Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Q n A - Detailed Interview


This is the detailed version of my 3rd UPSC Interview - 27th March 2010 - P.Aggarwal's Board

(recollected and compiled on 2nd April 2010)


[BM - Board Member]


· What do you mean by ‘Digital’ in Digital Wallpapers ? ( My hobby is Making Digital Wallpapers)

BM : (The Chairman answered this question on his own)Your hobby is Making Digital Wallpapers. You mean to say that wallpapers which are made on the computers.( pointing towards the computer monitor kept next to him).

Me : Yes Sir,these are the wallpapers made on computers, I make use of photoshop to make them.

BM : Ok, I thought you are talking about those big wallpapers which I used to see on my big walls at home.

Me : Sir, the term “Wallpaper” is taken originally from those wallpapers only.

BM : Ok, Let’s start now.

· What is the difference between Governance, Management and Administration ? (One of my optional is Public Administration)

BM : Your optional paper is Public Administration . (Then he asked the above question).

Me : (Thought for a while) Sir, Governance is the process of taking or not taking a decision with respect to a policy. Management means getting the things done. And Administration is Governance + Management. As in the Administration, we are involved in taking or not taking a decision with respect to a policy, as well as, we are into getting the things done.

· If you are posted as an administrator in any of the districts of Uttar Pradesh, what would be the biggest challenge you’ll face ?

Me : I believe , Poverty is one of the biggest challenge that I would face as an Administrator in UP.

BM : What Poverty ? Poverty is a Pan Indian phenomenon. Tell me some UP specific problem.

Me : (Thought for a while) Sir, Caste Politics.

BM : Yes, that’s the answer.

Me : Caste politics is a problem thriving most in the societies of UP and Bihar. Caste creates rift between the people. It creates discrimination. People eat on the basis of caste. People drink on the basis of caste. People intermingle on the basis of caste.

BM : Ok, tell me another problem.

Me : (thought for a while) Illiteracy. Because it creates lack of awareness among the people.

BM : What about Political Interference ? The officers are facing errant transfers. One day they are in one department, another day, they themselves don’t know which department they would be in. (He was speaking in Hindi ).

Me : Yes Sir, certainly this is one of the biggest problem any administrator would face in UP.

· What happens when bureaucrats succumb to the political pressure ?

Me : (Thought for a while) Sir, they loose Political neutrality and Objectivity.

BM : Apart from this, what else happens ?

Me : (thought for a while ) They loose sensitivity towards the masses.

BM : Yes, ok.

· What do you know about Kalinga war which Ashoka fought ? (I had Ancient History as one of my subjects in graduation ).

Me : Sir, it was considered to be the last war which Ashoka fought in his lifetime. It was a life changing event for him. After this war only, he got converted to Buddhism.

· What are the problems of Indian Football ?

BM : You used to play Football.

Me : Yes Sir, I captained my school team of football.

BM : (Then he asked the above question).

Me : Lack of Infrastructure…( I coudn’t complete, they interrupted )

BM : What lack of infrastructure ? Football khelne ke liye ek Gend chahiye, ek ground chahiye aur do dande chahiye..We have enough of it.

Me : Sir, we do not have good and standard grounds. Apart from these infrastructural bottlenecks, there is lack of nutrition, lack of funds, lack of sponsorship, and lack of good training and coaching facilities..(I forgot to say lack of international exposure)..

BM : Yes, lack of coaching facilities is on the biggest problem.

· What do you mean by Inclusive Growth ?

Me : Mam, it is the concept introduced by our H’ble Prime Minister in the previous 5 year plan. It is a kind of a growth which brings all the deprived sections of the society into the mainstream growth process. In a way, it ensures that the benefits of the growth process percolates down to the most deprived sections who have been left out of the growth process. For example, if a girl child in a far off village is not educated, then that means that we are not following the inclusive growth. If the roads connecting the villages in to the mainstream society are not constructed, then that also means that we are not following inclusive growth.

