Tuesday, December 27, 2011

IRS Leverage: Failure and Success

After the selection in Civil Services examination, the life seems to have changed. We all have an inherent desire to gain an advantage of the position we hold in society. This sudden rise in the position on the ladder of social stratification took some time to sink in. During the UPSC preparation times, nobody used to pay extra attention to our requests. But now, a mere fact that I belong to IRS gets the work done. This success may lead to the evolution of some fatty egos. I, too, was about to join this battalion but was somehow shown the right path by a clerk in the RTO Office.

I was under the impression that me being an IRS Officer is enough to get the things done for myself. But, I was highly mistaken. Interestingly, since long time, the address on my Driving License was wrongly written. I never had the courage to deal with the RTO authorities as I was told that getting a new driving license is easier than getting it altered. Post selection, I paved my way to the RTO Office with my head held high as if a lesser known mortal has turned into a greater known one. I thought of meeting the highest graded officer but no one was found in the office. Then, somehow, I managed to get in touch with the person dealing with the alteration issues. I told him my issue and asked him to do my work instantly. Since an Officer was sitting inside my head, I was assured that the going would not get tough. The person concerned said that he cannot do my work and asked me to come through a proper channel. I got furious. I asked him whether there is no relaxation in the rules for the Officers from Income Tax Department. Then, it was the time for him to get furious. He said, “What has the Income Tax Department done for people like us? Why should we show them the favors?” I was astonished to hear the reply. That was the time when I convinced myself about the fact that there are certain rules also which exist in this country and I’ll gain nothing by entering from the back doors. This was the leverage stint which went down the drain. May be because, I was a new kid on the block.

Few months later, I was travelling by a train from Lucknow to Delhi. This train had an amusing departure time. It was 12.05am. I had booked the ticket myself. When the TT came to check the tickets, he discovered something in my ticket which was very unpleasant for me. The ticket which I had booked was for Saturday – 12.05am. But I had to travel on Sunday – 12.05am. The TT said angrily, “Your train had already left yesterday early morning.” I was in a fix. I told him politely that I belong to IRS and was going to Delhi to attend some felicitation function. His behavior changed dramatically. He suddenly stood up and assured me of his help. He ended up not only giving me a seat to sleep but also didn’t even charge a penny for that. He feared that if he takes money from me, I will lodge his complaint to his boss, and consequently he may get fired. Here, IRS was at work. I didn’t have to do anything in this case. Mere introduction was enough.

Next and most interesting event happened when I was on my way from Lucknow to NADT, Nagpur via road. It was near Sagar in Madhya Pradesh and our car’s petrol tank was about to finish. I asked the localites about the petrol pump and almost everybody pointed to the one nearby as there was none after that till some 50 miles. After reaching the place, I found it closed. In the nearby Dhaba, I thought of doing some investigation. Fortunately, there was Police truck parked in the vicinity. I talked to the Policeman sitting inside it. He was having a laid back attitude and was not in a mood to respond. I gave him my ‘introduction’. Then, inquisitively, he asked, “you must have cleared UPSC ?”. I said, ‘Yes’. He suddenly popped up from his seat and wore his shoes and shouted to the tea man to bring tea for me. I told him my problem. He gave all his assurance to pacify me. Instantly, he called up two beat constables from the nearby Police station and told me that they know where these petrol pump operators sleep during the night. The beat constables took us to that petrol pump, wakened up the sleeping helpers, got our petrol tank fuelled, and then escorted us till the main highway to see us off.

This incidence taught me something very noble. We should always be very polite and humble no matter what designation we hold. Merely getting selected in the Civil Services Examination is not an end in itself. People may not follow or obey you until you are nice to them. The leverage which IRS as a Service has given to me is appreciable. It shows the respect which the service commands in society.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Back with ideas


I always wanted to continue writing and in a way helping the aspirants. Its because of my wife only that i am back again here on the blog. This monday on 19th Dec 2011, i will complete my 1 year of training in National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT), Nagpur. It feels good to be an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax. But within my heart, i am the same old person for all my near and dear ones, who have known and seen me in my difficult times. 

