Personality test (interview)
IAS interview typically revolve around candidate's background and current affairs. It generally lasts for about 40 - 60 minutes. The interview is for a maximum of 275 marks, so it has about 14% weightage (275 out of 2025) The interview board will assess the candidate’s appearance, manners, poise, alertness, emotional balance, rational and unbiased judgment, decision making ability under stress, depth of knowledge, communication skills, analytical skills, leadership skills and integrity.
IAS All India Topper - Revu Muthyala Raju
Revu Muthyala Raju, son of a farmer, who has topped the civil services examination, is the living example of hard work, grit and determination. Hailing from a remote island village in Andhra Pradesh’s coastal district of Krishna, the 27-year-old made the state proud by emerging all India topper.Death of his sister and six friends in his remote Chinnagollapalem village lacking transportation facility motivated him to take up the civil services examination. “My sister and others could not get medical attention in time as my village has no transportation facility and is cut off by Godavari and Krishna rivers. The only way of reaching the village is by small boats,” said Raju “There are hundreds of villagers which lack transportation and other basic amenities and I want to serve them,” said Raju. The desire to top forced Raju to appear for the examination for the third time. He had secured 223rd rank in the second attempt last year and joined as IPS probationer from Rajasthan cadre. Raju’s father Narasimha Murthy is a farmer and his two elder brothers are also into agriculture. A bright student right from his school days, Raju passed 10th standard from the government school close to his village. Despite all the odds, he joined a polytechnic college in the same region. Raju secured first rank in ECET-1998, did B. Tech from National Institute of Technology, Warangal. He secured third place in GATE-2002 and did Masters in Engineering (ME) in Signal Processing from Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore. He secured first rank in the Indian Engineering Services-2003 and took up a job as a railway engineer. “There is nothing which a man can’t achieve. You have to believe in yourself, be positive and prepare to achieve the goal,” he said sharing the secret of his success.
Raju's actual interview as recollected by himself
Raju: May I come in Sir?
Chairman: Yes, please
Raju: Good morning, Sir. Good morning, Madam. Good morning, Sirs.
Chairman: You are Mr...
Raju: (Still in standing position), Muthyala Raju Revu Sir.
(Chairman is writing something. Other members are keenly watching the candidate.)
Member 2: Please take your seat.
Raju: Thank you, sir.
Chairman: Mr. Revu, You did B.Tech from REC Warangal, ME from IISc, Bangalore. But why did you do diploma?
Raju: Sir, After completion of my 10th class, based on my financial background, my father joined me in polytechnic. After completion of polytechnic, we do get jobs. Also, since I will get scholarship, the amount of money spent on me is less.
Chairman: That means you will get job after diploma.
Raju: Yes Sir, I got a private job. Company is Cain energy limited.
Chairman: Then, why did you join B.Tech?
Raju: Sir, After completion of my diploma, I wrote ECET and I got state 1st rank. So I convinced my father that I will join REC which is a premier Engineering institute in our state.
Chairman: Then, you joined ME because your father insisted on that?
Raju: No Sir, It is based on my project guide’s suggestion. Sir, infact there are two streams to enter into B.Tech. One through EAMCET after Intermediate and other is through ECET. After ECET...
Chairman: What question I have asked?
Raju: Sorry Sir, you have asked me why I joined ME after B.Tech.
Chairman: OK. Then stick on to the question.
Raju: Sir, I am explaining it.
Chairman: Be specific.
Raju: OK sir, during my final year I got all India rank 3 in Gate. My guide on knowing this result suggested me to join IISc. He further told that this is the golden opportunity for me. ‘If you miss it you will not get it again!’ he told sir. Then, I informed about my career option as civil services. He then convinced me by saying that I can write civil services after M.E. also.
Chairman: That means you are preparing for civil services while you are in IISc?
Raju: I beg to differ with you sir. I started my preparation only after completion of M.E.
Chairman: You have written that you joined Railways in September 2004. That is of which exam?
Raju: Sir, This is based on IES-2003.
Chairman: That means you are in IISc.
Raju: Sir, I completed my second semester at that time.
Chairman: That means you have prepared for IES in IISc.
Raju: Sir, I have given IES in my own background i.e., Electrical Engineering. Hence I need not prepare much for this exam. I just gave the exam.
Chairman: For how many years you are in Railways?
Raju: Sir, I joined Railways on September 2004. Then I took leave for 1 year, i.e., leave on loss of pay.
Chairman: What did you do in that year?
Raju: Sir, I have prepared for this exam.
Chairman: How many months you are in Railways?
Raju: Sir, roughly 5 months.
Chairman: That means you are in Railways till February.
Raju: Sir, I am in Railways till the result of civil services exam 2005 was out. I was given leave for interview preparation in March.
