shook the world for the first time – gosh, it still thrills me when I read it even now (Read Here). It would surely be a hell of a story for my kids should they get into the financial world J. When I quit the job, came back to India and started preparing for this exam, the nature of my blog changed too. You can almost see the blog evolving as I was evolving. The posts changed from dealing with the financial world to dealing with the social – economic issues around us. (You won’t find all now as I took out some of them dealing with controversial issues when I joined IPS). Then the number of UPSC posts starts increasing as I get more and more into the exam mode until the Big Bang on 12 June 2014!

 

The blog has changed with changes in me as a person. I could have done it this time as well – as I get out of the UPSC mode into the other things which life has in its store for me, I could have simply stopped the UPSC posts and started writing about the things which I will be seeing now. But… I think its impossible now. Its impossible to express myself freely again with the burden of the weight my name now carries. Public life has its perils and in the real life I will constantly have to deal with this burden. But here, in the virtual world, I want to give my creativity and originality a clear flight. I don’t want the chains of being an IAS topper tied to my feathers. I want to fly. I want to live – free. So I must shut this down and start a new blog under a new pen name, where I look forward to connect with my new readers. I want people to read me because I write well and not because I am some topper.

 

Similarly, I will have to shut down my facebook account also. Anyways, facebook had never been a “happy b’day” and “looking cute” kind of thing for me and unfortunately I can’t do anything more there any longer. So I will open a new account, under some new name and no pics of mine and connect with my old friends J. Haha, they will know its me when they see a friend request from me and I ll behave like old days again J.

 

But I do realize the value of the contribution I can still make for the aspirants. I have nothing left to say regarding the broader aspects of UPSC preparation and so I won’t be writing any more posts on this blog. But I will keep alive a channel of communication via the comments section where the aspirants can leave their specific queries as comments and I’ll reply to them. Many of the students had sent me long answers for feedback and I am extremely sorry I could not reply to them. But I will try my best to give feedback on answers. If somebody is hesitant to ask a query in public, he/she can still email me on crazyphoton@gmail.com . Request you to kindly write “UPSC Guidance” in the title / subject of the email. Also, since there are already a lot of preparation related things on my existing facebook and public page, I won’t deactivate them, but I will just not open them again. They will lie there until facebook decides to take them down.

 

Before parting, some of my final words as “Superman” J.

 

The Story Behind “Superman”

 

 

Many people seem to think that I chose this pen name after this year’s selection. But this is not the case J. There used to be an orkut community of IAS preparants. In my early days i.e. in late 2012, I used to be very active on that community. But as it grew into an addiction, I deleted my orkut profile and quit that. After writing the mains of 2012, I wrote the essay which I had written in the exam, on my blog. I knew I had natural readers on that community, so I had to publish my blog link there. For this, I needed a new profile and a new name. I chose “TheSupermanReturns” just like that and this display pic. And then I liked the name so much I changed my blog pen name too to it. Now this is entirely a different case that somehow after selection this name suited more J.

 

Message to the Next Topper

 

There is a tradition of “passing on the baton”. Each topper passes on his / her message to the next. I found out about it only after the result. So my dear topper! Although I would contact you personally next year after your selection, but wherever you are, if you are reading this, I would tell you only one thing. Being a topper in this exam is God’s will. There are 1000s others who might have worked as hard or even harder than you. So topping is not important. What is important is what you choose to make out of it – what you choose to do… after topping. May you do well in life and serve the people of this country!

 

Message to the Aspirants

 

Although UPSC, with its ever changing patterns, will soon render the material on this blog and, infact, myself obsolete, there is one message they can never make irrelevant. And that is, do what you love to do. If you love to study Economics or mechanical engineering, take it as an optional – don’t listen to the person who says it is not scoring or it won’t help in GS. If you want to write in Hindi medium, by all means, write in it. If you want to write in point format, please write in points and forget the people who say you should not write comment / critically analyze in points. Its only your love for the subject, my friends, which will take take you past the finish line.

 

Before signing off, just want to share here some of my final pics associated with UPSC and also my long due and promised writeup on interview preparation + Preparing GS Economy + message by Kunal Angrish (Rank 2, IFoS) on preparing environment which he has been so kind to write on my request.

 

So good luck my friends and fare well!

 

Good bye.

Superman!

 

*************************************************

 

Last Pics Associated with UPSC

 

Note: These pics could be photoshopped ones, so please don’t read anything from them. Its simply for fun.


 

 

*************************************************

 

My Message on UPSC Interview Preparation

 

Disclaimer: Everything said below is my personal opinion based on my interview experience. I have no special knowledge about UPSC board. May be all this is entirely wrong.

 

Please find my main points here:

http://www.clearias.com/gaurav-agrawal-cse-2013-rank-1-upsc-toppers-interview-part-4/

 

Some additional points here:

– UPSC interview preparation actually starts from the DAF filling stage itself. What you fill in there, would be what is asked. So the areas where you want them to ask questions from, fill them more prominently. Take a look at my DAF below. Economics is my strong point. See how it is the most prominent thing in my DAF.

 

 

 

 

– One of my friend (gave interview twice to 2 different boards) always got factual questions asked. I, on the other hand (gave interview twice to 2 different boards), didn’t have to face many factual questions. Why did it happen? One can say luck, type of board etc. All these do matter but there is an additional thing as well which I think is more important. Interview is essentially an intellectual exercise. It has to be primarily based on intellectual things. So your DAF must have some intellectual things which the board can pick up and ask. If you don’t put any such thing, the board WILL HAVE TO ask you factual questions from here and there. And then you would cry, luck… luck…

For example, suppose you want them to ask questions on street food so you mention it as your hobby. This is an interesting hobby, board will definitely pick it up and would ask some questions from it. But it is not an intellectual thing, so your entire interview cannot be based on street food eating! If you don’t give board enough material, they would pull you in their own turf and ask questions.

 

– Once the intellectual thing is taken care of, 70% of your interview would be on that intellectual thing. But what about the remaining 30%? Do you want the board to ask random factual questions even in that 30%? No right? So leave some other stuff in your DAF as fillers. This other stuff has to be general enough and also interesting enough so that someone from the board might ask questions from it. For instance, as you can see in the above DAF, I have football, blogging, dumb charades, jogging and movie making as fillers.

 

– One more thing I realized this time is that in our form, only our birth town appears and not the ‘real’ home town. So the board thinks this is our hometown and so, the birth town needs to be prepared thoroughly like a home town.

 

– It is obvious that one has to prepare all aspects mentioned in the DAF (all states, cities, services etc. etc.) but the question is what to prepare on these! People who are taking the interview are not themselves giving the interview and so don’t need to prepare for it. They will ask what the commonly known things are in that topic. For instance, in case of my home state Rajasthan, obvious questions are on Rajput history, tourism, backward economy, poor HDI etc. etc. In case of economics, questions would be asked on whatever current is going on. In case of IPS, it is going to be police reforms, Supreme Court judgement etc. Thus, while preparing for the interview, sit down and think of what all questions are possible on each topic and prepare them. It is especially useful to be on online forums like http://www.forumias.com
http://mrunal.org “Interview Prep 4 IAS” community on erstwhile Orkut (its probable successor is http://www.interviewprep4ias.com) . Here many people come and discuss possible questions, give their transcripts etc.

 

– Many a times it is seen that when the board asks general questions like what will you do when you become an ias or how to remove corruption or what will you do for the women of the society, one is taken aback. One tries to think of some rockstar-ish points to speak so that she can make a good impression on the board. But when no such brilliant points come to her mind due to interview pressure and ticking of the clock, one panics! And then comes out an answer containing fewer, below average points and the answerer lacking in confidence. Bad…

In the interview, more than what you speak, what matters is how you speak. Nobody is expecting some grand points from you in those 2 minutes you have to answer. Just say the average points, but speak in a pleasant, confident and composed manner.

 

– Many students have a tendency to go on speaking until the interviewer stops them. This is bad… very bad. Just speak your answer in just enough words. Stop… Let them ask questions if they want. Anyways, the more you speak, the more are the chances of committing mistakes.

 

– One very important thing, in the interview, one doesn’t have the luxury of speaking for 10 minutes on a question. When a question is asked, one just has 2 sentences or 30 seconds max to capture the attention of the board. If you speak well in those first 2 sentences / 30 seconds, you will retain the attention of the board for rest of your answer and they will have a pleasant feeling about you in the end and give good marks. On the other hand, if you don’t do well in those 2 sentences / 30 seconds, the board will simply switch off, and not remember what followed in your answer. In the end, they will remember you didn’t answer anything particularly well and would award poorly.

Now the question is, how to do well in those first 30 seconds? When I say “speak well”, I am not referring to speaking fluently or dashingly. All I am saying is that one should be very structured in the first 2 seconds itself and hit the bull’s eye. From these first words itself, the board should know that you are a subject expert. These words should reflect your deep analysis and understanding of the problem. I am not saying show off your knowledge. I am saying show them you understand the issue well and are not bluffing / beating around the bush.

 

– Finally, an interview is just like a normal conversation you are having with some elderly, respected person. Just show that you are intellectual, calm, composed and polite. That’s it.. nothing more, nothing less.

 

*************************************************

Preparing GS Economy

 

I have received many queries on how to prepare GS Economy, all the more so because my optional was Economics. I had no satisfactory answer to them. For I had developed my basic concepts from books such as Dornbusch and Samuelson and following central banks like US Fed, ECB, RBI etc. and trading currencies and derivatives. Obviously, a typical UPSC aspirant can’t do all this. So I went through a few sources and can say today that the old NCERT textbooks of Class 11th and 12th (can be downloaded from http://mrunal.org/download#NCERT-NIOS ) are good for basic concepts. Then Mrunal himself (http://mrunal.org ) has been doing some wonderful, quality job in making current economic issues simple for the students. So would recommend these to students.

 

*************************************************

Kunal Angrish (Rank 2, IFoS) on Environment Preparation

 

Note: These are his words. I am merely hosting it.

 

Prelim, 2014 is over. The exam had quite a few surprises up its sleeve. As far as paper-1 is concerned, emphasis on environment, ecology and bio-diversity was clearly evident. Over the years this topic has figured prominently in paper-1 but now it seems to have gathered as much importance as the conventional areas. There were about 18 questions from environment, ecology and related topics in this year’s prelim. It seems that there is still not much clarity on how to go about this area of syllabus atleast not as much as the conventional areas of history, polity etc. Many of us either leave this topic or do it vaguely. Following is an effort to dissect this area of the syllabus and work out a strategy. Also mentioned in italics, are the sources from which different topics can be studied.

If you see the UPSC notification, this topic can be divided under four broad headings. These are:

  1. Environment
  2. Ecology
  3. Biodiversity
  4. Climate-change

It is easy to infer that these topics are inter-related. Let’s just take up each of them one by one;

  1. ENVIRONMENT- very broad subject but if u see questions from last few years, they basically come from the following areas:
    1. Natural Resources– renewable and non-renewable (questions on non-conventional energy resources have become a surety in last few years, so it should be done rather comprehensively)

      * Two questions in prelim, 2014; relating to solar energy and shale gas & coal-bed-methane.

      (SourceErach Bharucha’s Environmental Studies for Undergraduate Courses)

       

    2. Pollution – a thorough understanding of Air, water, noise, soil, nuclear, thermal,e-waste.

      *one question in prelim, 2014; relating to pollutants of steel industry.

      (SourceErach Bharucha’s Environmental Studies for Undergraduate Courses)

       

    3. International Efforts –just basic ideas about:
  • United Nations Environment Program (UNEP),
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),
  • Global Environment facility

    *question asked in this prelim, 2014).

  • World Wildlife fund for nature (WWF).

    *question about WWF’s ‘earth hour’ appeared in prelim, 2014.

  • NGOs like Conservation International, Greenpeace etc.

    (Source- all these organizations have their own web-pages, can google-search and read).

     

  1. India’s Efforts – get basic ideas of:
  • Environment protection act-1986

    *question on eco-sensitive zones figured in prelim, 2014. Eco-sensitive zones come under Environment protection Act.

  • Various pollution related acts (Air pollution Act-1981, water pollution act-1974 etc.),
  • Environment Impact Assessment.
  • Indian institutions and organizations like BNHS, Animal Welfare Board of India, NGRBA (*all three figured in a question this year), Centre for Science and Environment, TERI, Central Pollution Control Boards etc.

    (Source- Google search and read them, best option)

     

     

  1. Current happenings – reports, issues, discoveries.

    (Keeping an eye on The Hindu’s Thursday science page can take care of most things here. Don’t go for every small piece of information coming from various research groups, just some important ones coming from national, international platforms).

