Important UPSC Interview questions based on selected optional – Experts’ suggestions to previous IAS toppers

Candidates who regularly follow our blog must have already been well versed about the Interview process of Civil Services Examination, the questions asked by UPSC board, the right way to approach Interview and other important factors which we have covered in our previous articles. Now, when the final stage of Civil services Examination, i.e., Interview process, is just around the corner, it’s time to discuss the biggest factor and a major plus points of taking mock interviews. That’s Feedback session with experts! Yes, after each mock interview, the candidates are directed to the hall for a feedback session with experts, where the panel of experts comprises of highly experienced people from the field of Civil Services, make candidates aware about their weaker and stronger areas and guide them the ways to work upon them to excel at the final interview process.

The board of competent observers at the Interview test the suitability of the candidates for the job position on the basis of their personality, decision making skills, confidence, knowledge and opinions on current affairs along with National & International Importance, leaderships traits and other important qualities. The Mock Interview Panel at Chanakya does the same, but the only difference is the valuable feedback which the panel provides to each candidate in detail to make them ready to face the final challenge.

Read this article to understand the interview process and the criteria on which the panel test the candidate. Also watch the video of Athar Aamir’s mock Interview in the same article to gain a deeper insight:

Now moving ahead, here we have something for you which you are surely going to love. We know all the dedicated aspirants look for an inspiration which they receive from the toppers and field experts. So here, we bring to you excerpts from Mock Interview and the feedback session to help you understand what kind of questions are asked in the Interview, the way to handle such cross questioning and how the feedback help candidates in improvising.

  • IAS Gaurav Agarwal (AIR 1, 2013) – Economics student

You will be able to get fair idea of why he found Chanakya’s Mock Interview extremely useful in the last leg of his journey to the IAS dream (these are just a few questions for reference, to know more, watch the complete video)

UPSC Mock Interview Session – IAS Gaurav Agarwal (AIR 1, CSE 2013) : Economics Optional:

1. Which Model of Economic Growth are we following in our country

Ans – We are somewhere in between of Adam Smith and socialistic model

2. How do you say that?

Ans – Sir, we have a very large private sector, especially after 1991 economic liberalization; we have opened many sectors, we have given away many licenses in many sectors, so we have very large rising private sector. At the same time the presence of government is in a pink phase. They are in many sectors like import, airlines, and electrical equipment manufacturing. So in these core sectors, the government presence is quite much. Apart from that, we have a very big presence in social sector like education, health and so on. So that is why we are somewhere in the middle.

 Grilling starts from Here, read it carefully

3. In addition, any other problems which the economy is facing?

Ans – There are many clearances required from many ministries …. (Before the answer could be completed)

4. That you’ve already said. What else?

Ans – Then the external demand is still weak. Although the US …. (Again before the answer could be completed)

5. So, what do we do? Do we go and tell America to start consuming, should we do that?

Ans – Sir, we cannot do that.

6. So then say something which is under our control.

Ans – Sir, we can improve the efficiency of our manufacturing. That is what …. (before the answer could be completed)

7. How will we improve?

Ans – We can improve the productivity. First of all, we invest in the human capital. We can invest in education & health. That will improve the productivity of the workers. Then, Sir, we can reform our labor laws.

8. In whose hand is the manufacturing – private hand mostly or the government hand?

Ans – Private

9. Ok you have now identified manufacturing, is there anything else? Being an economic student, by now you should have given the whole picture to me about what is the problem with the economy, what are the obstructions, roadblocks.

Ans- Sir there are many PPP projects that are stuck up like, for example road sector …. (before the answer could be completed)Why are they stuck?

Watch the complete video and gain an insight

Panel Feedback:

Chairperson: We did put you under lot of stress, but you’ve done fairly-well. I think one of the areas that you must be very firm about is Economy Finance. Try to be brief. There is no time for lot of discussion. Suppose I ask you, what are the obstructions; you should be able to reel off one, two, three or four, that these are the obstructions; and that’s it. You don’t need to explain much in detail.