Chairman: Then what did you do after the declaration of the result?
Raju: Sir, Once the result of out, I came to know that I will get IPS. So, I convinced my director for leave to appear civil services again. My director gave me leave.
Chairman: When did you join IPS?
Raju: Sir, I joined IPS on December 18, 2006.
Chairman: Which part of training you missed?
Raju: Sir, I missed foundation training in Mussorie. At SVPNPA, training started on December 18, 2006. So, I haven’t missed any training at Hyderabad.
Chairman: How many days you have taken leave for interview?
Raju: Sir, 4 days.
Member 2: How was your IPS training?
Raju: Sir, training is good and we are enjoying every aspect of training.
Member 2: What are you learning in training?
Raju: Sir, our training is divided into two parts. Indoor and outdoor. In indoor, we have subjects like police in modern India, criminology and law subjects like IE Act, CrPC, IPC and other subjects.
Member 2: You are in IPS for 4 months. So I can ask some questions.
Raju: Yes, sir.
Member 2: Do you aware that the confession admitted to police is not allowed as witness. Why?
Raju: Yes sir. Confession admitted to police is not allowed as witness. Since there is always a possibility of getting the confession in the way the police like, law doesn’t allow it.
Member 2: What is Res gestae?
Raju: Sir, All the circumstances leading to the same transaction are allowable as evidence.
Member 2: You are on the line. Could you explain more?
Raju: (after 2-3 seconds), If some people wanted to commit dacoity and in the process if they theft a vehicle, eventhough theft of vehicle is not connected with dacoity but it is admissible as it forms the circumstance leading to dacoity.
Member 2: Could you tell me the section which deals with Res gestae?
Raju: Sorry sir, I could not remember the exact section.
Member 2: Then how sections you were taught in IE Act?
Raju: Sir, In our academy our sirs are not teaching according to sections. They are teaching the sections which are more useful for the police at first.
Member 2: Do you aware of RTI?
Raju: Yes. Sir. It is Right to Information Act.
Member 2: What are the provisions in RTI?
Raju: Sir, According to provisions of RTI, every government department has to nominate one officer as information commissioner to give information about duties, responsibilities and functions of various officers working in those departments...
Member 2: Then what is the benefit to common man?
Raju: Sir, Common man can know the functions, duties & responsibilities of various officers. They can know the status of their applications. This also increases transparency and accountability of officers. Hence reduces corruption.
Member 2: How can you say that people will get required information?
Raju: Sir, There is a provision in RTI that any one who refuses to give information or delays 30 days for giving information, they are liable for cut in salary.
Member 2: How much salary cut?
Raju: Sir, I think it is 250 Rs./ day.
Member 2: It is not cut from salary. It is separately cut.
Raju: Thank you Sir.
Member 2: Can you tell me what is the maximum limit?
Raju: Sorry sir, I don’t know.
Chairman: Your hobbies are meditation, motivating others and Indian Mythology. Don’t you think that all are inward looking?
Raju: Sir, Whenever possible I play cricket in addition my hobbies, which is a team game.
Member 2: Tell me which countries will reach final in the present world cup?
Raju: Sir, I think Australia and Srilanka.
Member 2: Already two countries reached semifinals i.e., Sri Lanka & Newzealand. What do you think about other two?
Raju: Sir, I beg to differ with you. Actually three countries i.e., Srilanka, New Zealand and Australia reached semifinals. 4th team depends on the outcome of the today’s match between England & South Africa.
Member 2: Do you know about fly ash?
Raju: Sir, Thermal power stations produce fly ash while generating electrical power.
Member 2: Which state is using it more? Definitely it is not Haryana, My own state.
Raju: Sorry Sir, I don’t know.
Member 3: (X-A) (X-B) has highest X power of 2. Do you agree?
Raju: Yes, Sir.
Member 3: (X-A) (X-B) (X-C) has highest X power...
Raju: 3, Sir.
Member 3: Then, tell me. What is the answer for (X-A) (X-B).... (X-Z).
Raju: (after 3-4 seconds), It must be Zero. Sir, because of the presence of the term (X-X).
Member 3: Whom do you think a greatest mathematician of all times?
Raju: Sir, Srinivasa Ramanujan, because even though he lived for only 33 years, he contributed more to mathematics in the areas like Numerical methods, Solution of algebraic equations, number theory like prime numbers etc.
Member 3: Can you tell me the formula for prime numbers?
Raju: Sir, exactly I don’t know but recently IIT, Kanpur professor along with his students wrote a software program which gives whether a number is prime or not within less time.
Member 3: You are an electrical engineer. Tell me where prime numbers are used?
Raju: Sir, they are used in coding.
