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Interview Transcript UPSC CSE 2020 |

Interview Transcript 1
[UPSC CSE 2020]


Read out the DAF

1. Tell me about your work in NIPFP?
Sir, in my last study, we studied the trends in fiscal transfers from centre to states. There are 2 types of central transfers- discretionary, and other- happening t/ Finance Commission [FC] recommendations. So we studied the trends in these transfers.

2. OK. What did you find?
– One imp observation was that in the last few years, Centre’s exp on State list subject was increasing- from about 13% of centre’s revenue in early 2000s to 22% in 2014. But after 14th FC reco, this fell to 16% in 2016.

3. OK. So Why did it happen?
– Sir, this was mostly because 14th FC had recommended to increase state’s share in divisible pool [DP] to 42% from 32%. This reduced resources available with centre, and therefore they cut down on their discretionary spending t/ Centrally Sponsored Schemes [CSSs]. These CSSs were mostly happening in state list subject.

4. OK. So do you think its a desirable trend?
– Sir, I think we need to have a balance. On one hand, we need to ensure that states have enough resources to carry out expenditure as per their varied needs, but at the same time, Central exp on a subject ensures their there is a national policy and direction in a particular field.

Then he asked a similar but vague Q, which I didn’t quite understand, so I said- “I am sorry sir, I couldn’t understand the question”.

5. What I am saying is you told us central exp is reducing, you told us that its happening because DP pool share increased. Now I am asking you whether this should happen or not? [I thought in my mind that this is exactly what I answered just now :D] – Sir, I think it should happen [i.e, increase from 32% to 42% is good]. Each state has its own priorities according to which it must spend. Even the constitution accepts that in certain subjects like health, education, we can accept diversity among states, and 42% ensures that. But at the same time, some expenditure in these subjects by the centre is desirable.

Member 1

1. You were consultant in Deloitte. These days govt also taking help of various consultants. What role do you see of them in future?
– In my opinion sir, this trend will continue, and govt will continue to take help of consultants in specialized fields, and the government will primarily take care of the governance part.

2. He didn’t see quite satisfied with the answer. So he said- “Can you tell me anything on the lines of lateral entry?”
– [I built on the earlier answer only] Sir, I think we have seen that GoI has already recruited many specialists t/ lateral entry in the fields of say, telecom, shipping, etc to benefit from their specialised knowledge. And I think this trend will continue in future. [I said 1 or 2 more points which I am not able to recall].

3. How have MP and CH progressed, economically, politically, etc after bifurcation.
– Sir, as for the economic aspect, I think b/ the states have progressed well. CH’s share in national output has increased after bifurcation. Similarly, MP’ share growth rate has been impressive. As for political aspect- b/ the state have been politically stable.
– [Then I though for a few seconds] I am sorry sir, I am only able to think of these two dimensions.

4. Can you talk about social aspect, like tribes and so on?
– Sir, MP has the largest population of tribes in India, and they are backward than the larger population on average. However, since CH has more dense forests, and relatively more remote areas, the development level of tribals is lesser than in MP.
I didn’t have enough points on this. So I just said this much and said that I don’t know much else on this.

Member 2 [Lady]

1. What are principles in deciding what share of divisible pool goes to states?
– I don’t know ma’am. I am sorry.

2. You like solo-travel. Where do you travel-s domestic or international?
– Ma’am, I have travelled internationally only once, when I went to Germany for exchange semester. O/w I travel domestically only.

3.Do you like any particular mode of travel?
– Depends on the place Ma’am. If its in the mountains, I prefer bus. If the place is very far, like southern India, I prefer flights.

4. What I mean is, for instance, some people like train journeys. So do you also like them?
– Ma’am, in the last couple of years, I had been working, so I didn’t have the luxury of spending 1 or 2 days in travelling because leaves were limited. So I mostly took flights when I could.

5. OK. Your most memorable trip and what did you learn from it?
– Ma’am, during my trip to the north-east, I went to Arunachal Pradesh. And there I visited BumLa Pass. That I think was most memorable. [Chairman was looking in his phone before this. Suddenly he started looking towards me]. There I saw the un-demarcated border b/w India and China. Usually ma’am, when we hear about India China border not being demarcated in the news, but it doesn’t really mean much, at least to me. But when I actually saw there that there’s is no boundary to tell where India ends and China begins, I thought it was really special.
– As for the learning Ma’am, I think it was imp to give a practical perspective on things. That sometimes things are a bit different on the ground than they are in real life. That I thought was an imp learning.
M2 I thought was most interested in my answers, even when I was answering to other panelists.

Member 3:

1. Do you think Right against media trail should be available to everyone?
– [After taking a pause of around 5 secs] Yes sir. They should.

2. Even to people accused of crime?
– Yes sir.
– [Here I was hoping that he would ask me why I thought so. But he didn’t.]

3. What can we do to ensure media trial doesn’t happen?
– Sir, I think a lot depends on media companies. Since its very difficult to draw a line as to what is media trial and what is fair reporting, I think media cos should ensure that they report well.
– As for the govt, they can ensure that Code of Ethics that exists for the media is suitably tweaked so that  these issues can be tackled.
– Also, courts should punish media cos where it can be clearly established that there was undue media trial. This will serve as an example for others as well.

4. [He didn’t seem much convinced] What more can we do?
– I think courts can also ensure that once a case has reached the courts, there are certain limits on how the case is reported in the media.
In the interview itself I thought he didn’t ask a lot of Qs to me. Also, I thought I could have answered his Qs better.

Member 4:

1. What steps you will take to improve solo-travel for women?
– Ma’am, I think for women, safety is an imp issue, because there are still issues that women can’t stay late at night. So I will ensure better security for women.
– Secondly, in travelling, image of a place is very imp. So we can invite women who travel solo already and who post videos on say YouTube, to make films about the place to convey that this place is good for women.
– [One more point which I don’t remember]

2. I talked about various points in general. She then asked me specifically about Ujjain.
– Ma’am, Ujjain is a religious city, so temples are central.
– I will ensure that there are separate lines always for women in all temples so that they have easier access.
– Also, can make ticket prices lesser for women in all ticketed places.

3. OK. These days govt is focusing a lot on toy industry. UP came up with a  scheme recently. What steps you will take to encourage toy industry?
– Ma’am, I think 3 things are crucial for toy industry. Cheap credit and skills, modern touch, and access to market.
– For cheap credit, we can ensure there is subsidized credit scheme.
– For giving modern touch to toys, we can collaborate w/ institutes like National Institute of Fashion Tech [NIFT] or other similar institutes.
– For accessing markets, we can organize haats where we can invite prospective buyers and wholesalers who can buy goods. We can even invite importers, who imports toys from abroad, to showcase them what India itself has on offer.


Ok. Your interview is over.
I was a bit surprised at this as I was expecting that Chairman would ask me some more Qs. But I thanked everyone and left.

Overall impression:
– I thought I was reasonably satisfied, but I think I could have done better. There were some Qs that I could have answered better. In some Qs, I thought my hand movement was very prominent.
– Board was cordial.

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