     

  1. ECOLOGY- questions here are easy pickings if you just go through the basic ecology. Areas one can cover here are:
    1. Structure of ecosystem (biotic-abiotic components, Producer-consumer-decomposer concept),
    2. Types of ecosystems (grasslands, mangroves, estuaries,
    3. Food chains and food web (*question asked in prelim,2014),
    4. Ecological pyramids,
    5. Biogeochemical cycles,(*question asked on carbon cycle, prelim 2014)
    6. Ecological succession,
    7. Biological interactions (mutualism, parasitism etc.)
    8. A glossary of ecological terms.

      (Sourcehttp://mrunal.org/2013/02/food-chain-food-web-trophic-levels-biotic-potential-bio-magnification-ignou-download.html#download, any basic book on ecology will do the needful).

       

  2. BIO-DIVERSITY- here one can go for a mix of theory and the present International and India’s efforts:
    1. Theory
  • concept of bio-diversity (genetic, species, ecosystem diversity),
  • threats to bio-diversity (habitat fragmentation, desertification, poaching),
  • Conservation of biodiversity (in-situ and ex-situ conservation),
  • Bio-diversity in India (hot-spots, world heritage sites of natural importance).

    (SourceICSE board books on environmental studies, class-IX, X ; Erach Bharucha’s Environmental Studies for Undergraduate Courses).

     

  1. International Efforts – get basic ideas about;
  • Convention on bio-diversity (CBD)-history and current events/decisions.
  • Cartagena Protocol,
  • Nagoya protocol (and Aichi targets),
  • IUCN Red list (its various categories, important additions to it in last year, especially from India),
  • Various conventions like Convention on migratory species (CMS), Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), Ramsar convention (* 2 questions in this year’s prelim) etc.

    (Sources- Basically just go to ‘Convention on biological diversity’ page on Wikipedia, read both the article as well as the links at the end of the page, given under ‘See Also’ heading).

     

  1. India’s Efforts– basic idea of;
  • Wild-life protection act,
  • Forest conservation act,
  • Bio-diversity Act, 2002 (and National Biodiversity Authority),
  • Protected areas (biosphere reserves, National parks, wildlife sanctuaries – names and states in which they are located, protected areas known for particular animals {e.g. Kaziranga for rhino}, protected areas that have been in news, protected areas notified recently)

    * two questions were asked this year.

    (questions on protected areas is a certainty every year,; there is no alternative to memorizing them; repeated revision and use of maps can help).

  • Conservation efforts (project tiger, project elephant, rhino vision-2020 etc.)
  • Concept of Genetically Modified Organisms (or Transgenic organisms), current debate on it, institutional mechanisms in India.
  • Environmental clearance, National Green Tribunal.

    (all the above topics are easily available on google search)

     

  1. CLIMATE CHANGE- again can be divided into theory, International Efforts and India’s Efforts;
    1. Theory– basic understanding of
  • Global warming; ozone layer and its depletion; Acid Rain.
  • Implication of these events on climate

    *one question figured in prelim, 2014.

    (questions from this area are common)

    (Source- Erach Bharucha’s Environmental Studies for Undergraduate Couses).

     

  1. International Efforts
  • UNFCC- history (the convention, Kyoto protocol, Bali Road map, Cancun Agreement, Durban Outcomes, Doha climate gateway, Warsaw outcomes), current happenings/decisions (COP deliberations).

    (Sourcehttp://unfccc.int/essential background/items/6031.php)

  • IPCC- crux of its recent reports.

    (Source-http://www.ipcc.ch/organization/organization.shtml)

  • Vienna Convention, Montreal protocol.

     

  1. India’s Efforts
  • National Action Plan for climate change, its various sub-planes.
  • India’s stand at international platforms.
  • Various policies/projects/schemes.

    (Source-
    Economic Survey Chapter ; India Year Book chapters)

 

As is clear there is a greater use of internet in studying various topics since nothing is available at one particular place. You can compile your notes/material in the manner described above and keep adding on to it as and when you find or read something. Also, there is greater scope of using common-sense in environment related questions. Many times an intelligent guess backed by logic can make up for lack of precise knowledge. It goes without saying that at the end it’s about retaining what you read and applying it during the exam.

Best of Luck.

 

**************************************************

From Macaulay Putra, With Love… Part 2

Disclaimer:

  1. This article is not meant for sentimental fanatics – either this side or that side. This is meant for only reasonable, practical human beings – which I believe any common man is.
  2. Views expressed here are personal. Forgive me for anything wrong here.

This is second in a multi – part series. As I started writing, I realized this issue is so long and involves so many aspects that it would not be feasible to put it in single article. Request you to please wait, if you can, for the other parts before firing the gun.

 

 

This article is in both Hindi and English. Thanks to my friend Sunil Berwal for telling me about the Hindi font tool. यह लेख हिंदी और अंग्रेजी दोनों में लिखा गया है| मेरे दोस्त श्री सुनील बेरवाल जी का धन्यवाद् की उन्होंने मुझे गूगल हिंदी इनपुट टूल के बारे में बताया जिससे मैं हिंदी में टाइप कर पा रहा हूँ|

 

 

Before moving ahead, I would like to briefly summarize my views expressed in the 1st part of this series.

  1. In the comprehension (passage type) questions in CSAT, the main problem is not mechanical “bhaavheen” translation as alleged by Andolankaris. The main problem is that pure Hindi words are so difficult. That the pure Hindi words are so difficult is no fault of UPSC, but a fault of the Hindi purists who have taken the pure form of Hindi away from the masses. What can be done is to perhaps translate in easy Hindi or Hinglish or at least give corresponding English words in brackets next to difficult Hindi words.
  2. Maths questions in CSAT are mostly really basic and there is no excuse for not studying them.
  3. I completely disagree with those Andolankaris who deny the necessity of asking logic based questions in CSAT. For those who want to reduce the weightage of logic based questions and increase that of administrative decision making based, yes this can be discussed. I am not against reducing the weightage or making it qualifying, do what you want – but the decision should be taken by experts and not by show of force by the students.
  4. Real issue is not Hindi vs English. This was projected as such by the Andolankaris merely to arouse sentiments, get political support and media attention. This is more of a Humanities vs Engineers / Doctors / MBA issue.

I am sure once the above actions are taken, a lot of grievances of the genuine students would be resolved.

 

आगे बढ़ने से पहले मैं अपने पिछले लेख में व्यक्त किये गए अपने विचारों को संक्षेप में फिर से कहना चाहूँगा|

  1. CSAT में जो पैसेज टाइप सवाल हैं उनमें मुख्य समस्या भावहीन अनुवाद की नहीं है जैसा की आन्दोलनकारी आरोप लगाते हैं| मेरे हिसाब से मुख्य समस्या है की शुद्ध हिंदी के शब्द बहुत मुश्किल होते हैं| अब शुद्ध हिंदी के शब्दों का मुश्किल होना UPSC की गलती नहीं है, यह तो हिंदी शुद्धिकरण में लगे भाषाविदों की गलती है जो की शुद्ध हिंदी को आम जन से दूर ले गए| इस समस्या में अब जो किया जा सकता है वह यह है की या तो अनुवाद आसान हिंदी में किया जाए (अथवा हिंगलिश) अन्यथा कम से कम मुश्किल हिंदी शब्दों के आगे ब्रैकेट्स में उसके साथ का अंग्रेजी शब्द लिख दिया जाए|
  2. CSAT में गणित के सवाल सही में काफी सरल आते हैं और विद्यार्थियों द्वारा उनके लिए न पढने का कोई बहाना नहीं है|
  3. मैं उन आन्दोलनकारियों से पूरी तरह से असहमत हूँ जो की CSAT में तर्क आधारित सवाल पूछे जाने की ज़रुरत पर ही सवाल उठाते हैं| जो आन्दोलनकारी ऐसे सवालों की संख्या घटा कर प्रशासनिक निर्णय लेने वाले सवालों की संख्या बढाने की मांग करते हैं, उनकी मांगों के उपर विचार किया जा सकता है| मैं इनकी संख्या को कम करने या इनको क्वालीफाइंग बनाने के विरोध में नहीं हूँ – मगर यह निर्णय विशेषज्ञों के द्वारा लिया जाना चाहिए ना की छात्रों के द्वारा सड़क पर शक्ति प्रदर्शन से|
  4. असली मुद्दा हिंदी vs इंग्लिश तो है ही नहीं| आन्दोलनकारियों ने इसको ऐसा इसीलिए दिखाया था क्योंकि वो लोगों को भावुक कर उनका, राजनेताओं का और मीडिया का समर्थन चाहते थे| यह असल में कला vs इंजीनियरस / डॉक्टर्स / MBA मुद्दा ज्यादा है|

मेरा निश्चित रूप से यह मानना है की एक बार उपरिलिखित कार्यों पर काम किया जाता है तो वास्तविक छात्रों की बहुत हद तक शिकायतें दूर हो जायेंगी|

 

Apart from this, before moving ahead, I would also like to point out another discrepancy where the Hindi version was much clearer than the English version. This happened in 2011 Essay paper and this discrepancy is worth 200 marks!! Request the Andolankaris to show cumulative anti-Hindi discrepancies worth 200 marks in last 5 years papers taken together.

 

इसके अलावा आगे बढ़ने से पहले मैं एक और त्रुटी की ओर ध्यान दिलाना चाहूँगा जहाँ हिंदी संस्करण अंग्रेजी संस्करण से कहीं ज्यादा स्पष्ट था| यह त्रुटी २०११ के निबंध के पेपर में हुई थी और इसकी कीमत २०० मार्क्स थी!! मेरा आन्दोलनकारियों से सादर निवेदन है की वे कृपया पिछले ५ सालों के सारे पेपर्स मिला कर मुझे हिंदी के विपक्ष में जाने वाली २०० मार्क्स की त्रुटियाँ दिखा दें|


While the Hindi version is clear, English version can have 2 meanings – one the correct, loan based education and other the incorrect one, credit based education (in some colleges like IITs and IIMs, instead of %, students are given credits based on their grades). Whosoever took the wrong meaning, God bless her!

(This was pointed out by Sri Pankaj Verma, a friend of a friend Ajay Bansal as produced below. My mausaji had also pointed it out in my 1st attempt when I took this mock essay to him for checking, but I had forgotten it now. https://thesupermanreturns.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/educatio/)

 

उपर आप देख सकते हैं की हिंदी वाला संस्करण सही है, मगर अंग्रेजी वाले संस्करण के २ अर्थ निकल सकते हैं – एक जो की सही है अर्थार्थ ऋण आधारित सिक्षा और दूसरा जो की गलत है, क्रेडिट आधारित सिक्षा (कुछ colleges जैसे की IITs और IIMs में परसेंटेज की जगह छात्रों को क्रेडिट्स दिए जाते हैं उनकी ग्रेड के अनुसार)| जिसने भी इसका गलत अर्थ निकल कर निबंध लिख दिया होगा, उसका तो भगवान् ही भला करे|

(इस त्रुटी पर मेरा ध्यान श्री पंकज वर्मा, मेरे दोस्त श्री अजय बंसल के दोस्त, ने आकर्षित किया था| मेरे मौसाजी ने भी मेरे प्रथम प्रयास में इसके बारे में बताया था जब मैं अपना निबंध उनके पास चेक करने ले गया था, मगर मैं उसको अभी भूल चूका था| https://thesupermanreturns.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/educatio/)

 

***************************

 

I have said that CSAT is less of a language issue and more of a humanities vs engineers issue. But CSAT is not alone why Hindi medium humanities selections are going down. In this part, I would discuss other reasons why I think Hindi medium humanities selections are going down.

 

मैंने अभी तक यह कहा है की CSAT एक भाषाई मुद्दा कम है और कला vs अभियांत्रिकी मुद्दा ज्यादा| मगर CSAT अकेला कारण नहीं है जिसकी वजह से हिंदी माध्यम कला के चयन कम हो रहे हैं| इस लेख में अब मैं हिंदी माध्यम कला से चयन कम होने के दूसरे कारणों की चर्चा करूँगा|

 

Issue #5 Changing Nature of GS Prelims Paper Itself

 

In the recent years, there has been a definite trend of even the GS prelims questions becoming more and more understanding based and less factual. I picked up the Civil Services 2009 Prelims GS paper. Although this depends on individual perception and may vary if someone else does the same exercise, I found that out of 150 questions asked, only 15 required some application of mind and were understanding based while another 15 were maths / reasoning based. This means 120 questions out of 150 were factual! Then I tried to do a similar exercise for the Civil Services 2013 Prelims GS paper and found around 50% of questions were understanding based and required some application of mind.