Feedback was given on his knowledge base in regard with land reforms and other important aspects of economy. He was asked to check up on more details and read more editorials on economic reforms.

Chairperson: Regarding banking, you didn’t touch NPS, FDI and other short-term opportunities. FDI should open-up immediately for 2-3 sectors like Pharma & retail. Don’t you think so? FDI is an opportunity.

There are many other areas where we can immediately start working. Today our agriculture is a booming sector. Booming in a sense, it is improving (4%). We are able to produce so much that we can export; we are the biggest rice exporters. So, if we expand the area under agriculture itself, say give a flip to the second Green Revolution, we will be able to not only feed our people but able to export and earn a lot of foreign exchange.

Somehow, we should be able to breakdown our oil consumption. One must think of it. To meet needs, we must improve our oil explorations. These are some of the areas where we must immediately focus. So, when you are talking of economy, you must talk of short term, immediate steps we should take, what are the long term which we’ll take. Labour law is a long-term thing because it will take 3-6 months to really consolidate all the laws and pass it through the Parliament. So, this is how your answer should be. So, master that!

Second is on Policing, probably you will be questioned. And on the constitution. Basically, our subjects in the constitution are directly related to administration; that come under District Magistrate’s jurisdiction as well as Police. These are the two areas you should concentrate.

  • IFS Seema Pujani (AIR 37, 2014) – Law student

She is one of the extremely motivational examples out of lacs of Civil Services toppers and an exemplary person who completed her Mock Interview feedback on a very positive note, secured a commendable all-India rank 37 and rewarded with her preferred service (Indian Foreign Service). Here are excerpts from IFS Seema Pujani’s Mock Interview with Chanakya IAS Academy:

1. (Looking at her work profile) You are working with Indian Trade and Service. What is this Service?

Ans. Sir, this service comes under DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) which is an attached office with the Department of Commerce under the ministry of Commerce. Currently I am under training at IIFT Qutub Institutional area.

2. Present central Government has recently announced FTP. Very briefly can you tell the salient points of the FTP?

Ans. Yes Sir, Foreign Trade policy this time tries to incorporate the hold of Government approach in the sense that it tries to coordinate between the different departments and has come out with a comprehensive policy that aims at increasing India’s Exports to about 900 billion by 2020. The emphasis here is on (before she could say further)

3. Up-to 900 billion or by 900 billion?

Ans. Sir, up-to 900 billion by 2020. The aim here in is on paperless work within the organisation and it accumulates all the schemes into two simpler schemes called the MEIS & the SEIS which is Merchandise Exports from India Scheme and Service Exports from India Scheme. And it also tries to make the scripts completely transferable and the entire process much more easy for the exporters. Then the Indian Government has also launched the in order to facilitate export from India and it also tries to look at the vision of the Government in terms of Make in India, Skill India and Digital India. And efforts are made within the Foreign Policy to meet the larger objective.

She was then further questioned about Exports & Imports Volume & Money, Trust areas being aimed for the future plans, contribution of manufacturing sector to our GDP, and of-course Law.

4. In India’s constitution, fundamental rights, which are the articles which we use with life and liberty?

Ans. Article 21 & 22

5. What is Archimedes principle? You are a student of Physics.

Ans. Yes, a long back, yes. Archimedes principle is related to Buoyancy, if I am not mistaken.

6. What is the principle?

Ans. (She could not answer)

7. What are the laws of Buoyancy?

Ans. I am afraid I have forgotten.

Chair-Person: You swim, swimming is based on Buoyancy

8. You were talking about unemployment, so is unemployment a problem or unemployability a problem?

Ans. Both are actually a problem!

9. Which is a bigger problem in India?

Ans. Availability of jobs I would like to say at number one. Because labour productivity or the low level of skills of the people comes second.

10. So if the skills are already so good then what is the need of launching Skill India Mission/Skill Development Program?

