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UPSC interview experience with Sh. Vijay Singh’s board

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A UPSC aspirant named Praveen has posted his interview experience with the board of Sh. Vijay Singh. This will be useful for anyone looking for UPSC Civils preparation for interviews. The following interview is of a guy named Praveen who has narrated his experience.

Bit late in the day but here goes story from my side of encounter with Mr. Cool. First a little bit bout me. Over 5 years of work ex (MTNL+MoD+FINO). BE+MBA(MDI,Gurgaon). It was 25 march forenoon session.
After taking my seat CM fired first salvo though a begnin one
CM: What is FINO
ME: it stands for Financial inclusion network and operations. It is a pvt firm based in mumbai
cm: what is financial inclusion
me: it is bout providing banking services like savings and credit facilities to underserved or not served. so it is bout taking unserved or under served into financial services fold.
cm: what is ur role
me: I have set up company operations in Puri orissa and am responsible for entire operations there. I am working with a team of over 150 operators and technical staff. these ppl go village to village providing atm like smart cards based on biometric tech to villagers. I am responsible for overall operations there and try to maximize no. of enrollments in the day.
cm: what other companies are there in rural mkt
me: sir in FMCG HUL has revolutionazied the rural mkt
CM(Latching on the answer): what is has done
me: with its strategy to sell sachets in rural mkt it has penetrated it quite deep
cm(Nodding his head): yes yes, we are hearing bout it for long, what else
me: apart from this it has created SHGs for women in rural areas under its CSR activities and created lot of employment
cm: ok, would u like to go in HUL if given a chance
me: sir it depends upon type of opportunity coming my way. if scope is good and there is chance to increase my knowledge and apply my current strengths i will definately go.
Baton passed over to nect member


m1: r u ppl also in micro finance field
me: we r basically a technology platform company providing our services to banks like ICICI, HDFC, AXIS etc these banks are given mandate by govt. for financial inclusion which they carry out with our help. So Micro finance is not out main business line but yes it is one of the off shoot though a small one.
m1 (Nodding): ok, still u ppl disburse some loans
me: yes
m1: what is the rate is it 0% or 5% or higher
(I thought this one was like a carrot. He not only asked question but gave me options too which were way off the mark. If i had taken the bait it was THE END)
me: no it is not 0 or 5% it is around 22%
m1: do u not think it is too high
me: it looks like but there are two factors here: 1. loans we disburse are very low generally around 10k or at max 30k…… 2. frequency of repayment whicvh is generally weekly or fornightly. when these two factors combine absolute amount they are paying per installlment is very low. hence customers are more then happy to take loans
m1: how do u insure they pay back
me: our micro finance scheme is based on SHG model as propagated by Muhammad yunus of grameen bank(Most of the members were nodding) it is not the individual capacity to pay back but rahter capacity of group to pay back. If one member falters then others come to its rescue.
m1: how u gauge pay back capacity of customers
me: it depends upon their interest in what r they doing, their physical and vocational capability to do it and market condition for the product they are manufacturing. We look into all these things while giving loans.
m1: Do u know how many SHGs are working in india
me: I am sorry sir i m not aware bout that (this i said with ear to ear grin on my face as though i was delighted in not knowing it)……..Thank god he smiled back


it was turn of lady member
lm: so u were overall coordinator of engg college fest
me: yes
lm: what exactly was ur role
me: i with the help of team decided what kind of events would be there, who will conduct what, timings, prizes etc
lm: ok, so what was ur stress in designing these events
me: we tried to make these events relevant to future professional career of all involved. We tried to get events such that new ideas can be generated and can be implemented.
lm: ne particular model u liked there
me: as far as i can remember there was a model based on radio frequencies in which one of our professors was also involved. I like it very much. It was mainly to uplod and download signals from satellite. It had great practical utility. But i DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED to the model afterwards
lm: ok
that was the end of her. such a sweet lady. not a single one to bother or stress my mind. Or she thought "U stupid………ur level is this much only"
baton was now in hands of 2nd lady member