 

I think that this change in nature of the questions is desirable. It reduces the culture of rote learning and thus the importance of half baked guide books, coachings etc. There is need to now understand basic economic concepts like what is Balance of Payments, what is CRR, how do they impact our economy than remembering facts like what is the present CRR! I don’t believe Hindi medium humanities students lack in their ability to understand things. However, as discussed later in this article, the Hindi medium preparation ecosystem is no longer suitable for the exam anymore.

 

I am presenting some sample questions here for you and you yourself can feel the difference.

 

Civil Services 2009 GS Paper Questions


 

Civil Services Prelims 2013 GS Paper Questions


 

मुद्दा #५ GS प्रेलिम्स में पूछे जाने वाले सवालों की प्रकृति में आया बदलाव

 

मैंने देखा है की हाल के कुछ वर्षों में GS Prelims के सवालों में भी तथ्यात्मक सवालों की बजाय understanding आधारित सवालों की तरफ एक निश्चित झुकाव हो रहा है| मैंने उदहारण के लिए २००९ की सिविल सेवा के GS Prelims का पेपर उठाया| हालांकि यह सब व्यक्तिगत समझ पर आधारित है और अलग अलग व्यक्ति अलग अलग निष्कर्ष पर पहुँच सकते हैं, मैंने देखा की १५० में से सिर्फ १५ सवाल ऐसे थे जिनमें किसी तरह का दिमाग लग रहा हो या सिद्धांत को समझने की ज़रुरत हो| अन्य १५ गणित अथवा तर्क आधारित थे| इसका अर्थ यह है की १५० में से १२० सवाल तथ्यात्मक थे! फिर मैंने यही कार्यवाही सिविल सर्विसेज २०१३ के GS प्रेलिम्स पेपर पर करने की कोशिश की और पाया की करीब ५०% सवाल दिमाग लगाने वाले या सिद्धांत को समझने वाले थे|

 

मेरे हिसाब से तो सवालों में आया यह बदलाव स्वागत योग्य है| यह रट्टा लगाने की ज़रुरत को कम करता है और अतः लो गुणवत्ता की गाइड बुक्स और कोअचिंग्स की भी| अब यह ज़रुरत है समझने की बैलेंस ऑफ़ पेमेंट का सिद्धांत क्या होता है, CRR क्या होता है, इनका अर्थव्यवस्था पर प्रभाव क्या होता है, ना की यह तथ्य रटने की कि अभी CRR कितना है| मेरा यह पूर्ण विश्वास है की हिंदी माध्यम कला के छात्रों के अन्दर चीज़ों को समझने की क्षमता में कोई कमी नहीं है| मगर, जैसा की मैं इस लेख में आगे चर्चा करूँगा, हिंदी माध्यम से तैय्यारी का इकोसिस्टम अब इस परीक्षा के अनुकूल कम ही रहा है|

 

मैं नीचे कुछ प्रश्न नमूने के तौर पर प्रस्तुत कर रहा हूँ ताकि आप खुद यह बदलाव को महसूस कर सकें|

 

सिविल सर्विस २००९ के GS प्रेलिम्स में पूछे गए सवाल

 

सिविल सर्विस २०१३ के GS प्रेलिम्स में पूछे गए सवाल


 

Issue #6 Changes in Mains Exam and Suitability of Hindi Medium Preparation Ecosystem Today

 

मुद्दा #6 मुख्य परीक्षा में बदलाव और हिंदी माध्यम तैयारी का इकोसिस्टम

 

Success rate of Hindi medium humanities students has fallen in the prelims stage. Issues in CSAT and Issue #5 above are responsible for that. But role of CSAT is over after the prelims stage. Then why is it that the success rate of Hindi medium falls from 18% in prelims to ~2% finally? Andolankaris claim this is because the ‘most deserving’ and ‘most brilliant’ students are filtered out at the prelims stage itself. While I accept that some deserving and bright candidates may be left out at prelims stage, but accepting this claim in entirety without some hard research backing it, would amount to whimsical and arbitrary decision making and would also be a great disrespect to the present Hindi medium toppers like Santosh Rai. From prelims to mains, I am sure there are other factors working and I am going to discuss them now.

 

हिंदी माध्यम कला छात्रों की सफलता की दर प्रेलिम्स चरण में गिरी है| ऊपर लिखे गए CSAT में मुद्दे और मुद्दा #5 इसके लिए काफी हद तक ज़िम्मेदार हैं| मगर CSAT की भूमिका तो प्रेलिम्स चरण तक ही तो सीमित रहती हैं| फिर आखिर क्यूँ हिंदी माध्यम की सफलता दर प्रेलिम्स में 18% से आखिर तक 2% रह जाती है? आन्दोलनकारियों का कहना है की ऐसा इसीलिए है क्यूंकि जो सबसे योग्य और शानदार छात्र हैं, वे तो प्रेलिम्स में ही निकाल दिए जाते हैं| मैं यह तो मान सकता हूँ कुछ योग्य छात्र प्रेलिम्स चरण में रह जाते होंगे, मगर आन्दोलनकारियों की इस बात को पूरी तरह से मानना, वो भी बिना किसी अन्वेषण के, तो सनकी और विवेकहीन निर्णय लेने का तरीका ही होगा| साथ ही यह वर्तमान हिंदी माध्यम toppers जैसे की श्री संतोष राय जी का अनादर ही होगा| मुझे भरोसा है कि प्रेलिम्स से लेकर मुख्या परीक्षा तक कुछ अन्य कारण भी हैं इसके पीछे और इन कारणों की मैं अब चर्चा करूँगा|

 

The two biggest factors responsible for these results are:

  1. Change in nature of questions asked and also marking strategy of UPSC.
  2. Dropping of one Optional paper.

 

Over the years, UPSC has changed the nature of questions asked in its mains papers – both in GS and in Optionals. Earlier there were many questions which were ‘conventional’ type or where knowledge, and not understanding and analysis, were the main determinants of the quality of an answer. The information required to answer a question could be easily found in books / coaching material / magazines. Very little application of mind was needed in many questions – either you knew them or you didn’t. However, now UPSC is asking many questions where understanding and analysis, and not knowledge alone, is the key determinant of determining the quality of an answer. More and more opinion based questions are being asked. How we present our views is becoming more important. It is very difficult to find today’s UPSC answers in any book / coaching material / magazine. (Here, to those who want to oppose me by asking that if the earlier questions were knowledge based then should we doubt the quality of civil servants who qualified in those years, I would like to point them to my 20-20 cricket example given in part 1).

 

मेरे हिसाब से जो दो सबसे बड़े कारण हैं इसके पीछे, वे हैं:

  1. पूछे जाने वाले सवालों के स्वरुप तथा UPSC के द्वारा marks देने की नीति में बदलाव|
  2. एक ऑप्शनल पेपर का हटाया जाना|


पिछले कुछ वर्षों में UPSC ने मुख्या परीक्षा में पूछे जाने वाले सवालों के स्वरुप में काफी बदलाव किया है – GS और ऑप्शनल दोनों में| पहले काफी पारंपरिक तरह के सवाल होते थे जहाँ पर एक अच्छा उत्तर लिखने के लिए सिद्धांत को समझने और विश्लेषण करने से अधिक महत्वपूर्ण होता था उसके बारे में ज्ञान| और यह सूचना आपको UPSC की तैय्यारी के लिए आने वाली किताबों / कोचिंग वालों के नोट्स / मैगजीन्स आदि में आराम से मिल जाती थी| गहन विश्लेषण की बहुत कम ज़रुरत पड़ती थी अधिकतर सवालों में – या तो आपको वे आते थे या नहीं आते थे| मगर अब UPSC ऐसे सवाल ज्यादा पूछ रही है जहाँ सिद्धांत की समझ और विश्लेषण का महत्व ज्यादा है बजाये की सिर्फ विषय के बारे में ज्ञान के| छात्र के मत जानने वाले सवाल ज्यादा पूछे जा रहे हैं| ऐसे सवालों में हम अपने विचारों को प्रस्तुत कैसे करते हैं, यह ज्यादा महत्वपूर्ण है| आजकल के UPSC के उत्तरों का किसी एक किताब / कोचिंग के नोट्स / मैगज़ीन में मिलना मुश्किल है| (यहाँ पर मैं उन लोगों को अपने २०-२० क्रिकेट के उदहारण (जो कि लेख के भाग 1 में है) की तरफ इंगित करना चाहूँगा जो की मेरा विरोध यह कहकर करना चाहते हैं की यदि पहले के सवाल ज्ञान आधारित थे तो क्या उन वर्षों में चयनित छात्र सर्वश्रेष्ट नहीं थे|)

 

As a sample check, I picked up 2004 GS Mains Paper 1 and tried to see how much can a candidate, relying more on knowledge than analysis, attempt in the paper. I classify the questions into “information determined” (where knowledge / specific information gives one a distinct advantage) and “analysis determined” (where knowledge alone gives no significant advantage). Then I repeated the same exercise for 2013 GS Mains Paper 3 to compare. (I would like to reiterate here that such kind of activity is very subjective and everybody can reach different conclusions.) Please see Appendix 1 at the end of this part for the details of the study.

 

मैंने यहाँ नमूना देने के लिए २००४ के GS मुख्य परीक्षा के पेपर 1 को उठाया और देखने की कोशिश की की एक ऐसा छात्र जो की ज्ञान पर ज्यादा निर्भर रहता है, कितने सवाल कर पायेगा| मैंने सवालों को 2 में बांटा – सूचना निर्धारित (जहाँ सूचना / ज्ञान आपको विशिस्ट लाभ देता है) और विश्लेषण निर्धारित (जहाँ सिर्फ ज्ञान से आपको कोई ख़ास लाभ नहीं मिलता)| उसके बाद मैंने वही चीज़ २०१३ के GS Mains पेपर ३ में की ताकि दोनों की तुलना कर सकूँ| (मैं यहाँ पर फिर से कह दूँ की इस तरह की गतिविधि काफी subjective है और हर व्यक्ति अलग अलग निष्कर्ष पर पहुँच सकता है|) पूरा विस्तृत अध्ययन आप Appendix 1 में देखें जो की अंत में है|

 

For a comparison between 2004 and 2013, look at the charts below. While in UPSC 2004 paper we took, 77% marks worth of questions gave our knowledge student an advantage, in 2013’s paper we have taken, only 30% marks worth questions gave her that advantage. (Of course, a proper study should take both GS 1 and GS 2 papers of 2004 and then GS 1, 2, 3 papers of 2013, but I hope at least some idea of the difference is conveyed to the reader here.)

 

आप अब नीचे के चार्ट्स को देखें २००४ और २०१३ कि तुलना के लिए| जहाँ एक ओर २००४ में ७७% सवालों में विषय के ज्ञान का विशिस्ट महत्व था, २०१३ में ऐसे सवालों का भार घाट कर मात्र ३०% रह गया और ७०% सवाल ऐसे थे जहाँ ज्यादा महत्त्वपूर्ण विश्लेषण क्षमता थी| (मैं जानता हूँ की यह अधूरा अध्ययन है, पूरे अध्ययन के लिए हमको २००४ के दोनों GS के पेपर्स लेने होंगे और २०१३ के GS के पेपर्स 1, 2 और 3| मगर मेरी उम्मीद है की कम से कम मैं पाठक को हाल के वर्षों में आये अंतर का कुछ बोध तो करा रहा हूँ|)

 

 

 

Now the question arises, how is this shift leading to poorer results for Hindi medium. As I said earlier, I do not believe that Hindi medium humanities students are lesser than anyone when it comes to analysis and ability to understand concepts. It is just that the new type of questions require an ecosystem which is not favorable to them anymore. Because the new questions are more analysis based, now:

  1. The importance of editorials and opinion columns in various newspapers has increased a lot. However, the thing which goes against Hindi medium students here is that most newspapers which have good editorial sections from UPSC point of view are in English. This is no fault of UPSC or the Hindi medium students, this is simply unfortunate.
  2. Earlier, questions were conventional and you could find the answers in coaching material / books. But now the questions are so dynamic and analysis based, that it is not possible to find all good points about an issue in a single place. One has to make extensive use of internet (Google and Wikipedia searches, analysis of committee reports and laws passed etc.) and see what various people are saying on the issue. This again is a problem, because a) Internet is in English and b) Hindi medium humanities students are not familiar with extensive computer usage.

The new pattern has reduced the importance of coachingwallahs to a great extent. It has reduced the role of rote learning and brought in deep analysis and application of mind to a great extent. All this is highly desirable. But a side effect is that while the English medium, computer familiar students could adapt to the new pattern, many of the Hindi medium humanities students could not adapt. This is not a fault of the students or UPSC’s, the larger ecosystem is just not supportive enough for them.

