I was on Mr. K K Paul’s board. I was the first candidate to be interviewed on that day. I was bit nervous to be interviewed first. Anyway I managed to keep my cool. By 10.30, my interview was started and it lasted for 40 minutes. I could not impress the Chairman but somehow tackled the questions from other Board Members. I am not sure how much will I be getting in the interview.
First of all Mr Paul asked me about my Name, Roll No. and Date of birth. Then, as on the previous day World cup semi-final was played he inquired whether I had watched the match. I replied, yes but not fully.
Chairman: What was the turning point of the match?
Me: Tendulkar was dropped 4 times and almost all Indian bowlers picked up wickets. (He was not convinced)
Chairman: Who was the captain of Indian on the first ever match played between India and Pakistan? Me: No idea sir.
Chairman: Who was the captain of Pakistan on the first ever match played between India and Pakistan?
Me: No idea sir.
(Then the Chairman gave the answer and asked whether I know them. I nodded negatively.) Chairman: Why the rainbow is always curved?
Me: Rainbows are formed by refraction of light from rain drops. Rain drops are spherical in shape and different colours have different wavelengths which are refracted differently and gave rise to curved shape.
(He was not convinced)
Chairman: Have u heard of Irom Sharmila?
Me: Yes sir. She is a social activist fighting for repeal of AFSPA (Armed forces special power act) from NE areas of our country.
Chairman: What is the specialty about her?
Me: She is on a continuous fast since last one decade to fight for this great cause.
Chairman: What is AFSPA?
Me: This act empowers armed forces with special powers such as to detain anybody without trial for indefinite period in certain disturbed areas to maintain peace and security of the region.
Chairman: What is the specific clause, she wants to repeal?
Me: Sorry sir, I don’t remember.
Chairman: You are working in NTPC since last 5 years. Then why are you planning to change your job?
Me: Truly speaking NTPC is the inspirational source of mine for preparing for Civil Services. I am working in a generalised Dept., where I have to work with in sync with different Departments such as Engineering, Finance etc.
Gradually I felt that if I can contribute in a efficient manner here, why can’t I use my talent in a bigger field for the service of the society.
Chairman: But, you are also now contributing to the society?
Me: Here Sir my scope is limited to only one filed. In civil service I will get a chance to serve in broader spectrum.
(He was not convinced. After that he asked a few more questions and then asked other members to ask questions)
Member1: You have mentioned that your hobby is collecting coins. What is it called? Me: Numismatism.
Member1: What is the oldest coin you possess? Me: It is of the year 1892, 2 Anna, Victoria series.
Member1: What is the present installed capacity of our country? Me: around 1, 72,000 MW.
Member1: What is the share of each sector?
Me: Thermal=65%, Hydro=20%, Nuclear=3%, RES=12%
Member1: Recently Govt. has launched a new mission for renewable energy. What is the name of that programmer?
Me: National Solar Mission to generate 20,000 MW of solar energy by 2022.
Member2: What is the installed capacity of NTPC? (As I am working in NTPC)
Me: 33,194 MW.
Member2: Is it all coal based?
Me: No Sir, A major share (say 75%) comes from coal and remaining are gas based projects. Hydro projects are still to be commissioned. NTPC is planning to venture into Nuclear, Solar and Wind energy.
Member2: What is UMPP?
Me: Ultra Mega Power Projects, which are basically taken to bridge the large demand gap in power sector in our country.
Member2: What should be the minimum generating capacity of a power plant to be called a UMPP? Me: 3000 MW
Member2: How many UMPPs are there in our country?
Me: Govt has already placed orders for 4-5 UMPPs such as Susan, Mudra etc. and Govt. is planning more.
Member2: How many of them are in operation? Me: None of them have been commissioned.
Mmber2: Then, what is the present status of their construction?
Me: Sorry sir, I don’t have a detailed idea but some of them may be commissioned early in the next year.
Member2: Some of them are facing financial crunch? Do you know them?
Me: No idea sir.
Member3 (Lady Member): Why Orissa is so backward?
Me: There is lack of proper utilization of resources because of the poor level of human development and adoption of the top-down model of planning for development.
Member3: So you mean to say Orissa can never be developed?
Me: No Mam, these days lot of investments are coming and Orissa is poise to be the biggest investment hub in our country. Furthermore the planning is being with the involvement of the people.
(She was not convinced and then the Chairman interrupted)
Chairman: What can be done to improve the industrial Sector of your state?
Me: The Govt. should take the initiative to investment in a planed manner; Private players must be encouraged to play a greater role, central assistance is needed and wherever possible foreign players must also be given a chance.
(Chairman too was not convinced with the answer and asked the member to continue) Member3: What can be done to improve the financial scenario of Orissa?
Me: (I don’t remember what I answered)
Member4: These days there is a news regarding ‘Cricket Diplomacy’. What is the other sport in which the term Diplomacy is attached?
Me: No idea sir.
(The member asked me to try and I said ‘Hockey’. I think I made a big mistake here by guessing.)
Member4: It is ‘Ping-pong’ diplomacy. Have u heard of it?
Me: No Sir.
Member 4: How many languages are recognized in our constitution? Me: 22
Member 4: Among them, which is the language that is not the state language of any state?
Me: (I really had no idea and he asked me to guess. Again I guessed wrongly such as Bodo or Dongri. He denied and said that it is ‘Sanskrit’. However, later I found that Sanskrit is the 2nd state language (after Hindi) of Uttarakhand’
Member 4: Do you know Nitish Kumaar? Me: He is the Chief Minister of Bihar.
Member4: Since how long he is acting as CM of Bihar? Me: Since last 4-5 years.
(Jokingly he said that “ohh, since last 45 years he is serving as CM. I clarified again and said that it is around 4-5 years)
Member4: So you mean to say it is his first term as CM?
Me: No sir. May be it’s his 2nd term but I am not sure. (Later I found that it is his 3rd term)
Member4: What has he done for development of Bihar?
Me: He has improved the law & order situation and have made significant improvements in the infrastructure and social sector of the state.
Member4: What are specific projects and programs launched by him? Me: No idea sir.
Member4: You hell from Puri district of Orissa. Tell me what are the major natural disasters that affect you district?
Me: Flood, cyclone etc.
Member4: What the Govt. has done after 1999 super-cyclone to minimize the damage?
Me: Govt. has built Cyclone shelter centers along the coast and has launched many awareness campaigns to educate the people regarding the use of this. It has strengthened the SDMA (State Disaster Management Authority).
Member4: But why the people are not using these cyclone centers? Me: (I could not answer this)
Member4: You district is a poor district. What could be done to develop your district?
Me: Puri district possess a vast tourism potential with Sun Temple, Konark and Jagannath Temple,
Puri. Fishing and Agriculture can be encouraged given the irrigation potential of the district. Wind energy can be tapped from the vast coastline. Further, the tourism development of the nearby areas such as Chilka Lake, Similipal Tiger Resrve etc. should be encouraged to attract more foreign tourists.
(I think by mentioning Chilka Lake I made the biggest mistake and this attracted the intervention form the Chairman)
Chairman: What is the property of the water of what you called Chilka Lake? Me: It is a salt water lake.
Chairman: Is it a lake or something else? Me: Sorry sir, It is called Chilka Lagoon.
Chairman: What is the difference between a Lake and Lagoon?
Me: Lagoon is a water body having a connection to sea. But Lake is a fully enclosed water body.
(That was the last question to me. Then the Chairman me thanked me and stated that my interview is over. I thanked them all and left the room while thinking of the mistake made by me by mentioning Chilka Lake)