Iswar Kumar Kandoo (Rank-187/UPSC-2017)

Iswar Kumar Kandoo-UPSC 2017-Rank187

Iswar Kumar Kandoo (Rank-187/UPSC-2017)

History Optional, Lucknow


Q1. Who was the chairman of you interview board?


Q2. How long was the interview?

Ans. ~30 minutes

Q3. Why do you want to join civil service? Why don’t you continue in your graduation field? Social service can be done from private sector too. [Since I don’t know whether they ask you this question or not. But if they had asked- what will be your reply?]

Ans. Although I was not asked this question in the interview but frankly speaking I was in a dilemma even on the interview day whether I should answer in my own way (which was not recommended by my mock interviewers) or in a way which is more safe as per them.

My own thinking is like..….. I have a strong belief in “Learn, Earn & Return” principle. Since learning is an endless process & I am already working in a Maharatna PSU like SAIL so also earning well. Now the last thing which I want to do is to returning the society /country which has invested so much in me through ways like education, scholarships, education loans etc & for me, civil services is one of the best medium of doing this… I know these lines might sound like a cliché to many & I was also advised by coaching centres to not say these things in the interview but this is what I actually feel & through this plateform I am just expressing it.

However, for interview answer, I refined these lines which may sound more practical to others ie. “It is one of the best career opportunities we have in our country in which along with the factors like pay & perks, job satisfaction, self esteem & self actualization , one can also make direct & visible impact on the lives of people & can become a leader in nation building process.”

Q4. Please narrate your entire interview- what questions did they ask and what did you reply and other pleasant or uncomfortable experiences during the interview.

Ans. My interview was on 18th April. I was the second candidate. I was sitting outside the room when the 1st candidate was giving his interview. I still cherish those 12-15 minutes as one of the unforgettable moments of my life because in those 15 minutes, sitting outside the interview room, I rewinded my whole life since childhood to 27 years including those struggle phase & it was not because of any anxiety but because of that happiness which I was feeling at that moment that I am fortunate enough to be here & just few inches away to my goal for which I have invested my past few years.

Anyways …I entered the room & wished everyone. It was a 5 member board with 1 lady member.

Chairman :

Q1 : So Iswar, What is this “ Srujani Award” that you got in SAIL, RSP?

ME : Sir, It is an award given for any innovative technical modification which helps the organization. I , along with my subordinates modified the hardware circuit & softwares of existing Oxygen compressor which was operating with 2 rack PLC. We converted it into a single rack PLC system. That generated lots of spare I/O cards which helped RSP saving ~20 lakhs for the purchase of new spares.

Q 2: Make & model of PLC?

Schneider electric, Model : M-340

Q3 : What kind of modifications you did in software?

Explained it

Q4 : From where you got the license?Why didn’t you call Schneider people ? Isn’t it a breach of property rights?


Q5 : So, you have choosen history as an optional, Tell me whether nonviolence was the outcome of Gandhi’s own experience or it was endear to him?

I couldn’t hear it properly so I requested him to repeat the question.

Me: Sir, It was the combination of both. Since childhood, he was the avid follower of various thinkers & philosophers & it shaped his thinking towards truth & nonviolence. Similarly the success of his nonviolent struggle in Africa ie his own experience ,boosted his moral & thus he used it as a tool in our national movement as well.

Q6 : Was he stick to it throughout the freedom struggle?

Sir, at personal level, he always practiced nonviolence. But in 1942, during quit India movement, he gave the freedom to other freedom fighters to use their own methods. This was a visible break from his stand in 1922 when he suspended the non cooperation movement after a violent incident in Gorakhpur.

Member 1:

Q : Ishwar….God :p …so what do you think the meaning of Iswar?? Do you think you justify your name?

Me : Sir, the meaning of ishwar is ISH + VARA ie capable of doing excellent & then I also blabbered some philosophical things on God …Regarding justifying my name I said that I always try to give my 100% in everything I do, sometimes I get success sometimes not. But yes, regarding the meaning, I believe that I have the capability of doing excellent.

Q: Extent of poverty in our country? Why is it so & What will you do as an administrator?

Me: Gave some data regarding the extent of poverty in our country. The reason behind poverty is lack of education, employment, skill, poor health condition, large population etc. As an administrator, besides improving these basic things like education, health , skill etc I would specifically focus on Decision making aspect, because poverty is not merely lack of income rather it is something which imposes cognitive taxes, social taxes etc on the mind of a person which affect his/her decision making ability (gave an example from Mrunal – Sending children to school during harvesting period or not?). For this tailor made implementation of schemes as per suitability, sensitizing the officials for treating them with dignity & rather than thinking them as a beneficiary of government schemes, think like they are the rightful customer whom we have to serve.

Q : About nature of job in SAIL ?

Me : answered.

Q : NCC “B” Certificate & NSS member? Tell me what are the lacunas in NCC & whether should we make it compulsory?

Me : answered.

Counter question

Again answered.