 

अब सवाल यह उठता है की इस बदलाव से हिंदी माध्यम के नतीजे क्यूँ ख़राब हुए हैं| जैसा की मैं पहले भी कह चूका हूँ की हिंदी माध्यम कला के छात्रों की समझने की और तार्किक क्षमता को मैं किसी से कम नहीं मानता हूँ| मगर असल बात ह है की ये नए तरह के सवाल जिस तरह की तैय्यारी का ecosystem मांगते हैं वह अब हिंदी माध्यम क अनुकूल नहीं बचा है| नए सवालों के अधिक विश्लेषण आधारित होने की वजह से अब:

  1. अख़बारों में आने वाले सम्पादकीय व ओपिनियन कॉलमस की महत्ता काफी बढ़ गयी है| मगर यह हिंदी मध्यम के अनुकूल इसीलिए नहीं है क्यूंकि UPSC की तैय्यारी हेतु बेहतर सम्पादकीय कॉलम अंग्रेजी अख़बारों में ही आते हैं| यह UPSC की गलती नहीं है और न ही छात्रों की, यह तो दुर्भाग्य है बस|
  2. पहले काफी पारंपरिक तरह के सवाल आते थे जिनके उत्तर किसी कोचिंग नोट्स / किताबों में मिल जाया करते थे| मगर अब सवाल इतने अपराम्परक व विश्लेषण आधारित हैं की अब उत्तर के सभी अच्छे पहलु एक जगह मिलना संभव ही नहीं है| अब ज़रुरत पड़ती है internet के व्यापक उपयोग की (गूगल, विकिपीडिया, विभिन्न कमिटी रिपोर्ट्स व बिल्स का गहन अध्ययन आदि) ताकि हम देख सकें की अनेक विशेषज्ञ लोग उस विषय पर क्या बोल रहे हैं| यह फिर से एक नयी समस्या है क्यूंकि अ) internet तो अंग्रेजी में ही होता है, और ब) हिंदी माध्यम कला के छात्र कंप्यूटर से इतना परिचित नहीं होते व उस पर लम्बे समय तक काम करने के अभ्यस्त नहीं होते|

 

यह जो नया पैटर्न है, इसने कोअचिंगवालों की महत्ता को काफी कम कर दिया है| इसने रटंत विद्या की भूमिका को कम किया है और गहन विश्लेषण और विषय को समझने की ज़रुरत को बढाया है| मेरा मानना है कि यह तो काफी अच्छे बदलाव हैं| मगर इसका एक जो साइड इफ़ेक्ट हुआ है वह यह है की ज अंग्रेजी माध्यम के कंप्यूटर से परिचित छात्र हैं वे तो नए पैटर्न के हिसाब से ढल गए हैं, मगर बहुत सारे हिंदी माध्यम कला के छात्र नहीं ढल पाए हैं| यह उन छात्रों की कोई गलती नहीं है और न ही UPSC की, इकोसिस्टम ही उनका साथ नहीं कर रहा|

 

Let me tell the reader that this shift in the nature of questions asked is not limited to the GS papers alone. Ask any Public Administration student of cse 2012 and she will tell you what happened in the paper. Look at this year’s History paper and 10 years earlier paper and you would realize what I am talking about. Even in Optional papers now, the questions asked are no longer the conventional ones! This is a highly desirable development. It has necessitated a deeper and more conceptual study of the subject. But the problem which Hindi medium students now face is lack of availability of high quality material. This is no fault of their or UPSC’s, just that the Hindi medium ecosystem is less supportive.

 

मैं यहाँ पर पाठकों को बता दूँ कि यह बदलाव सिर्फ GS के पेपर्स तक ही नहीं सीमित है| आप २०१२ में परीक्षा दिए लोक प्रशासन के किसी भी छात्र से पूछें और वह आपको बताएगा की उस वर्ष पेपर में क्या हुआ था| आप इस वर्ष का इतिहास का पेपर देखें और १० साल पहले का और आपको फरक स्वतः ही महसूस हो जाएगा| मतलब साफ़ है, अब तो ऑप्शनल में भी पारंपरिक तरीके के सवाल नहीं पूछे जा रहे हैं| यह फिर से एक काफी स्वागत योग्य बदलाव है| इसकी वजह से अब ज़रुरत है विषय को और भी गहराई में जाकर और समझ समझ कर पढने की| मगर अब हिंदी माध्यम वालों के सामने समस्या आ जाती है उच्च गुणवत्ता वाली अध्ययन सामग्री की| यह फिर से UPSC या छात्रों की गलती नहीं है, इकोसिस्टम ही उनका साथ नहीं दे रहा|

 

Similarly when it comes to marking, there is a perception among the student community now (I have no special knowledge or proof of anything here) that UPSC is not giving good marks for standard answers out of coachingwallahs material. It is rewarding in depth understanding and originality. This again is highly desirable.

 

इसी तरह से जब मार्क्स देने की बात आती है तो छात्रों का मानना है की UPSC आजकल कोचिंग वालों के नोट्स में से लिखे हुए उत्तरों पर अच्छे मार्क्स नहीं दे रही है (मेरे पास इस विषय में कोई special ज्ञान नहीं है और न ही कोई proof है, यह सिर्फ सुनी सुनाई बात है)| UPSC अब गहन समझ और मौलिकता पर अच्छे नंबर दे रही है| यदि ऐसा है तो क्या यह बहुत अच्छी बात नहीं है?

 

Similarly the dropping of an optional has also worked against coachingwallahs because while the role of coachings in GS has been substantially removed, it still remains somewhat significant in Optional (although reducing). This again is a highly desirable development. But as I argued earlier, a side effect of this has been a less supportive ecosystem for Hindi medium preparation.

 

ऐसे ही इस वर्ष से जो एक ऑप्शनल विषय हटाया गया है यह भी कोचिंगवालों के खिलाफ जाता है| ऐसा इसीलिए है क्योंकि जहाँ एक ओर GS में से कोचिंग की महत्ता काफी कम हो चुकी है, ऑप्शनल में यह अभी भी महत्व रखती है (हालाँकि घट रही है)| यह भी मेरे हिसाब से एक काफी प्रशंसा योग्य बदलाव है| मगर जैसा की मैंने पहले कहा था, इसका एक साइड इफ़ेक्ट हिंदी माध्यम के लिए अनुकूल नहीं जाता है|

 

Issue #7 Are These Hindi Medium Figures Real?

 

As pointed out by a dear friend of mine, Prem Ranjan, the figures quoted by the Andolankaris are misleading. The Andolankaris tell us that only 26 Hindi medium selections were there this year as a proof of discrimination against rural, hindi medium students and go on to claim that they are representatives of ALL rural, Hindi speaking class.

 

Hang on, these figures only tell us the total selections of people who APPEARED in this exam in Hindi medium. But is this the whole truth? What about those students who studied in villages, in hindi medium schools till 10th or 12th and only later on shifted to English in order to brighten their career prospects. (No one is denying that in the overall economy, English increases the chances of a brighter career.) My dear friend and roommate in IIT, Harikesh Meena, is from a village in Sawai Madhopur district in Rajasthan. His family was very poor. He studied all his life in Hindi medium. But after coming to IIT, he learnt English and then gave the civil service exam in English medium and became an IAS. Would the Andolankaris call him Hindi medium or English medium? Because the figures they quote for Hindi medium selections won’t include him. Then how can they claim to represent all village, Hindi medium youth? Similarly Prem Ranjan himself studied in Hindi medium school till 12th, yet gave this exam in English. My wife did her schooling in Hindi medium but went on to select English medium for higher studies. If she decides to write the exam tomorrow, will the Andolankaris count her in Hindi medium or English medium? My father himself is one such convert, Mr. Andolankaris!

 

And these are not isolated incidents. With the growth of job opportunities in private sector and that of higher education and the awareness about them in small towns and villages, more and more students from such rural / small town areas are converting to English medium for their graduation. The number of such converts has definitely gone up a lot in recent years. These converts, too, have faced all the difficulties which the rural, Hindi medium youth face. So ideally they should be counted in Hindi medium. But the figures which Andolankaris quote don’t include them and yet it is quite amusing that they claim to represent ALL rural, Hindi medium youth! Mr. Andolankaris, my humble request, please get your figures corrected or don’t make false claims.

 

मुद्दा #7 क्या यह हिंदी माध्यम वाले आंकड़े सही हैं?

 

मेरे प्रिय दोस्त श्री प्रेम रंजन जी ने मुझे हाल ही में बताया की आन्दोलनकारियों द्वारा बार बार दिए जा रहे आंकड़े भ्रामक हैं| आन्दोलनकारी हमको बार बार २६ हिंदी माध्यम चयन का आंकड़ा देकर बता रहे हैं की ग्रामीण हिंदी भाषी छात्रों के खिलाफ भेदभाव हो रहा है| साथ ही वे यह भी दावा करते हैं की वे ऐसे सभी ग्रामीण हिंदी भाषी छात्रों का प्रतिनिधित्व करते हैं|

 

लेकिन ज़रा ठहरिये, यह आंकड़े तो हमको सिर्फ उन लोगों के चयन बताते हैं जो की इस परीक्षा में हिंदी माध्यम से बैठे थे| पर क्या यह पूरी सच्चाई है? उन छात्रों का क्या जो की सारे स्कूल यानि दंसवी बारहवी तक गाँव के हिंदी माध्यम वाले स्कूल में ही पढ़े हैं मगर बाद में अंग्रेजी माध्यम में चले गए उच्चा सिक्षा हेतु एक उज्जवल भविष्य की कल्पना करके| (इस बात से तो कोई इंकार नहीं कर रहा की पूरी अर्थव्यवस्था को देखें तो अंग्रेजी से एक बेहतर करियर की सम्भावना बढ़ जाती है|) मेरा प्रिय मित्र और IIT में रूममेट, श्री हरिकेश मीणा, राजस्थान के सवाई माधोपुर ज़िले के एक छोटे से गाँव का है| उसका परिवार काफी गरीब भी था| उसने अपनी पूरी स्कूली शिक्षा हिंदी माध्यम से की| मगर IIT में आने के बाद उसने अंग्रेजी सीखी और बाद में सिविल सर्विसेज की परीक्षा भी अंग्रेजी में ही दी और IAS बना| मेरा आन्दोलनकारियों से प्रश्न है की आप उसको हिंदी माध्यम वाला कहेंगे या अंग्रेजी माध्यम वाला? क्योंकि जो आंकड़े आप बता रहे हैं हिंदी माध्यम के चयन वाले उनमें तो वो होगा ही नहीं| तब आप कैसे सारे ग्रामीण हिंदी माध्यम छात्रों के प्रतिनिधितव का दावा कर रहे हैं? इसी तरह श्री प्रेम रंजन भी खुद बारहवी तक हिंदी माध्यम स्कूल में ही पढ़ा था मगर फिर भी यह परीक्षा उसने अंग्रेजी माध्यम में ही दी| मेरी धरमपत्नी भी खुद अपनी सारी स्कूलिंग हिंदी माध्यम से ही की है मगर उच्च सिक्षा के लिए उसने अंग्रेजी सीखी और अब अंग्रेजी माध्यम से पढ़ रही है| अगर कल को वो यह परीक्षा लिखना चाहती है तो हे श्रीमान आन्दोलनकारी, आप उसको हिंदी माध्यम का बताएँगे या अंग्रेजी माध्यम का? वैसे आपकी जानकारी के लिए मेरे पिताजी भी सारी स्कूलिंग गाँव में हिंदी में करने के बाद उच्च शिक्षा के लिए अंग्रेजी में आए थे!

 

और आपको यह भी बता दूँ कि यह कोई इक्का दुक्का उदहारण नहीं हैं| हाल के वर्षों में जिस तरह से निजी क्षेत्र में नौकरियों के अवसर बढे हैं, जिस प्रकार से उच्च शिक्षा और उसके बार एमें जानकारी का प्रसार हुआ है गाँव और छोटे कस्बों में, अधिक से अधिक गाँव कस्बे के छात्र परिवर्तित हो रहे हैं| और ऐसे परिवर्तित लोगों की संख्या हाल ही के वर्षों में काफी बढ़ी ही है| यह परिवर्तित लोग भी आपके ग्रामीण हिंदी माध्यम वाले छात्रों की तरह ही सारा जीवन संघर्ष करके ही आए हैं| अतः इनकी गणना भी हिंदी माध्यम वाले छात्रों में ही होनी चाहिए, मगर अफ़सोस जो आंकड़े आप पेश करते हैं, श्रीमान आन्दोलनकारी, वो तो इनको शामिल ही नहीं करते| फिर भी हास्यास्पद है की आप सारे ग्रामीण हिंदी भाषी छात्रों का प्रतिनिधित्व करने का दावा करते हैं! मेरा आपसे सिर्फ एक ही निवेदन है, या तो अपने आंकड़े सही कीजिये या फिर फर्जी दावे न कीजिये|

 

Issue #8 So What Should be Done?