· What is meant by Financial Inclusion ?

Me : Mam, this means including even the deprived sections of the society in to the growth process financially. For example, under NREGA, we are bringing about financial inclusion. Under this programme, all the wage payments are made to the workers through their post office bank accounts. ( I forgot to talk about the credit availability facilities )

· Out of the Formal and Informal Sector , which one predominates in the Indian Economy ?

ME : Mam, it is the informal sector which is the predominant one. Infact, it is one of the glaring problem which the Indian Economy is facing today.

· What are the women specific problems in the informal sector ?

Me : The informal sector is the highly unorganized sector. There are odd working hours for women. There is no assurance for a 9-5 job. Further, there are irregular wage payments. Women also faces the problem of sexual harassment. Moreover, for the equal amount of work done, the women are paid less then the men.

· When are the Commonwealth Games scheduled from ?

Me : Sir, they are scheduled from 3-14 October this year.

· What are your expectations about the forthcoming Commonwealth Games ?

Me : Sir, I am highly optimistic about the forthcoming commonwealthgames. I am very sure that we are going to perform very well.

· Name the events you are optimistic about in the CWG ?

Me : Shooting and Archery are the best bets. Apart from that, events like boxing, wrestling, are also medal winners for us. We have good chances in Tennis. In Badminton also, we have high hopes. Our shuttler, Saina Nehwal recently reached in to the top 5 slot in the world.

BM : What are your hopes about Athletics ?

Me : Sir, I am not very hopeful about our athletics performance. I am also not very sure whether Anju Bobby George would be participating this year or not.

· What are the problems of Sports in India ?

Me : The biggest problem of sports in India is the Political Interference. Sir, today in India, the Sports Federations are headed by the Politicians and not by the Sports Personalities. Because of that we see more of politics in sports. And this is the primary reason that we are not able to convert our Commonwealth glory into Olympic glory. Over the past few Commonwealth games , for instance , 2002 in England and later in 2006, we have repeatedly been placed in the top 5 in the medals tally with some 50 plus gold medals. But our Olympic performance has been very dismal.

· Name few politicians heading the sports federations.

Me : Sir, Sharad Pawar had been heading BCCI for a long time..(they interrupted)

BM : Leave Cricket, you talked about archery, tell me the head of archery federation..Woh to 100 saal se chairman bana betha hai..nahi main mazaak kar raha hoon..pichhle 36 saal se who chairman hai..(he was speaking in hindi)..( Chairman and other Board members were laughing a lot )

Me : Sir, I don’t know..Infact, I would like to know his name.

BM : He’s V.K.Malhotra.

· What do you know about Limba ? ( related to Archery)

Me : Sir, I read his name few days back in the newspaper. He a personality related to archery. But, I don’t know the exact piece of news related to him.

BM : You are a sportsman and you don’t know about Limba ?

Me : I don’t know sir..

BM : He was a prominent player of Archery for the past 15 years and suddenly he’s out of sight and you don’t know his name.. !!!

Me : Sir, infact this is the problem of sports in India that we are not able to nurture our sportsmen.

(The Chairman looked at all the other Board members and said “theek hai” 4 times…and then said, Manpreet aapka interview over ho gaya hai.)


I scored 196/300.

Monday, April 26, 2010

IPL, Hockey and Sports in India


Congratulations to Chennai Super Kings !! The IPL 3 Champs !!!

The Cricket has reached to altogether a new level with the initiation of Indian Premier League (IPL).There is money, there is talent, there is foreign exposure with the induction of foreign players, there is glamour, there is infrastructure, there are best coaches, there are best facilities, there is no political interference (almost negligible), there are privately owned franchisees, there is brilliantly designed league system, there is entertainment, there is aggressive marketing, there are franchisees’ merchandise sold to the fans, there is a crazy crowd to watch it, there is superb commentary, there is competition, there is pride involved, there is profit for the owners…what else do you need for a Sports League to succeed ??

There is no doubt , IPL has brought India to the limelight in the sporting world.