Q: Difference between Iron & steel?


Q : UP is such a large state whether it should be divided or not?

ME : Yes Sir, It is difficult to administer such a large & highly populated state & it should be divided in two parts ( Western & Eastern) by keeping into mind the allocation of resources like rivers, minerals, agricultural aspects, job prospects etc .

Q : Why in two parts why not in 4 parts as suggested by then CM in 2011?

ME : Sir, I think it is not sustainable because if we talk about areas like Bundelkhand. They don’t have agricultural as well as mineral resources in sufficient quantity. Job prospect is also not much better there as penetration of service industry is not that great.


Q : I will continue the last question, tell me the legislative procedure in case UP is going to be divided in two parts?


Q: Trump has imposed duty on steel imports, Its impact on world in general & India in particular?


Q : Why we are exporting our cheap raw material to countries like Japan & importing cheaper finished steel from them?

Answered (But was confused whether it should be Japan or China ).

Q: You are working in Odisha where cyclones are frequent. What will you do for tackling it?

ME : Sir, in what capacity?

Q : As a chief secretary of Odisha.

Me : Sir, First of all I will call a meeting with the stakeholders like administrators (district & division level ), State disaster management teams, Early warning teams & will formulate the macro & micro level plan after discussing with them. I will also direct them to involve district disaster teams , NGOs etc. Then ensuring technological efficiency like early warning , availability of satellite phones etc. Ensuring man , material , tools etc in sufficient numbers. Rehabilitation & Relocation of those vulnerable to cyclone. Ensuring their safety , hygiene & providing alternate means of employment via govt schemes. Regular visits, taking feedback & passing it to government as well.

Q : Diary writing hobby…what have you written recently?

Me : Answered

Q : Do you share your diary with any one & if no then why?

Me: Sir, I do not share it with any one as they are very personal.

Member 3 :

Q : Why India is investing so much in Afghanistan?

Me : Answered

2-3 Counter questions related with AFG-PAK-INDIA relations, Chabhar port, INSTC etc

Q : SAARC & its future ? Why India is so rigid? What other options do we have?

Me: Answered…talked about BIMSTEC, SASEC etc.

1-2 ques about BIMSTEC.

Q : What Is SCO ? Its mandate?

Me : Answered.

Q : Some factual question.. Do not exactly remember…said I am sorry sir, I do not know.

Q : Time period of Satavahana kingdom & notable works done by them?

Me : answered.

Q : Why you did your schooling from Azamgarh when your parents were in Lucknow?

Me : Answered.

Member 4 ( Lady member with pleasant smile unlike other 4 serious gentleman )

SHE : First of all, I must say that You have a very good voice Iswar.

I thanked her.

Q : population control targets? How to met?

Q : Should we follow China’s 1 child policy?

Me : Mam , I think we should not follow china’s policy as we are a democratic country where every citizen has certain rights. Rather than imposing the decisions from above, we should work more on changing mindset through awareness & all.

Q : But that has not yielded desired result. Don’t you think we need to do more?

Me : Yes mam, Definitely we need to do more. Even government has started designing schemes in such a manner that promotes population control ( gave exp of maternity leaves limited till 2 children only ). Apart from that awareness should also be more in the direction of male vasectomy which is less painfull & easier as compare to female sterilization.(gave data ~97% of total is female sterilization)

Q : As a district magistrate, what will you do to control hunger, malnutrition & unemployment?

Me : answered but fumbled a lot.

Q : Goa Iron mining issue?

Me : Started answering by raising environmental concerns and all but she interrupted

Q : Tell me the technical reasons ?

Me : Sorry mam, I am not aware about it.

No problem, Thank you.

Chairman : Okay Iswar, your interview is over , have a sweet ( He offered me sweets from his plate). At first, I humbly said that Thank you Sir, but I have done my breakfast. He insisted by saying that you have earned it so either eat it here or take it away with you. This time I accepted it & came out of the interview room with the sweet.

Q5. Was your interview on the expected lines of what you had prepared or did they ask you totally unexpected questions? Was it a stress interview, did they ask any uncomfortable questions? If yes, how did you handle it?

Ans. Barring 3-4 questions, It was on expected lines & mostly from my DAF. Some factual questions were there which I wasn’t expecting but that happens with everyone. There were 3-4 situation based questions (Roleplaying). In these type of questions, I asked for some time to think & answered after ~10 seconds. I tried to answer these questions in point wise by using keywords. In some questions, I fumbled because of stress (thoda to rhta hi hai :p :p ), Also on 1-2 occasions, I referred lady member as Sir which indeed was a mistake.

Q6. Any side details about technicalities like “make sure you bring xyz document or do xyz thing, or you’ll face problem”?

Ans. Always carry ~10 photographs. Rest UPSC is very supportive in this matter.

Q7. Any word of wisdom / observations about medical checkup?

Ans. Avoid boozing in the night before medical checkup :p :p (There was a case ). Carry the prescriptions if any. Avoid tea in the morning.