lm2: what is difference between leader and manager
thank god at least one from my optional
me: manager is more a technical concept. it isa bout managing resources both man and material. there are certain techniques involved and jargon as well. while a leader is more a humane concept(I looked at mr. cool…..bending on arm’s rest with one hand on mouth he was epitome of attention) Leader tries not only to manage situation but he goes beyond it. He tries to affect the group and motivate it so that they can gear up for the job at hand. hence leader as a concept has much wider connotation.
lm2: name one person for two categories
gandhi was one the greatest leader of last century as he motivated ppl so much that they were ready to lay their life for him. Nandan nilkeni is really a good manager as he has shown during his stint in Infosys and now doing tremendous job in UID under brand name AADHAR
lm2: what do u want to be: a leader or manager (Mu mummy like smile she had…….so cute)
me: first a good manager then will graduate to be a good leader
lm2: name first festivals of haryana
me: festivals in haryana are mainly based on agricultural cycle. We recently celebrated Phaag, then there is baishakhi which basucally is from punjab but adopted in haryana. then in rohtak there are local melas (I stressed only on those which are exclusive to haryana)
(and yes mr cool in first round also asked one more question: if given a chance what will i sell in rural; mkt. a sachet of shampoo or biscuit. first i did not get what he was trying. should i answer from marketing angle so i asked him to repeat the question then it clicked to me "IT is CSE so hold on the social thread" I gave lot of air on nutrition andn hence will sell biscuit. he nodded approvingly and said yes it is better to have full stomachs)


he took the thread from oner my answer
m4: so u have seen real india while in FINO. what r the problems they r facing
me: working in fino and among rural poor was quite a revelation to me. earlier was of the view why rural poor migrate to cities and congest already overwhelmed infrastructure here. Being a civil service student i thought that through books i know quite a lot bout problems they r facing. But going there and living among them was a revelation. There are no industries at all. they have nothing to fall back upon. poverty is so severe that it is unbelievable. I saw an ocean of destitution there and realizesd that kind of civic amenities we are enjoying in cities are not even in their dreams. hence they have no option left but to leave the villages.
m4: u r talking bout industrial development only
me: agriculture is second part of the answer. After talking to local villagers i came to know that they have just one crop per year or at max two. but due to any reason idf crops fail then they have no plan b. it is starvation for them. Starvation is stark reality there. there are no proper irrigation facilities, no post harvest mgt like cold stores, no mkt. faci;lities etc. hence these poor ppl cannot stick to the villages and move to cities.
I looked at the lady member whop was nodding.
m4: what are advantages of corporate farming
me: 1. better management of agri
2. more capital
3. better tech
m4: so shuld we introduce it widely
me: blanket application will lead to loss of employment due to mechanization so strict monitoring is required.
Now it was turn of Mr. cool again


cool: u were in MTNL also
me: yes sir from 2003 to 2005
cool: ok, ur post
me: I was junior telecom officer
cool: ur role
me: i was fortunate enough to be part of team which implemented broadband for MTNL in delhi
cool: ok (Now he became informal…….stated narrating his problems with broadband companies) MTNL has been unable to penetrate mkt
me: yes sir. Even i had mtnl broadnband connection six months back but switched over to tata data card
cool: is it good
me: yes sir, it is giving me seamless connectivity and connectivity is uninturuppted as well
cool: ok, what is issue with mtnl
me: main issue with mtnl broadband is the basic infrastructure on which they r relying. MTNL is using ADSL i.e asymmetric digital subscribers line technology. In it they r provinding net on copper cables of telephones. but these copper cables are in very bad shape. they r unable to support required bandwidth. hence mtnl is unable to provide good services.
That was the end of it. lasted for around 30 minutes.


my observations bout the interview
1. no exaggerated facial expressions from that side of table except nodding head or listening attentively
2. No current affairs, no why civils, only one salvo on my home state, only 2 from my optional, no hobbies etc.
3. it was more like discussion on my job experiences
4. Last but not least ………I forget to say Good morning!! was so involved in my own thought process while entering room and Mr cool offered me chair on the drop of hat.

See link for the discussion and the following image:

orkut - Vijay Singh Board ICS 25.03.11_1303399930346

Written by upsc aspirants

April 21st, 2011 at 9:04 pm