Member 3: I am asking a question in your engineering only. Tell me how prime numbers are used in coding?
Raju: Sir, exactly I don’t know. But to the best of my knowledge, if the code length is prime, decoding and encoding are easy.
Member 3: You are on the line, but not exact answer.
Member 1: Your hobbies are meditation, motivating others and Indian Mythology. What you do in motivation?
Raju: Madam, many of classmates and Juniors came to me for clearing their doubts in subjects as I am the toper of my class. I usually listen to their problems regarding their understanding of concepts as many have problems either in one or many subjects. I tell them that every subject is easy if knew the concepts clear and we should like the subject what we are studying...
Madam: Do your response same for all?
Raju: Madam, I usually spend more time with those who are very much lagging. I take classes to clear their doubts.
Madam: Then do you call it motivation or strategic learning?
Raju: Madam, strategic learning may be the correct term.
Madam: What is the difference between these two?
Raju: Madam, motivation is a general term which includes not only academic motivation but also others like psychological, etc., Madam, I don’t know exactly the meaning of strategic learning.
Madam: Which books you read in Indian Mythology?
Raju: Madam, I read Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Madam: Since your hobbies are motivating others and Indian Mythology, tell me how Krishna motivated Arjuna?
Raju: Madam, When Arjuna refused to fight with friends, teachers, Krishna told him that it is the duty of the king to protect Dharma and fight wars for protecting it. We should not move away from our duty. Since soul is immortal and of which is born, death is certain, of which death happened, birth is certain. Hence you should not think that you are committing crime. Also he motivated him by saying that we should do our work only. We should not think about the results of our actions. Otherwise, attachment to the results will occur which is a major reason for unhappiness.
Madam: Do you practise it?
Raju: Madam, It is very difficult to practise.
Madam: Why?
Raju: Madam, for example, if we are about to play a cricket match, we will think about the winning of the match which is actually the result of the playing that match.
Madam: One last question. What kind of training our team got during our last year world cup?
Raju: Madam, exactly I am not able to recollect it. But it is like we can do it this time
Madam: Sorry, It is not last year world cup but it is 2003 world cup. The team was given psychological training.
Raju: Yes, Madam
Member 4: You studied your B.Tech. from REC Warangal and M.E. from IISc Bangalore. Do you proud of your institutions like IISc?
Raju: Sir, I am proud that I have studied in a great institution like IISc, which according UNESCO survey conducted in 1997 was in 18th place among world universities. Recently a Chinese university conducted a survey in which IISc was placed at around 250th position.
Member 4: Do you think that 250th position is a good position?
Raju: Sir, even though it is not a good position, the position depended on the parameters they have taken into consideration like no. of Nobel laureates present, no. of research papers presented, etc.
Member 4: Who are Nobel laureate present in IISc?
Raju: Sir, now there is no Nobel laureate in IISc. Earlier Sir C.V. Raman worked in IISc. Now, there are two internationally reputed professors working there.
Member 4: Last year government proposed to stop B.Tech entry into IITs. Do you support that?
Raju: Sir, I support it. Sir, due to hectic schedule, the professors of IITs are not able to concentrate much on research. Once the B. Tech entry is stopped, they will get more time for research and quality of research will increase.
Member 4: Don’t you think the quality of B.Tech students will reduce as IITs are known for better professors?
Raju: Sir, those students who are earlier eligible for entry into IITs, they will join NITs. Since they are the core students I don’t think the quality will reduce. But the professors in other institutes should get sufficient training to reach the level of IIT professors.
Member 4: You agree to that proposal. But the government has withdrawn the proposal due to very good argument against it. Can you tell me?
Raju: Sorry sir, I don’t know.
Member 4: What do you think is responsible for reduction in research?
Raju: Sir, IISc is not able to retain those students who completed M.E. and other courses there. One reason is brain drain, Sir. Second one is that research is not attractive in India, Sir. For example, in our batch out of 230 students who completed M.E. only 2 joined for Ph.D. in IISc. At the end of our M.E. we got campus placements. The minimum salary is around 6 lakhs/ annum. It is attracting most of us. Those who are really interested in research, they are going abroad as they will get more money and research is attractive there. Here, a Ph.D. student gets 12,000 - 15,000 Rs per month. Also material considerations have risen these days, sir. We have to include some compulsory courses in morale & ethics to stop this.
Member 4: Instead of choosing job or research, why did you choose services as career option?
Raju: Sir, The incident that took place in my village in November 2000, when I am in 3rd year of B.Tech, has changed my career options. Nearby Engineering college students came to our village for picnic as our village has excellent beach. 7 of them drowned in the Bay of Bengal and all of them has taken sand into their lungs in addition to water. Since our village is an island, there are no transportation, medical & meagre educational facilities, it took 2 hours to reach nearest town which is 16 Km away from my village. By that time, 6 out 7 were died, Sir.