But, sports in India, despite all this, is in a terrible predicament. If the entire money and attention goes to one sport, where will the other equally deserving mortals go ? The success of IPL shows that – ‘will to do’- is a very important element in any endeavour, whether its preparing a maggi or signing on a document granting the funds for the construction of roads in villages or in improving the plight of sports in India.

This ‘will’ is amazingly lacking in the Sports administration of India. India finished 8th in the just concluded Hockey World Cup. Did we see anybody from the administration appreciating their improved performance given the fact that we were ranked last in the world (12th or 13th) prior to the world cup…?? They may also win a tournament in the forthcoming months but their victories may not be acknowledged. Here is the problem. We don’t nurture our sportsmen.

No matter how better we strategize to improve Hockey, results would be seen only with improved administration and transparency. Look at Hockey Australia. They upload the minutes of their meeting on their website to bring about utmost transparency. There is no limit imposed on the number of sponsors. On the contrary, they give the advertisements to invite the sponsors for the team as well as for the individuals. In Germany and Spain, emphasis is laid more on competitive and professional domestic league.

If we could meticulously execute IPL in India then I don’t see any reason we can’t do it for other sports. I am not asking for IPL-like management in other sports but certainly a better administration which is transparent, flexible, open to ideas, accountable and the one which also appears fair in its proceedings. The rest will depend on the popularity of the sport which will come from quality.

Its not only about providing better infrastructure and facilities to the sportsmen but also the emotional support, motivation and recognition. The government was in doldrums and could not come up with a clear thought on the issue whether Vijender Singh and Sushil Kumar should be awarded the Khel Ratna or not, for a quite long time. I believe that the achievement of these Olympic bronze medalists should be acknowledged and if we fail to do that , we will end up doing disservice to the sports in the country.

We should make the people feel that they also have a future if they play good badminton, good chess or if they can throw a discus to a great distance !! That will encourage the couch potatoes of the country to go out and play and do some physical work. It will make India a healthier and a fit nation.

Sports is one field which can bring pride to the nation. I , myself being a sportsman, never got an opportunity and motivation to build a career in sports. Despite being a quick sprinter , my skills never got acknowledged. This shouldn’t happen with the millions of kids aiming high to make a career in sports.
Everything rests on the will to improve, the will to accept the weaknesses, the will to shed egos, the will to strategize, the will to Lead and the will to be THE BEST !!!

Nurture these kids and very soon , we will be mining Diamonds !!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

सफ़र में मुश्किलें ...

सफ़र में मुश्किलें आयें तो जुर्रत और बढती है ,
कोई जब रास्ता रोके तो हिम्मत और बढती है ,
मेरी कमजोरियों पर जब कोई तन्कीत करता है ,
वोह दुश्मन क्यों न हो , उस से मोहब्बत और बढती है ,
अगर बिकने पर आ जाओ तो घट जाते हैं दाम अक्सर ,
न बिकने का इरादा हो तो कीमत और बढती है ।

This is one of my most favourite Sher by Nawaz Deobandi. Its highly inspiring, motivating and thought provoking...It has got a message for the life , if read and understood deeply..I was over the moon when i read it for the first time.

UPSC Medical Ordeal

Dear Friends,

I was skeptical before writing this post. But, sooner than later , i decided that the views on this issue of UPSC Medical needs to be expressed. Today only, i got over with the mental trauma meant for the selected UPSC candidates whose medical was scheduled in the GTB Hospital, Shahdara, New Delhi.

I understand the necessity of this medical examination. But the experience that i had this time was awful. My UPSC interview was on 27th March 2010 and the medical was on 29th. To my utter surprise, some 18 candidates out of 20 were referred to a separate medical board and were asked to come again. Few of the candidates had high Blood Pressure, some had vision problem, and the majority had high BMI (Body Mass Index). I fell into this last category.