 

I have already suggested the kind of changes we should make in the CSAT. In fact, if you read both the Hindi and English versions of this article, you may agree with the point I was making in 1st article i.e. easy translation can solve a lot of problems.

 

With regards to the unfavorable ecosystem due to changing pattern, I would reiterate – it is no fault of UPSC, nor is it of students. What Hindi medium UPSC students really need is accessibility to quality books, newspaper editorials, study material and internet in easy Hindi. I have been trying to get in touch with Hindi medium toppers and get them to share their book list and strategy. If the Andolankaris really care about the students, then they too should do whatever they can to make as much of quality material accessible to students as possible. If nothing else, open a coaching where you use the internet, English newspapers, English books etc. and make the relevant material available to the students. There would be a great market for quality work I can assure you. Countless Hindi medium students have lost a lot of precious time in recent drama. Let us work, together, instead to really make the ecosystem better for them. Let us work, together, to remove the disabilities they presently suffer from the very beginning. Stop this fight and use the energy constructively.

 

मुद्दा #8 तो क्या किया जाए?

 

मैं ऊपर CSAT में लाये जाने वाले बदलावों के बारे में चर्चा कर चूका हूँ| वैसे यदि आप इस लेख के हिंदी और अंग्रेजी, दोनों संस्करण पढ़ें तो आप खुद समझ सकते हैं की आसान अनुवाद कितनी सारी समस्याएं हल कर सकता है|

 

और जहाँ तक बात हिंदी माध्यम के छात्रों के लिए प्रतिकूल इकोसिस्टम की है, मैं फिर से कहना चाहूँगा – इसमें न तो UPSC की कोई गलती है और न ही छात्रों की| UPSC की तैय्यारी करने वाले हिंदी माध्यम छात्रों को असल में ज़रुरत है उच्च गुणवत्ता वाली किताबों की, अच्छे अख़बार वाले संपादकीयों की, बढ़िया सामग्री की और आसान हिंदी में internet की| मैं अपनी तरफ से कोशिश कर रहा हूँ हिंदी माध्यम वाले toppers से संपर्क कर उनकी बुक-लिस्ट और तैय्यारी की रणनीति को छात्रों तक पहुँचाने की| यदि आन्दोलनकारी भी सही मायने में छात्रों की परवाह करते हैं तो वे भी उच्च गुणवत्ता वाली पढाई की सामग्री को हिंदी माध्यम के छात्रों तक पहुँचाने का हर संभव प्रयास करें| और कुछ नहीं तो आप एक कोचिंग ही खोल लें जहाँ आप internet, अंग्रेजी अख़बार और किताबों आदि से काम की सामग्री लेकर छात्रों तक पहुंचाएं| मैं आपको कह सकता हूँ गुणवत्ता के लिए एक बड़ा बाज़ार रहेगा| असंख्य हिंदी माध्यम वाले छात्र हाल के घटनाचक्र में अपना बेशकीमती समय बर्बाद कर चुके हैं| इस से तो अच्छा है आईये साथ मिलकर उनके लिए इकोसिस्टम बेहतर बनाने की कोशिश करें| आईये साथ मिलें और उनकी उन मुश्किलों को दूर करने की कोशिश करें जिनका उनको बचपन से सामना करना पड़ता है| आईये लड़ना बंद करें और कुछ रचनात्मक करें|

 

*****************

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

 

Appendix 1 Comparison of GS Mains Papers from 2004 and 2013

 

Civil Services 2004 GS Mains Paper 1 Questions


Both parts of the above question require deep analysis. Answers can’t be found in any single book / magazine / coaching material. So our ‘knowledge powerhouse’ candidate will still have to analyze. Information determined = 0 marks, Analysis determined = 30 marks.

 

All three parts above are knowledge determined and can be easily found in any standard book / material. Our candidate is happy. Information determined = 30 marks, Analysis determined = 30 marks.

 

These are again knowledge determined questions. Information determined = 60 marks, Analysis determined = 30 marks.

 

Part a) and b) above are knowledge based questions, though c) requires analysis. So our encyclopedic candidate will crawl through by attempting parts a) and b). This adds 20 marks to his performance. Information determined = 80 marks, Analysis determined = 30 marks.

 

These are totally knowledge based. 10 more marks for knowledge determined. Score now stands Information determined = 90 marks, Analysis determined = 30 marks.

Part a) here is knowledge based. It can be found in any standard polity book / coaching material. Part b) is unconventional and requires analysis. So our knowledge powerhouse will simply attempt part a) and manage through. Information determined = 120 marks, Analysis determined = 30 marks.

 

Although both parts require deep knowledge on the part of the candidate, yet my experience tells me this information cannot be found in any one place. For example, in part a) the information is scattered everywhere in the constitution in terms of equal rights for minorities, backward classes, women, children, equality and equal protection of laws, secularism, socialism, political equality and so on. Answering this would require great application of mind. Similarly part b) too is scattered as it doesn’t merely talk about UPSC. Also it is not a conventionally asked topic. So our student cannot escape here and will have to use her analytical skills. Information determined = 120 marks, Analysis determined = 60 marks.

 

All parts above are very standard and can be found in any standard book / material. Information determined = 150 marks, Analysis determined = 60 marks.

These are purely knowledge based question requiring no analysis. Information determined = 160 marks, Analysis determined = 60 marks.

 

Although part a) requires fair bit of analysis and mere knowledge of the Punjab Assembly’s action is not enough, part b) will provide escape route to our knowledge powerhouse student. She will attempt part b) using her vast amount of knowledge on PURA found from magazines. Information determined = 190 marks, Analysis determined = 60 marks.

 

Here parts a) and b) can be attempted purely based on knowledge and answers to these are found in standard UPSC preparation material and magazines. Part c) requires analysis but given the freedom to attempt any 2 questions, our student will simply attempt a) and b) and sail through. Information determined = 210 marks, Analysis determined = 60 marks.

 

Here parts a) and b) are unconventional type. They can’t be found in any single place and also require lot of application of mind on part of the candidate. Part c) however is standard knowledge based question. Our knowledge storehouse will attempt either one of a) and b) and then attempt c). So 10 marks to Information determined and 10 marks to Analysis determined. Information determined = 220 marks, Analysis determined = 70 marks.

These are pure knowledge questions. Thus our knowledge candidate has managed to attempt 230 marks questions based on her knowledge primarily and had to face only 70 marks worth of unconventional questions.

 

Now let us look at 2013 paper. Let us pick up GS Mains Paper 3.

 

1.    With a consideration towards the strategy of inclusive growth, the new Companies Bill, 2013 has indirectly made CSR a mandatory obligation. Discuss the challenges expected in its implementation in right earnest. Also discuss other provisions in the Bill and their implications. (200 words)

 

This question gives the knowledge component needed in the question itself i.e. CSR a mandatory obligation. First part asks for the challenges, which requires analysis. In the second part apart from listing the other provisions, we will have to give implications as well. So part of it is knowledge and part is analysis. So Information determined = 2.5 marks, Analysis determined = 7.5 marks.

 

2. What were the reasons for the introduction of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2013? Discuss critically its salient features and their effectiveness. (200 words)

 

Reasons for introduction require analysis. Similarly second part is not about just listing the salient features, it is about critically examining them and also their effectiveness. So overall an analysis based question. Information determined = 2.5 marks, Analysis determined = 17.5 marks.

 

3.    What is the meaning of the term ‘tax expenditure’? Taking housing sector as an example, discuss how it influences the budgetary policies of the government. (200 words)

 

First part of the question is knowledge based. However, second part is analysis. Information determined = 7.5 marks, Analysis determined = 22.5 marks.

 

4.    Food Security Bill is expected to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in India. Critically discuss various apprehensions in its effective implementation along with the concerns it has generated in WTO. (200 words)

 

This is purely analytical question. Presentation of thoughts is more important here. Information determined = 7.5 marks, Analysis determined = 32.5 marks.

 

5.    What are the different types of agriculture subsidies given to farmers at the national and at state levels? Critically analyse the agricultural subsidy regime with reference to the distortions created by it. (200 words)

 

Part 1 is purely knowledge based. Part 2 is analysis. Information determined = 12.5 marks, Analysis determined = 37.5 marks.

 

6.    India needs to strengthen measures to promote the pink revolution in food industry for ensuring better nutrition and health. Critically elucidate the statement. (200 words)

 

Here the knowledge of what Pink Revolution is, is very important. But that alone is not sufficient. One would then have to critically examine all its aspects. So part knowledge, part analysis. Information determined = 17.5 marks, Analysis determined = 42.5 marks.

 

7.    Examine the impact of liberalization on companies owned by Indians. Are they competing with the MNCs satisfactorily? Discuss. (200 words)

 

This is totally an unconventional question, the answer of which cannot be found in any single standard UPSC preparation place. Information determined = 17.5 marks, Analysis determined = 52.5 marks.

 

8.    Establish relationship between land reforms, agricultural productivity and elimination of poverty in the Indian economy. Discuss the difficulties in designing and implementation of agriculture – friendly land reforms in India. (200 words)

 

This again is an analytical question. Advantage of knowledge is limited, how we structure and present our thoughts is more important. Information determined = 17.5 marks, Analysis determined = 62.5 marks.

 

9.    a) Discuss the impact of FDI entry into Multi-trade retail sector on supply chain management in commodity trade pattern of the economy. (100 words)

9.    b) Though India allowed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in what is called multi-brand retail through the joint venture route in September 2012, the FDI, even after a year, has not picked up. Discuss the reasons. (100 words)

 

The answers to these questions would be scattered over numerous newspaper and internet articles. Not a standard question requiring bookish knowledge. Information determined = 17.5 marks, Analysis determined = 72.5 marks.

 

10.    Discuss the rationale for introducing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India. Bring out critically the reasons for the delay in roll out for its regime. (200 words)

 

Again the answer can’t be found in any single source and needs application of mind. Information determined = 17.5 marks, Analysis determined = 82.5 marks.

 

11.    Write a note on India’s green energy corridor to alleviate the problem of conventional energy. (200 words)

 

This is a knowledge based question. Information determined = 27.5 marks, Analysis determined = 82.5 marks.

 

12.    Adoption of PPP model for infrastructure development of the country has not been free of criticism. Critically discuss the pros and cons of the model. (200 words)

 

Here knowledge is not a key factor. Everybody knows everything in the answer. Key is presentation and structuring. Information determined = 27.5 marks, Analysis determined = 92.5 marks.

 

13.    Bringing out the circumstances in 2005 which forced amendment to the section 3(d) in Indian Patent Law, 1970, discuss how it has been utilized by the Supreme Court in its judgement in rejecting Novartis’ patent application for ‘Glivec’. Discuss briefly the pros and cons of the decision. (200 words)

 

Circumstances are knowledge based. But the decision itself is common knowledge and so to answer part 2 (pros and cons) no special knowledge is needed. So 5 marks each to both categories. Information determined = 32.5 marks, Analysis determined = 97.5 marks.

 

14.    What do you understand by Fixed Dose drug Combinations (FDCs)? Discuss their merits and demerits. (200 words)

 

Knowledge is the key determinant here for both parts. Information determined = 42.5 marks, Analysis determined = 97.5 marks.

 

15.    What do you understand by Umpire Decision Review System in cricket? Discuss its various components. Explain how silicone tape on the edge of a bat may fool the system? (200 words)

 

UDRS for an Indian is common knowledge (every second person plays cricket!). Answer to silicone tape part would not have been found in conventional sources. Overall, an unconventional question. Information determined = 42.5 marks, Analysis determined = 107.5 marks.

 

16.    a) What is a digital signature? What does its authentication mean? Give various salient built-in features of a digital signature. (100 words)

16.    b) How does the 3D printing technology work? List out the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. (100 words)

 

This is information based. Information determined = 52.5 marks, Analysis determined = 107.5 marks.

 

17.    a) What is an FRP composite material? How are they manufactured? Discuss their application in aviation and automobile industries. (100 words)

17.    b) What do you understand by Run-of-river hydroelectricity project? How is it different from any other hydroelectricity project? (100 words)

 

Part a) is a knowledge based question. Part b) is not commonly found (although we keep reading about run of river projects but the question is on their differences from other projects). So it is unconventional. Information determined = 57.5 marks, Analysis determined = 112.5 marks.