Chairman: You are telling about an incident in your village. In that case who will respond first?
Raju: (3-4 seconds silence)
Chairman: Whether it is Block development officer, Doctor, or Police.
Raju: Sir, It is the police to respond first.
Chairman: Then, you are in IPS. Why did you come?
Raju: Sir, even for police it took 2 hours to reach that place as there is not enough transportation facilities.
Chairman: Thank you.
Raju: Thank you, Sir. Thank you, Madam. Thank you, Sirs.
Actual IAS interview questions asked in previous years
Why did you choose Geography and Public Admn as optionals instead of your subject in graduation?
How can your experience as an engineer help you in your career as a civil servant?
You seem to love your current job. Why do you want to leave it for the civil service?
(The candidate, at the time of the interview, has a very good, high-paying and interesting job)
What is the retirement age of the Army General? Tenure of service chiefs? Army rank hierarchy?
(The candidate's father is, at the time of the interview, an officer with Indian Army)
What is Judicial activism...examples..impact on legislative branch..how it can be handled..
What lessons can India learn from the Fukushima disaster?
If you were to ask us (interview board) one question, what would it be?
Indian police need image make-over? What plagues Indian police.. what reforms are needed...
What is MGNREGA? Its background, effectiveness, shortcomings, how to improve it....
How are India's bilateral ties with Bangladesh? Did they improve recently or deteriorated?
What are tax havens? Name some of them? How Indian govt can deal with them?
What are Parliamentary Committees? How do they work? When do they work?
What is UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir? What are the causes for J & K unrest?
What is NDM-1(superbug)..why is it controvercial? What are the causes? Its projected imapct ...
What is phishing? How to deal with it? Laws for cyber crimes..? Privacy on the net..
What are the major differences between animals and plants?
(The candidate was with 'Indian Forest Service' at the time of the interview)
When is the World Forestry Day?
(The candidate was with 'Indian Forest Service' at the time of the interview)
What were the earlier names of Commonwealth Games?
(This question was asked in 2010, the year in which India hosted Commonwealth Games)
What is the length of the Olympic marathon race?
(The candidate was a running champion)
When was the Ministry of Environment and Forests created?
(The candidate was with 'Indian Forest Service' at the time of the interview)
Why was Nanded in news recently?
(The candidate was from Nanded, Maharastra)
Where are international forestry institutes located?
(The candidate was with 'Indian Forest Service' at the time of the interview)
Low productivity is one of the problems plaguing Indian agriculture. How would you solve it?
(The candidate is from Bihar)
What are the main problems of farmers in Bihar and how government/NGOs can solve them?
(The candidate is from Bihar)
What is ICFRE?
(The candidate was with 'Indian Forest Service' at the time of the interview)
Why and when did Aurangazeb built 'Bibi ka Maqbara?
(The candidate is from Aurangabad and 'Bibi ka Maqbara' is in Aurangabad)
What are the reasons for high IMR and MMR in India? How Indian govt/NGOs can address it?
(The candidate is a medical doctor and its about Infant/Maternal Mortality Rates)
How many Jyothirlingas are there in Marathwada region?
(The candidate is from Marathwada region)
As a district collector, how would you empower women in your district?
(The candidate is a lady)
Suggest one innovative solution to increase forest cover in Uttar Pradesh?
(The candidate is from Uttar Pradesh)
Name some books that you have read recently and what is the best book you've ever read?
(The candidate has mentioned 'reading' as his hobby in his form)
What is RTI? Its impact on governance, bureaucracy? Deaths of RTI activists/solutions/drawbacks..
What is the historical, politicaL and cultural significance of Pune?
(The candidate had part of his education in Pune)
What is the team size in Volleyball? What are the dimensions of an Olympic Volleyball court?
(The candidate listed Volleyball as his hobby in the Mains form)
What is Lokpal bill? How it can be effective? Why current laws failed to rein in corruption....
What is GPS? How it works? Can it be useful in crime fighting? privacy issues of GPS...
How is volleyball different from beach volleyball? When was beach volleyball included in Olympics?
(The candidate listed volleyball is his hobby in the Mains form)
What is your favourite topic in Geography? Why?
(Geography is the candidates optional subject)
What service you did for the society till now? Did you do any community service or social work?
(The candidate mentioned that he chose civil service because he wants to serve the society)
Who is Anna Hazare? His demands... feasibility...impact on society in general..politics in particular..
Election reforms in India..practicality of right to recall.. none of the above option..EC structure...
What is the status of Tibet? What is the administration/provincial structure in China?

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