I was told that i am over weight. My weight turned out to be 82 kgs. I was told that as per my height, my weight should be 78 or below. I was under the impression that +5 and -5 kgs are admissible. My BMI turned out to be 26. They said that 25 is the standard and hence, mine is higher. I was advised that i should reduce my weight and appear before the medical board again.

I was amused at the situation. More so, because, this was not the first time i was giving the UPSC Medical. But, with all courtsey, i accepted their judgement. I started jogging in the evenings and avoided rice and paranthas in my diet, with a hope that i will reduce 4 kgs. Somehow, i managed to reduce 1.5 kgs. I was very happy if not fully satisfied.

I went for the medical again on 19th april, as we were asked to come on monday only. A separate physician board sat for us. Some 15-20 candidates were there. My turn came. They weighed me. The figure came as 81.2 kgs. I was bit contented as i believed that with lower weight, my BMI will automatically come down. If it was 26 earlier with 82 kgs, then it will surely come down to near about 25 with 81.2 kgs. The day ended. In the evening , to my biggest surprise, i was told that my BMI is very high. I asked the logic behind it and there was no answer. They wrote my BMI as 29.5 !!!! I, then with the assistance of some of my Doctor friends, calculated my BMI and it came to be 25.9 !!

Now, here is the catch. They wrote the figure 25.9 as 29.5 !!

Who's mistake is this ? In the hospital, there is nobody ready to take the accountability. Who suffers ? We, the students. They wrote 6 tests to be done for each and every candidate. I fail to understand that if a person is overweight, then why his ultrasound is done ? What is the connection between weight and kideny and liver functioning tests ? On top of it, the hospital staff seemed to be least empathetic with the candidates. At the drop of a hat, they will say that - kindly come tommorrow for the test because some machine is not working or some staff is not available or some kit is out of stock.

Through these entire proceedings, they failed to understand one thing. That is - the candidates' perspective. Many of them were left stranded in Delhi just because of this medical board. Most of them cancelled their reservations but couldn't get their next train. Staying in Delhi for more than 2 days was also not an economical affair for many of them.

I, somehow, got over with the medical today. I never imagined that it will turn out to be such a baffling and an indifferent stage.

My Suggestions :

  • UPSC should lay down the standards for the medical tests to be conducted in the hospitals and shouldn't leave it at their discretion.
  • Intensive medical tests should be done only for the candidates who have been finally selected.
  • If possible, employ a separate Hospital staff for the medicals and all such tests should be done in a single hospital.
  • Lack of coordination between various dapartments of the hospitals has been a major irritant for the candidates. So, its time to improve it.
  • Candidates should not be punished for the mistakes committed by the Doctors, as happened in my BMI readings. ( I am not the only case here )

Anyways, there is always a lot to learn from such instances. We, the student community, have been cooperating with the authorities in the best possible manner. The only humble request is a bit of cooperation from their side.

Cheers !!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

वो रुलाकर ...


वो रुलाकर हंस न पाया देर तक

जब मैं रोकर मुस्कुराया देर तक ,


भूलना चाहा अगर उस को कभी

और भी वो याद आया देर तक ,


भूखे बच्चों की तस्सल्ली के लिए

माँ ने फिर पानी पकाया देर तक ,


गुनगुनआता जा रहा था इक फकीर

धूप रहती है ना साया देर तक ।

- Nawaz Deobandi

बदलते वक़्त का ...


बदलते वक़्त का इक सिल _सिला सा लगता है
के जब भी देखो उसे दूसरा -सा लगता है ,


तुम्हारा हुस्न किसी आदमी का हुस्न नहीं
किसी बुज़ुर्ग की सच्ची दुआ सा लगता है ,


तेरी निगाह को तमीज़ रंग -ओ -नूर कहाँ
मुझे तो खून भी रंग-ऐ -हिना सा लगता है ,


दमाग - ओ -दिल हों अगर मुतमईन तो छाओं है धूप ,
थपेड़ा लू का भी ठंडी हवा सा लगता है ।


(मुतमईन - content/ satisfied)

- Manzar Bhopali