 

18.    How important are vulnerability and risk assessment for pre-disaster management? As an administrator, what are key areas that you would focus on in a Disaster Management System? (200 words)

 

There is no special knowledge required here. Application of mind before writing is more important. Information determined = 57.5 marks, Analysis determined = 122.5 marks.

 

19.    What are the consequences of Illegal mining? Discuss the Ministry of Environment and Forest’s concept of GO AND NO GO zones for coal mining sector. (200 words)

 

Part 1 of the question is generic and no special knowledge is required. To answer part 2, one needs to know what GO and NO GO zones are, but that knowledge alone is not sufficient to answer the question. One needs to analyze its pros and cons. Hence application of mind is required too. Information determined = 60 marks, Analysis determined = 130 marks.

 

20.    Enumerate the National Water Policy of India. Taking river Ganges as an example, discuss the strategies which may be adopted for river water pollution control and management. What are the legal provisions of management and handling of hazardous wastes in India? (200 words)

 

This is a knowledge based question. Information determined = 70 marks, Analysis determined = 130 marks.

 

21.    Money laundering poses a serious security threat to a country’s economic sovereignty. What is its significance for India and what steps are required to be taken to control this menace? (200 words)

 

Here knowledge alone doesn’t give any significant advantage. Analysis is required to answer it. Information determined = 70 marks, Analysis determined = 140 marks.

 

22.    What are social networking sites and what security implications do these sites present? (200 words)

 

No special knowledge needed. Analysis required. Information determined = 70 marks, Analysis determined = 150 marks.

 

23.    Cyber warfare is considered by some defense analysts to be a larger threat than even Al Qaeda or terrorism. What do you understand by Cyber warfare? Outline the cyber threats which India is vulnerable to and bring out the state of the country’s preparedness to deal with the same. (200 words)

 

What is cyber warfare and cyber threats is common knowledge. Country’s preparedness can’t be found in any single source and is scattered here and there. Information determined = 70 marks, Analysis determined = 160 marks.

 

24.    Article 244 of the Indian Constitution relates to administration of schedules area and tribal areas.  Analyse the impact of non-implementation of the provisions of the Fifth schedule on the growth of Left Wing extremism. (200 words)

 

One needs to know the provisions of 5th schedule here, but that knowledge alone is not sufficient. Analysis is equally important. So Information determined = 75 marks, Analysis determined = 165 marks.

 

25.    How far are India’s internal security challenges linked with border management particularly in view of the long porous borders with most countries of South Asia and Myanmar? (200 words)

 

This is totally an unconventional question and requires deep analysis. So Information determined = 75 marks, Analysis determined = 175 marks. Thus we see our knowledge student will have an advantage in only 75 marks worth questions in the new pattern.

From Macaulay Putra, With Love… Part 1

Disclaimer:

  1. This article is not meant for sentimental fanatics – either this side or that side. This is meant for only reasonable, practical human beings – which I believe any common man is.
  2. Views expressed here are personal. Forgive me for anything wrong here.

This is first in a multi – part series. As I started writing, I realized this issue is so long and involves so many aspects that it would not be feasible to put it in single article. Request you to please wait for the other parts before firing the gun.

Toppers come and go every year. Many earn many well deserved distinctions over their lives, but unfortunately I have already earned one – though out of circumstances totally beyond my control. I am the MOST HATED topper in recent memory. They call me Macaulay Putra… So here is my reply…

 

Issue # 1 Faulty Translation

There can be no argument against the demand that translation should be proper. Improper translation is an injustice and should not be there. However, as I said in the disclaimer, lets not be fanatics – either this side or that side. Lets look at the issue being reasonable human beings which I believe a common man is.

 

I decided to myself take a look at some UPSC CSAT papers. Request the Andolankaris to please tell me where did “Steel ka paudha” and “uttari khamba” appear in any of the CSAT papers as claimed by them.

 

Then I moved on to the GS mains papers and did find some discrepancies which the Andolankaris were citing. Example, the famous PPP translated as “gair sarkari bhagidari” (GS Mains Paper 3, 2013).

The translation is improper, no doubt. But tell me one thing – which hindi medium student of graduate level (graduation is the minimum qualification requirement for giving the exam!) today will not know what PPP is? Look at the hindi version of the question… PPP is given in brackets right next to “gair sarkari”. The hindi medium student doesn’t even need to look at the English version to see that the question is on PPP. Its given right there – right in front of her eyes. As I said, lets not be fanatics, lets be reasonable, practical human beings. So is this really an injustice of such gross magnitude as was being pointed out by the great andolankari leaders on the TV?

 

(Side note: Andolankaris say UPSC uses google translator to translate English into Hindi. I tried to do the same with PPP and the result is below! Google translator would have given the correct translation at least in this case :-p)

Anyways, its not always that the Hindi translation is worse. Look at the example below (GS Mains Paper 3, 2013). I remember this because I was an idiot and found the English translation very confusing and so wrote about multi brand FDI’s impact on India’s foreign trade and got it wrong. On the other hand, the Hindi version of the question is very clear on what it asks.

 

In the same paper (GS Mains Paper 3, 2013), there was the another famous andolankari example of land reforms being translated as “aarthik sudhar” (see below). Clearly the translation is wrong (actually they didn’t translate it as aarthik sudhar, they simply missed out the word bhumi and left only sudhar) and changes the meaning of the question. Even though land reforms is very easy English and one could simply read the English version in case of confusion in this case, but I understand in exam conditions, reading the other medium version is not practical. Appropriate policy should be framed to compensate Hindi medium students who attempt such questions.

 

Carrying on the same translation issue, another demand of the andolankaris (source: Vikas Divyakirti’s post on his timeline) is as follows:

The underlying grievance behind this demand is that when translated from English, the Hindi version loses the original “bhaav” (idea/intention) of the English version. So the passage becomes very mechanical for the Hindi students. I decided to read all the Hindi passages of 2013’s CSAT paper. I am sorry, I found that the original idea/intention was understandable from the Hindi passage. I did face difficulties, but they were not in understanding the bhaav of the passage, but in understanding various difficult Hindi words. And this is not any fault of UPSC, those translated words are correct – pure Hindi. The real problem is that these pure Hindi words are so difficult! In the name of purification of the language, our Hindi linguists actually took the language far away from the common people. Its their fault due to which Hindi medium students are suffering in this case. The translations would have been much easier to comprehend for the Hindi medium student if they had been in her language – which is “Hinglish”. Tell me, even in villages people today find it easier to say motorcycle or railway station or bus or file today or their Hindi versions? And here we are talking about graduates! If we can’t give Hinglish translations, then we should at least give the corresponding easy English words in brackets right next to the difficult Hindi words (like the PPP example above). That should take care of the grievance. Let us not be fanatics – lets be reasonable and practical.

 

Obviously there is nothing wrong in having original text in Hindi and then the translation in English if the translation is made easy. But the point is the need for it won’t arise if issues in present translation are fixed. The other suggestion in the image above that the passages in Hindi and English be different albeit of same difficulty would add an element of subjectivity and controversy in the paper and hence should be avoided if other solutions can be found.

Issue #2 Difficult Maths, Giving Unfair Advantage to Engineers / Doctors / Science Students

First of all, let us not mix Maths questions with Reasoning questions. Maths is separate and reasoning is separate. There is no Maths in finding out mere chacha k mama ki ladki ka beta mera kya lagega. This part deals only with Maths issue, reasoning will be dealt with separately.

Then I decided to look at the CSAT 2013 paper to see how much and what level Maths is asked. I found a total of 16 Maths questions asked (out of which 5 were graph interpretation) – Q 28, 35, 36, 49, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66. Lets not talk in air and look at the difficulty level of these questions.

This is a basic LCM question, something which is taught in middle school, if not earlier. It is also present in any standard book for CSAT preparation and I believe no serious UPSC student who prepared CSAT, would not know this concept. The groups meet every 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 days, we have to find the LCM of this which is 60 (6 is divisible by 2, 3 so we don’t have to worry about them. 5 and 6 multiple is 30 but 4 doesn’t divide 30. 30 * 2 is 60, 4 divides 60, so great our LCM is 60 – with just basic multiplication we have got this. 180/60 is 3, so our answer is 3).

 

This is again a very basic question. Net speed between thief and policeman is 2 km/hr (10 – 2 as they are running in same direction). In 1 hour, 2000 m distance would have been reduced (net speed is 2 km/hr). Distance between them is 100 m which is 1/20th of 2000 m. So time taken would be 1/20th of 1 hour = 3 min.

 

We can go on and on like this, the point is barring 1-2, most of these Maths questions are really simple questions the likes of which can be found in any basic CSAT book. If one can prepare the difficult constitution, history, geography questions but not these simple ones in one year of her preparation, I am afraid it has got nothing to do with the inherent difficulty in these but the flawed priorities / lack of will power / laziness on the part of the student.

 

I can very well understand that many students may not like Maths and hate doing it. But this is no excuse for not studying it. I never liked marketing in MBA and absolutely loathed it – there is still that feeling of instant repulsion in my mind when I recollect what was written in those marketing books and what was taught in those classes. But still inside the IIM, I got the highest marks in the entire batch in each and every single quiz/exam taken in all the marketing courses I had to do in the first year and my marketing CGPA was 10.0 – higher than my Finance / Economics CGPA.

 

Issue #3 Logic Questions in CSAT

These questions test the basic IQ / intelligence (as we commonly define in day to day language) of a person. There are two kind of opponents to this portion of CSAT among the Andolankaris. The first raise question marks over the very necessity of having logic based questions in the exam. Read the following 2 comments (Source: FB pages of Chhatra Adhikar Manch / Vikas Divyakriti)

 

This person tries to raise stakes by saying that because earlier CSAT wasn’t there, so does this mean earlier civil servants were less intelligent? Also don’t we have faith in the IAS training institute? We can always train the selected candidates later in logic and reasoning.

To the first argument, I would like to give an analogy from the world of cricket. Earlier there was only test cricket and then came one day cricket and now 20-20. Now for the first 20-20 world cup held in 2007, when the team was selected, it was selected based obviously on one day cricket performances (because there was no 20-20 cricket before that). But does this mean that those players we selected for 20-20 based upon their performance in one day cricket were necessarily bad at playing 20-20? No, right? Because 20-20 or one day, it is still cricket. Both are related. If one is good in one day cricket, there is a fair probability she would also be good in 20-20 cricket. So many good 20-20 players were selected this way.

 

But is this the best way of selecting team for 20-20 for subsequent world cups also? A BIG NO!! A better way is obviously to select 20-20 players based on their 20-20 performances because it directly tests their 20-20 skills. As time passed, we began to have more 20-20 tournaments like IPL and can now select our national 20-20 team based upon 20-20 performances. So while we were throwing up many good 20-20 players by earlier selection process, the later selection process is definitely an improvement. We can’t argue against the later process by asking were the earlier players bad! Coming to our case, while the earlier process threw up many intelligent and high IQ officers, the newer process is still an improvement because it tests the intelligence/IQ more directly! Of course, if one believes that IQ / intelligence is not a required trait for civil services, then I have no answer.

 

Taking up the next argument that we can train the officers later for logic in LBSNAA (IAS training institute), I would say this argument can be extended to any and all subjects / skills. Why test polity then, we can train the officers in polity in LBSNAA, why test economy we can always train them later! Why have an entrance exam at all then!! :-D

 

The person in the following comment negates the need of such questions by arguing that people who get selected this way are good in clerical skills but poor in administrative skills.

 

To the above line of thought, I would simply apologize and say, I don’t know which research in the world proves this correlation, let alone the causation, that people with higher IQ lack administrative skills.

 

Then the second kind of opponents to these questions do accept the importance of testing logical abilities of the candidates but only question the high number of such questions asked (and hence higher weightage in the selection process). Following post by Vikas Divyakriti is an example of this thought.

 

He goes on to say the following… (increase weightage of questions based on administrative decision making)

Well, how much weightage should be given to which section is a subjective matter. Everybody will have a different opinion on it. So please let the experts decide on that – not the students.

 

Issue #4 Is it Really Hindi vs English?

 

                

 

As you can see above, the Andolankaris from the beginning of the protests itself have projected the issue as a language issue. Apart from explicit language based posters like above in their rallies, they have time and again said that Hindi medium selections have dropped drastically after the introduction of CSAT. They have been saying that the situation was so bad this year that only 26 Hindi medium candidates were selected out of 1122 total selections.

 

The Andolankaris know that language politics sells in India. That is why they projected it as a Hindi (and other regional languages) issue from the beginning. They were successful also. Major Hindi electronic and print media aired many programs / articles projecting it as a discrimination against Hindi issue as they wanted. Many politicians took notice too and some even took part in their rallies. In the below pictures you can see that the student groups like ABVP and NSUI are even leading the protests now (when many Hindi medium aspirants – who have actually filled this year’s form and intend to appear for the exam – are themselves busy studying for the exam)!