You will see more of what i want to share about this service, right here..in the days to come.

affectionate regards,

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

4th UPSC Interview

Board : Shashi Uban Tripathi
Duration : 30 min (5:15pm – 5:45pm)
Date : 29th March 2011

Chairman (Ch) : You have done MA (Sociology) from ?

Me : Lucknow University, Mam.

Ch : You did it in 2005. Since then, what have you been doing ?

Me : Mam, since then, I have been preparing for the civil services examination. This is my 4th and the last UPSC interview.

Ch : So, do you have any job ex ?

Me : Mam, I got selected last year in to IRS (Income Tax).

Ch : So, its been some 3 months into the service.

Me : Yes Mam, approximately 3 months.

Ch : Are you happy with Income Tax ?

Me : I consider myself very fortunate to be in Income Tax. Infact, last Friday, we had a video conferencing with our Chairman, CBDT. He addressed not only the probationers from NADT but also the CCITs from across the country. In his address, he repeatedly emphasized upon the camaraderie of the entire cadre. Mam, who would not love to work in such kind of a department where the camaraderie of the cadre is being emphasized upon..

Ch : But you have written the exam again for improvement ?

Me : Yes mam, the most important factor in the administrative and the police services which fascinates me the most is the diversity of job…(then Chairman came up with another question and did not let me complete).

Ch : You have studied Sociology. Tell me how can we improve the parochial mindset of the people like that in the case of Khap Panchayat.. ?

Me : Mam, I believe that Law and administration have a major role to play here. But, more than that, major changes have to come from within. Let’s say, if a particular person from a community adheres the law and abide by it in all capacity, he’ll be respected by the administration and will become a role model for others to follow, if his deeds are appreciated in society, others will love to follow him.

Ch : But, today we see that even the educated people are abiding with the parochial laws of khap panchayat. We have the instances of Army Generals.

Me : In that case, Law will have to take its own course. Anybody found commiting a heinous crime should be punished. And, that will act as a deterrent for others.

Ch : In Delhi, on the Police vans, its written – With you , For you, Always. People say, that this in itself is the problem. What do you have to say. ?

Me : Mam, I believe that its only the atrocious picture of the police which comes to the forefront. People have started associating the Police with atrocities. The good work done by the police goes unnoticed.

Board Member : There was a lathi charge yesterday by the police on a mob at mohali, which was standing in queue for the tickets. Why such kind of acts take place ? Why to beat the cricket fans ? What will you do if you are the SP ?

Me : Sir, the peaceful sale of the tickets should be ensured. If people try to barge in and disturb the peace, action will have to be taken. In such kind of a situation, I will also support lathi charge, because it is very much needed at times.

Chairman : Yes, I agree, lathi charge is needed at times.

Me : I will try to increase the number of policemen handing this kind of a situation. On top of all, I will direct every single policeman to have a humane understanding of the situation. If someone still disobeys, I will take action against him.

BM : Recently, an engineer was arrested by the police on the ground that he bought many match tickets in advance and later he was found selling them at higher prices. What is the harm in such kind of an act ? You see in London, people buy the tickets in advance and sell them at higher prices for the Premier League. What’s wrong in it ? I have 1 lakh rupees. I am ready to pay, you are ready to sell.

Me : Sir, that’s like hoarding the foodgrains. In such cases, Government has to intervene. We just can’t support black marketing. Govt. has to establish some kind of an equity. If people involved in these activities are not punished, then it will lay a very bad precedence before others and will have a negligible deterrence value.

BM : There is so much of corruption in Uttar Pradesh. People in your income tax department also are found taking bribes every now and then. What will you do if your
subordinate does his work only after taking bribe ?

Me : I will give him the warning. Still, if he doesn’t mend his ways, I will stop delegating work to him and will infact, take his work upon myself.

BM : That’s very good. What if your subordinate takes money on your behalf, by taking your name ?

Me : Sir, that would tantamount to disrespecting me and my integrity. I will warn him first, and then will take action under the Conduct Rules.

BM : I am a depressed man. Aren’t you a depressed man, Manpreet  ?

Me : No Sir.

BM : You are a sportsman, you look like a sportsman. Still you not depressed ? I am very depressed.

Me : Sir, I will energise you.