Ans. Because not every job, as I said, manufacturing sector may not require, say, on the job training could be provided for a large section of population. But if we are looking at diversification of products as well as markets, then we need to (before she could complete)

11. So, exactly are we doing skill development?

Ans. Provide such skills and make a person employable. But then that is sector specific, if we are trying to get more and more youth who are 12th class pass into the BPO sector than they need certain skills that are relevant to that particular sector. (She wanted to say further but was interrupted with another question)

And the cross questioning continued, but Seema could answer fairly well.

12. So if you are, say, 1st secretary or 3rd secretary, in what way do you think can you contribute for a skill India?

Ans. 1st secretary & 3rd secretary you mean at the embassy? (Answered with a yes). One of the very important task of a diplomat is to represent the country. I would take this mission to make people and diplomat of other countries aware about this scheme and why they should come and invest in India, and what are the changes taking place right now. So (before she could say further)

13. That can be done through advertising companies also.

Ans. Yes Sir, but contacts that a diplomat has, the skills they have, an advertising company may not be in contact with those people that I may be in contact with. And the resources that are available for (before she could say further)

14. Probably there are more contacts with a body like FICCI or CIA than a diplomat.

Ans. Sir, they normally work in collaborations. I would not say that I would be extra-ordinarily working in isolation but all of them work together to communicate (before she could say further)

15. One last question from me, you don’t want to work in Police service, any reason?

Ans. Sir, I think my interest and capabilities do not lie that much in police service. I may not be able to do justice to the job as much as the other services. There is no point giving my order of preference which does not convince me firstly, how can I convince others? (meanwhile another question was already put up for her)

16. But you know, under the criminal procedure code you are the head of Police in the district.

Ans. I’m Sorry Sir?

17. You are the head of the Police, the police reports to you.

Seema: That’s exactly why I have put it at the 4th (before she could say further)

Panel: IAS also, being a magistrate, the police will be

Seema (before the panel member could say further): Sir, most likely I would not get IAS, because I have the Foreign Services as my first preference.

Another Panel member: You must have read that Prime Minister is likely going to China next month?

Seema: Yes Sir

18. We have bit of trade with China. What is the balance of trade between the two countries?

Ans. I think total trade comes to about $70 billion and we have a deficit of about $40 billion with China.

19. So we are in deficit?

Ans. Yes

20. What can be done when Prime Minister take up this issue? What can be done to narrow this?

Ans. Sir, Talks have been on with China for a last couple of years, especially with relation to Indian Pharmaceutical companies finding it very difficult to establish a foothold there. Then also there is a talk about China trying to stop our buffalo meat from entering there. Indian companies are not finding it easy to invest in China, say for, what is easy for China to do here, will not allow for Visa-versa. So, talks are on to reduce the deficit. Chinese Ambassadors has recently come with statements that China takes our trade deficit problem very seriously and they totally with us on this issue. And something will come out on this very soon.

21. Will it help if China invests in India, will it reduce the trade gap?

Ans. Yes Sir, Chinese Industrial Parks work very hard.

22. if it’s just exporting to India, if they invest here, what are the fields in which our prime Minister can suggest that China should invest?

Ans. Sir, infrastructure is number one, number 2 the industrial parks to be set up in Gujarat and this is already in talks since Chinese premiere visited India in September.

Panel: And nothing else?

Seema: I haven’t followed it up Sir.

Watch video for more Insights!

IFS Seema Pujani was given detailed feedback on the areas she needed to work on. Seema being much satisfied with the questions and the kind of feedback that she was given, utilized the experience well along with her perseverance to crack IFS with All India Rank of 37.

‘While it is wise to learn from your experiences, it is wiser to learn from experiences of others!’

Now when you know how these UPSC Toppers utilized their Mock Interview feedback for their benefit and cracked the exam with their perseverance in such high Ranks. What are you still waiting for?

Enrol for Chanakya’s Mock Interviews and secure your future with the dream Civil Services.

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