 

 

Interestingly, look at the following post by Vikas ji on his timeline after the government decided to scrap those 8 English questions for which no Hindi translation was given.


This is really amusing. Right from the beginning, Andolankaris themselves projected it as a Hindi vs English issue (to gain media and political support) as the above pictures show. The posters clearly show the andolankaris tried to make a sentimental appeal in the name of language. And now when your projection misfired and the government didn’t give you all you wanted, you are blaming it on ‘the other side’ that they were trying to kill your andolan by wrongly projecting it as a language issue!! I understand that if one reads all your demands he/she can understand that its not a language issue, but cm’on you yourself projected it like that.

 

Anyways, citing the falling results of Hindi medium students merely proves correlation, and not causation. Yes less Hindi medium students are getting selected after CSAT, but may be this is not because they are Hindi medium but because of some other factor which they may have in common. It is a known fact that most engineering, medical and management courses are in English, so this implies that most Hindi medium students are from Humanities. May be Hindi medium selections are falling because they are from Humanities and not because they are from Hindi medium.

 

I think this is the case. This issue is more of a humanities vs engineers / doctors / science issue. But of course, you knew this would not get you the political support and media attention, that is why you chose from the beginning to project it as a language issue. Now that the milk has turned sour, please don’t cry.

 

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

Editorial: Open Letter from Justice Shiv Kumar (High Court) and Reply

After the IAS result, Justice Shiv Kumar wrote an open letter to me through the editorial page of Rajasthan Patrika (popular hindi newspaper in Rajasthan). In the letter he cautioned me against the challenges which lie ahead. I then replied to it which was published in the editorial page of Rajasthan Patrika too.

Reproducing both in this blog.

Open Letter from Justice Shiv Kumar

Letter part 1

Letter part 2

My reply

My Reply

My UPSC Marks – CSE 2013

Hello friends

Below is the distribution of my marks

Essay: 135 / 250

GS 1: 85 / 250
GS 2: 63 / 250
GS 3: 88 / 250
GS 4: 102 / 250
Total GS: 338 / 1000

Optional (Economics)
Economics 1: 134 / 250
Economics 2: 162 / 250
Total Economics: 296 / 500

Total Written: 769 / 1750

Interview (Dr. Kilemsungla board): 206 / 275

Total: 975 / 2025

Rank 1

*******************************************************

Last Year’s Marks

Essay: 82 / 200
GS: 173 / 600
History Optional: 234 / 600
Economics Optional: 280 / 600

Written Total: 769 / 2000

Interview (IMG Khan Board): 210 / 300

Total: 979 / 2300

Rank 244

UPSC Interview 2014: Dr. Kilemsungla Board

Disclaimer: The below has been produced from memory only. It may not be accurate.

*******************************************************************************************
Overall interview was very cordial. Whatever be the marks, at least beizzati nahi hui :-).

*******************************************************************************************

Cp: XXX, you did this, did that, worked here…why left that job for civil services?
Me: mam, it was due to a combination of professional and personal reasons. The professional reasons include the mature of the civil services job. It gives a wide scope for public service, it gives wide decision making powers at our age, it is so challenging and dynamic. Personal reasons included I wanted to come back to India, parental aspirations and also this job has a lot of respect in the society.

Cp: didn’t you like that job? There was so much money as well.
Me: mam, money is not everything. I realised that when one has to work for 30-35 years money cannot be the motivation. One has to look at larger things, so I switches because of factors mentioned earlier.

Cp: What has been the role of media in influencing people in the elections gone by?
Me: Media played a very important role. For example, the way it covered Mr. Modi’s Varanasi road show… the way it was showing the massive crowd… all swayed the people. What was happening in UP was being seen right in our rooms 24×7 in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, all over India. Moreover, there was massive advertising campaign.

M1: what are biosphere reserves?
Me: they are regions of great ecological significance so notified by the government.

M1: difference between biosphere reserves, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries?
Me: Sir I am not very clear about it, but from what I know, sanctuaries are notified as such by the state government, and biosphere reserves by the central government.

M1: And the national parks?
Me: Sorry sir, I don’t know.

M1: You are from Bharatpur?
Me: Sir I was born there…

M1: Bharatpur has a national park or sanctuary?
Me: A national park… Keoladeo National Park

M1: have u been there?
Me: Yes sir, Bharatpur is my nanihal… so as a child I used to go there on morning walk with my nanaji (grandparent).

M1: how should we protect environment?
Me: First we need to empower and involve the local communities. Because they are the ones who are closest to forests, know best about it and are dependent upon it. On the contrary, our laws tend to centralize powers in the hands of the forest department. Second, we need to change our accounting system to one which includes the value of ecological services. Right now it is only GDP where these ecological services are given zero weight. We need to give these services a tangible value in project appraisals.

M1: In project appraisals, what are the social costs?
Me: Typical project appraisals only capture the market prices or costs to private parties. Social costs are the costs to the society. There may be instances where the cost to private party may be different from the cost to the society. For example, if a project is being setup which will lead to migration, the cost of migration for the private operator may be taken as 0, but it will have real costs on society in terms of destruction of family structure, destruction of social capital…

M2: u acted n edited a movie in the college. What was it?
Me: It was a small movie we made based on then released Kaante. :-) We were a group of students studying in our college who get caught by the dean while cheating in an exam. The dean expels us. So we decide to take a revenge on the professors by looting the bank where they used to keep their savings. :-) We get caught doing that also and end up as sweeper, waiter etc.

Cp: How did you loot the bank? Through computers?
Me: No mam, we looted it physically like in the movie kaante. :-)

M2: what was the message of the movie?
Me: It was a fun movie sir.

M2: fun movie.. Still there would be some message.
Me: :-) Sir the message was that if one resorts to shortcuts in life, bad things happens to him ultimately. :-)

M2: You talked about media earlier. Social media.. what is it and what are its pros and cons?
Me: Social media is via internet, sites like facebook, twitter, google, blogs where users can share and interact. Its advantage is that it can preserve freedom of speech, specially in cases of autocratic government. For instance, in Turkey, the government tried to curb Twitter but it failed. Now this advantage also leads to its disadvantage. Because of the anonymity it offers and difficulty in suppressing its content… if we suppress one handle, people can create a new one and publish… it can lead to many problems. We saw last year how it led to exodus of people of North East from Bangalore, Pakistan uses it to flare up communal tensions in India…

M2: u blog… What do u blog about?
Me: I write about the things which I am doing, my observations, inferences, learnings. For example, the last blog I wrote was on the budget and economy of India, what are the challenges, what should be done. When I used to work in XXX, I used to write about markets, how to trade.

M2: u want to write a book.. What kind of book?
Me: :-) Sir, I presently write about things I see, my inferences and observations. So the book would be about that only.. what I see and learn in the field over next 10-15 years.. the problems I see and what policy measures we can adopt to solve them.

M2: u have a well built body n good height… Don’t you play any sports?
Me: (I was thinking I played so many sports, but to answer like that may expose me to questions from any sport) Sir I used to play football in college.

Cp: Yes he has mentioned that in the form…

M2: what position in football?
Me: I was the goalkeeper.

M2: don’t you play cricket?
Me: Yes sir, but only at the gully, street level.

M2: what is the role of the leg umpire?
Me: Sir, first if there is any overhead wide, then he calls it because he is in a better position to see. Then in case of runouts, he can see better. Finally, if the main umpire has any doubts, he can assist him.

M2: should,’t we replace umpire by technology?
Me: There would be practical problems in that. The decision of the third umpire comes after a lot of delay. So if we keep referring each appeal to the third umpire, there would be too many breaks in the game. Secondly, even the technology is not so accurate and we have seen some glaring errors being committed by it.

M3: (Some long story of Bangalore local government acquiring land for a foreign company) government acquiring land for private companies.. Isn’t this abuse of governmental power?
Me: Sir, if we leave land entirely to private players i.e. the private company buys it directly from the owners, there would be a market failure. Because say a company wants 100 acres to build a factory and buys 99 acres. The remaining 1 acre guy would get a veto power on the project. He may say give me 10 times the price of land otherwise you will not have your project. So we need governmental intervention in acquisition of land. But the real issue here is that the original owners must get full compensation and rehabilitation. What we should do is to give a part of the developed land back to the original owners… the value of developed land is generally much more than that of undeveloped land… this way even they can become stakeholders in growth and there won’t be any protests and development can happen.

M3: difference between vision. Mission, aims and objectives?
Me: Sir vision is at the top… its the broad overarching destination.. for example, the government can have the vision that the governance reaches to that last person.. the poorest man. Mission are the strategies which one can adopt to reach vision. The mission can be, use of technology for better delivery of services, climate friendly (:O I don’t know how this came to my mind) mission, poverty elimination mission…

M3: Aims and objectives?
Me: (thinking and trying) Aim could be we will reduce poverty by 2% per annum.

M3: Isn’t that target?
Me: Sorry sir, I am unable to tell about aims and objectives.

M3: difference between planned and market economy?
Me: Market economy is one where private sector plays a dominant role. The decisions of price and quantity produced are governed by market forces of supply and demand. Planned economy is like the one we have. There can be 2 types… one we had before 1991 where state was dominant, it used to fix the price and quantity produced mainly via PSUs. Then after 1991, we have moved to indicative planning.

M3: what are SEZs and your view on it?
Me: SEZs are special economic zones where the private operators are given a host of incentives to operate. It was a good concept… We have seen how SEZs have led to huge development in China. But the SEZ policy has come in for criticism that it has become a land grab scheme. Private operators are acquiring land in the name of SEZ but are not setting up any industry there, merely using it for real estate. Then the idea behind SEZ was to provide good infrastructure facilities also. But the size of our SEZs is so small. China has 5-6 large SEZs where it has provided all facilities.

What we really need is a proper implementation of the policy. We need to have a few large SEZs instead of hundreds of small ones and then provide good governance and infrastructure there.

M4: your hobby is following macroeconomy and forming trading views. How?
Me: Sir I used to do this earlier in my job.

M4: but that was ur job, not hobby..
Me: Yes sir, earlier it was my job. But after quitting, I have pursued it as a hobby.

M4: Do you know about the trends in TV sector? Do you watch TV?
Me: No sir, not much (watch). As for the trends, I don’t know about the individual companies but for the sector overall…

M4: ownership of media houses (Ambani deal) by corporates and politicians. There was a news even today. Is such a thing dangerous for economy, for democracy?
Me: Yes sir, it is very dangerous for the economy and democracy because freedom of media may be compromised. Most of these media houses are running into losses which lead them prone to such acquisitions.

M4: The media can also blackmail the government and corporates..
Me: Yes sir, and as we saw in the coal scam coverage last year, Zee news was accused of demanding bribes from Jindal for suppressing the adverse coverage.

M4: can we prevent it? How?
Me: By separating the editor team from owners.

M4: but is separation of editing team and management possible? How is it possible when both are in the same company?
Me: It is possible. In my previous job, there was a part of the bank which worked closely with companies and had access to private information. We, on the other hand, were on the public side and had no such access. This separation was made possible by our internal compliance team, auditors and central bank. Similarly in media, this separation should be enforced by their compliance, auditors and an external regulatory agency.

M4: what are the things the new government should be doing in the economy?
Me: Sir, firstly, the new government should address the policy issues. For example, retrospective taxation, increasing fdi, cutting red tape, giving more confidence to bureaucrats…

M4: but they are against fdi in retail.
Me: Yes sir, FDI in retail is a bit of a grey area. But in other sectors, they are saying to allow FDI up to 49% via automatic route except for 3-4 sectors. Even in defence they are allowing FDI up to 49, 74 and 100% depending upon the kind of technology which is brought in.

M4: what other things?
Me: They should control the fiscal deficit. Although the previous government claimed reduction of headline number to 4.6%, but the quality of this fiscal deficit adjustment has been doubted by many experts. They say the government has merely pushed many subsidies to the next year. So some of these subsidies have to be removed.

M4: which subsidy they should remove?
Me: The fuel subsidy…

M4: won’t increasing diesel prices lead to higher inflation? There are so many critical sectors like railways, trucks which need it.
Me: Sir there are 2 things here. One, yes higher diesel prices will push up inflation, but at the same time, the reduction of fiscal deficit due to lower subsidy will have a reducing effect on inflation and will offset at least a part of it. Next, what we can do is that we can compensate these critical sectors directly via direct cash payments. This way we can reduce the inflationary impact as well as prevent wastage of subsidy. Clearly we don’t want to subsidise the luxury cars running on diesel. :-)

M4: is it possible politically to remove subsidies on gas cylinders?
Me: It is difficult, but given the strong mandate the new government has, it is possible.