BM : You take a look at the condition of sports in India. Its full of scams. What is the primary loophole that you see in the system ?

Me : Sir, the most primary loophole that I feel hinders the smooth sports administration in India is that the Sports bodies and federations in the country are headed by the Politicians and the retired bureaucrats. Why can’t we have eminent sports personalities heading the sports federations ? Why can’t we have Prakash Padukone heading the Badminton federation, Why can’t we have Dhanraj Pillay heading the Hockey federation ? It is the vested interests of few people which spoils the entire pond. If these people are brought in, they’ll put their heart out in the work they will do. Having been associated with the similar sport, they’ll not tolerate any kind of corruption in the system.

BM : That’s very correct. Ok, let’s say, a very enthusiast Sports Minister is appointed. What all suggestions would you give to him with regard to the sports administration ? Tell me in bullets.

Me : Focus on infrastructure, diet and nutrition of the players, have the best of the coaches – be it Indian, be it foreign, Make use of technology in Sports…

BM : I think the main focus should be on infrastructure.

Me : Yes Sir, infact, that was the first point I mentioned. I will give you a very small instance. Last year, we had the Hockey World Cup in New Delhi. The performance of the Indian team was very dismal. If we compare the hockey infrastructure of India with  Spain, we’ll find that Spain has so many astroturfs, which India desparately lacks. This is the prime infrastructure issue.

BM : But, in cities like Pune, we have very developed infrastructure but nobody makes use of it . What’s the reason ?

Me : In my opinion, the prime reason is that the parents do not support their children to take up sports as their career. They don’t see any future in sports. Even my parents never encouraged me to become the best athlete in the country. They don’t find it lucrative.

BM : If you are asked to imitate any of your neighbouring countries with regards to sports administration, which country would you imitate and emulate ?

Me : Undoubtedly China, Sir.

BM : Do you think that Chinese sportsmen play to earn money ?

Me : I do not have much idea about that Sir. But yes, they start it very early and we often see that in 5-6 years of age, they start training, and become the masters over a period of time, for e.g. in Gymnastics.

BM : Tommorrow, we have India_Pakistan match. Where ?

Me : At Mohali, Sir.

BM : Let’s say, you are a District Magistrate of Mohali. A bomb blast takes place during the match. What will you do ? Tell me step by step.

Me : Sir, the very first thing I will do would be to ensure the security of the masses along with the VIPs. The security of the Pakistani PM Mr Gilani is also very vital. I will ensure the quick evacuation of the stadium. For this, I will make open all the exit points. Thereafter, I will totally cordon off the place where the blast has taken place and nobody shall be allowed to enter that place.…

BM : But Manpreet, what about the casualities ? You are evacuating the place first, what will happen to the casualities ? Evacuation may lead to stampede.

Me : Yes Sir, That is the reason I will go for safe evacuation first to avoid the stampede. Because, if stampede happens, it will lead to further casualities. Perhaps, both the things have to be done simultaneously.

Chairman : Why do you think SAARC is not picking up, unlike ASEAN ? any particular reason ?

Me : The reason which I consider the most important is the hostility between India and Pakistan. (The Chairman suddenly made a furious face). I think, conflict of interests is the most appropriate word to be used here instead of hostility. Even if we compare SAARC with European Union, we have not been able to bring about the long proposed common currency like Euro. Apart from this , within SAARC, we see many positive events also happening. Like the kind of financial assistance which India gives to Bhutan is phenomenal. Infact, we  have set up various thermal power stations there.

Ch : But, that is at the bilateral level.

Me : Yes Mam, I think the conflict of interest between Indian and Pakistan is holding the SAARC behind.

Ok Manpreet, you can go.

My SCORE : 219/300

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Another Date with UPSC


Day after i.e. 29th March, Here i stand to attend my 4th and the last UPSC Interview. From NADT, there are 63 people attending the interviews. It seems that NADT is sending its commandos in tits and bits to Delhi to combat the missiles lanuched from D P Aggarwal and Co.

I am hopeful of a good performance by everyone. Uptil now, the NADT is performing really well. I will try to share the Interview questions of my colleagues also here on my blog, at some point of time in the future. 

Signing off.

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