UPSC Interview 2013, IMG Khan Board

Note: This may be of interest only to other UPSC candidates and not to a general reader.

Some personal BS… then …

CP: So your salary was very good. Why did you leave your job then?
Me: Sir, I left it to prepare for the civil services exam. I am coming for civil services because I really see this as the next step. In this job…

CP: I haven’t asked you that yet (smiling)…
Me: Oh I am sorry sir.

(All my nervousness ends here as this was the question I had most trouble with in convincing people so far)

CP: You were working as a credit derivatives trader. Is that the one which caused the financial crisis?
Me: Yes sir, credit derivatives were at the core of the crisis…

CP: I hope you weren’t (thrown) out because of that… (smiles)
Me: No sir (I wanted to say I joined after that and got my opportunities so fast because of the crisis… but never got a chance)

CP: Ok explain to a layman what derivatives are?
Me: We have simple financial products like equity, loans, bonds… Any contract built on top of it which derives its value from it is a financial derivative…

CP: So you mean like buying and selling loans…
Me: Yes sir, that…

CP: What caused the financial crisis?
Me: I would say it was because of 2 reasons: availability of cheap credit and lack of adequate regulations. Sir, banks are the first place where the credit worthiness of a borrower is determined. When a bank extends a loan it is supposed to do due diligence about the borrower as it would be keeping it on its own balance sheet. But banks in US began to sell these loans to others thereby taking them off their balance sheets. Once that happened they had no incentive to do the due diligence any more. They began to package it into securities, some of it the CDOs. Then the ratings agencies came in and here again they had a conflict of interest. Because ratings agencies were paid by the banks who asked them to rate these… So…

CP: Have they done anything to contain this lack of regulations?
Me: Yes sir, they have passed the Dodd Frank Act (mebbe I said Bill, don’t remember).

(M1 takes over and the tough time begins)

M1: In the days of Britishers, we had good things like writing reports on paper, publishing gazetteers by the collectors. Why has it disappeared now?
Me: (holy mother of God, why is writing reports on PAPER is a good thing and wtf is a gazetteer and wtf is this whole question) Sir I think its because of technology… (I wanted to say that now we have many MISs or management information systems due to which writing reports has become redundant in many cases as the IT system itself generates the information in the desired format)

CP: (interrupting) leave it, probably he doesn’t even know about this…

M1: You have history and economics as optionals. Don’t you think that in history writing there is an excessive focus on history writing about the elites and not so much on the economic history?
Me: Sir, this was definitely the case, but in the course of my preparation, I feel that the focus is shifting towards writing the social, economic history… the history of commons. for instance, we have various authors writing about the Indo-Rome trade, about the Indo-Asean trade, trade and economic history within the sub-continent… Pliny…

M1: (not convinced and says 2-3 things here)
Me: (I maintain with a sorry here and there that focus is shifting from history of the elites to history of the commons)

(tough time with M1 over)

M1: (blah blah blah.. gold deposits… blah blah) Do you think we can do anything about gold imports?
Me: Yes sir, in the medium term we can do that. Gold is increasingly bought as an inflation hedge. Most of our financial instruments don’t even give returns to compensate for inflation. If we take measures to check inflation, that would curtail gold imports. Then if we introduce inflation indexed bonds, as the minister as announced, it would curtail gold imports. Then we should encourage a banking system based on gold, just like we have a system based on money, to …

M1: (blah blah)… Indians have jewelry which contains copper, stones etc. as well. we should account for that as well.
Me: (nodding) yes sir

M1: So we should encourage gold deposits.
Me: (nodding) yes sir (dude wot else does building a bloody banking system based on gold mean?)

M1: Black money.. we keep on hearing estimates… what are your estimates about it? What can we do to check it? Answer with estimates first..
Me: Sorry sir, for the estimates, I don’t have any expertise on it. Widely different figures have been quoted from time to time (he nodding)… But for how we can check it… the two biggest places for black money are land and gold. In land, we have so many government restrictions on land use, so high taxes… that the land transactions are never reported to the full value. To check this, I think we should free up the policies, substantially reduce taxes like in Hong Kong. Then for gold, as I have previously said, inflation indexed bonds… . Then sir in the external front, there are all these tax havens. To check these we should make a concerted effort via international forums like G-20. So in all, we need a holistic approach, both domestic and international. (I should have added Mauritius tax treaty here as well, but didn’t anyways)

M1: Do you think black money is a problem of developing countries only? Developed countries don’t face it?
Me: I am sorry sir, but I think developed countries too face it. (here I wanted to somehow give the example of the facebook co-founder and it came twice to my mind but I decided that its not a case of black money.) We have all these island states across the world which companies use to evade taxes even from developed countries. For example, we have Cyprus for Russia, we have British Virgin Islands…

(M2 takes over and tough time starts again)

M2: You are a student of history… (blah blah blah) Name some of the Marxists historians?
Me: (I had decided if they ask any god damn thing about Marx, I would apologise and say my reading on Marx is too shallow to really comment.) (I remember having received an advice by a friend of friend to read on Marxist history but slacked here) (but I now realized that the question is only asking me to name the Marxist historians, so I decide to give a try)… Sir, I have read.. I have heard about Sumit Sarkar, he is a Marxist historian (now inclined to take Romilla Thapar’s name but remembered a history coaching guy saying she is not a Marxist historian, so don’t take her name) Sir, I am sorry, these are the only names I can tell about the Marxist historians

M2: Ok, you know we had this hundi system (it was the medieval version of hawala where say you can deposit money in a city and take out money in another). Whats the difference between it and modern day hawala?
Me: (Man I always thought hundi was like hawala… wot a harami question this was… ) True sir, hundi system was like hawala. But I know the britishers came and they enacted the Indian Negotiable Instruments Act and brought hundis into the formal sector. Today in the hawal system, it is mainly the misuse… The money involved there is the black money from tax evasions, terrorist funding… we have better regulations today… so hawala is illegal. In those times regulations were not that strong so that (hundis) was a fully functioning system.

M2: (asked another question I think, not sure though)

(M3 (a madam) takes over)

M3: The world is under a recession. What do you think?
Me: Yes. I would say the global economy has not recovered fully from the crisis. We have had many fiscal and monetary stimulus but still the recovery has not been full.

M3: What is the cause of the global recession?
Me: It started in US due to easy credit and lack of regulations. Then it spread over to Europe. There also similar factors were operating. If we look at Spain, Cyprus, Ireland, Iceland, all their problems started when the housing sector (fueled by easy credit) collapsed and the government had to assume the banking sector liabilities. (I wish I had added the trade issues for Greece and Italy and asserted that the so called ‘sovereign’ crisis in Europe is actually a balance of payment and a credit crisis and NOT a sovereign crisis, but huh…) Then China, India, ASEAN began to suffer because of the global trade linkages. Sir, still the final consumers are in US and Europe, so if they slow down, the trade in Asia slows down and the crisis thus spread…

M3: Was India also affected by the crisis?
Me: Yes mam, though not as much as US and Europe, but definitely we were affected.

M3: Why was India not affected so badly?
Me: I think one of the big reasons was that our linkages with global economy were not as strong. We still don’t have full capital account convertibility. Even in trade, though we are growing, but when we compare with some Asian countries like China and ASEAN countries, our trade to GDP is less. Their trade is over 100% of the GDP. Then another big reason was that our banking sector was more stable.

M3: What were the reasons for this stability?
Me: One is that it did not have large exposure to the US and Europe housing markets. Then I also think that another big stabilizing factor was that most of the banks are government owned. This gave confidence to public. Mam, I still remember, that ICICI which was a private bank was facing so much trouble… It had to freeze its electronic funds transfer facility for 6 months… I had an account with ICICI then and I could not withdraw that money. So the first thing I did after the crisis was to shift that money to SBI.

M3: RBI regulations also helped?
Me: Yes mam, you are right. For example, RBI still doesn’t allow banks to speculate freely in the derivatives. (I wanted to give the Harvard swap example, but leave it for another day)

(M4 takes over now)

M4: Naxalism… how would you tackle it? Tell me first where is it widespread?
Me: Sir it is widespread in the tribal and forested regions of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal. For tackling it… I think we need a pragmatic approach. Simply law and order solutions cannot work alone because I am sorry sir, I believe it is a political problem as well. At the core of it, the grievances of the people are genuine. If we take away the land of the tribals and don’t pay them or rehabilitate them, then problems will occur. So we need a political approach. Like any organization, I am sure they would have a moderate as well as an extremist faction. We should bring in the moderate section for talks. But at the same time we should not loosen up the police, CRPF pressure on the extremists. Then now the naxalites are getting support from across the borders. So we should use intelligence inputs to cut this support.

M4: India and China… (blah blah) what do you think of them?
Me: (My initial thought was that whatever anybody may say, India can never even hope to compete with China) Sir I think that 30-40 years from now, China and India will clearly be no 1. and no 2. respectively in terms of economy, global power. Some people think of this as confrontational. But I am sorry sir, I don’t think so. I think that this is a great opportunity for both the countries to deepen economic ties. India can benefit so much from China’s growth. We have the example of ASEAN and China in front of us. These countries are so economically close to China and this is one important reason I believe that the military issues over the islands – like India has border issues with China – are kept under check. Sir, in contrast to the trans pacific partnership proposed by the US, there is a new economic partnership under talks – the common economic space which will have China, Japan, Korea, Asean states, Australia. India has also decided to join the talks. I believe that is the way forward instead of confrontation.

M4: So you have acted in and edited this movie ‘towards zero’ in college… what was it?
Me: It was a small movie about 5 students who were caught cheating in the exam and then expelled by the dean. They decide to take revenge and rob the ‘professors’ bank’ in the college. But they get caught and end up being canteen boys.

M4: The name ‘towards zero’?
Me: So this way despite having a good educational background, they end up as nothing… gravitate towards zero.

M4: Have you watched that amir khan movie…. 3 idiots…. do you think its realistic?
Me: (God where have I seen a girl like Kareena Kapoor in my college and the movie was clearly an exaggeration in terms of the activities they do) I am sorry sir, I didn’t find it realistic… in fact some people say it was based on Chetan Bhagat’s book (another one I found fake) and I didn’t find that too realistic…

(CP interrupting)

CP: So you think that our higher education system gives practical knowledge????
Me: (realize my mistake now) Oh I am sorry sir, I was earlier comparing it with my education institute. If we consider the whole higher education system, then clearly… even recently… many CEOs have complained that the graduates don’t have the required skills… So we need here to improve the quality of education.

CP: what do you think are the biggest challenges for India’s development in coming decades? The two biggest challenges..
Me: Sir I think one is ensuring good governance… we all know how bad governance leads to corruption and misallocation of resources. But it also erodes the credibility of the government and thus makes it difficult for the government to bring in reforms… without which we cannot sustain our growth. The next is to ensure that the growth which happens is inclusive. Without inclusive growth I don’t see how we can sustain this growth in next 30-40 years.

CP: Right… inclusiveness… with so many people under poverty… how much you think is the poverty in India? Different people have given different estimates… The planning commission estimates nobody believes… how much is the poverty?
Me: Sir, I am sorry but it really depends upon where one defines the poverty line…

CP: Thats right… but what do economists say?
Me: Sir depending upon the ideology economists give different estimates

CP: Yeah.. still where would you estimate? What are the planning commission estimates?
Me: Planning Commission estimates it to be around 30%.

CP: And you?
Me: (no escape now) Sir, I have seen figures between 30 – 50% range…

CP: Wide range…
Me: Sorry sir… around 40%…

CP: Don’t you think there is a disconnect between India projecting itself as a superpower and so many poor living here?
Me: Sir developing as a superpower and poverty elimination is a continuous process.

CP: Yes, but isn’t there a contradiction?
Me: Yes sir, true. I think poverty elimination is a precondition to become a superpower.

CP: Have you seen the economist’s latest edition?
Me: Sorry sir…

CP: Never mind… on its cover page, there is a picture of a cat looking at its reflection in a mirror. The reflection is that of a tiger and it is in India’s context. What do you think?
Me: (smiling) sir, sorry, but if you would permit me the use of informal words here… an informal comparison… I think India is not a cat… its a cub of a tiger… becoming the tiger is the destiny… (hahaha… all laughing… nodding)… If we continue on the same course and institute necessary reforms, we have to become a global superpower.

CP: Why do we want to become a superpower… (I frame some answer in my mind)… its to further our economic development… Ok your interview is over… blah blah blah..
Me: thank you … blah blah blah.