April 4,2011. Morning session, I was fifth in my group to be interviewed.
Panel: Mr. Nirbhay Sharma.
Setting: Mr. Nirbhay Sharma (NS)
Fourth Member Second Member
Fifth member Lady member
Rahul Rekhawar (RR).
Duration of interview: Around 18 minutes. (~12.30pm to ~12.50pm)
RR: Good morning Sir, Good morning Ma’m, Good morning to you all sirs.
NS: Good morning. Please sit down.
RR: Thank you sir. ( I sit down ).
NS: What is your name?
RR: Sir, Rahul Rekhawar sir.
NS: Rahul, you have a good academic record. You seem to have done your engineering…..
RR: Yes sir.
NS: And Electrical and Electronics is a very good branch. Tell me, should we have specialists in government or generalists? Won’t specialists be useful in power ministry?
RR: Sir, we should have generalists sir because every ministry has to take care of not only technical concerns but social concerns as well and coordinate with all other departments. For ex, in power projects, we see that same village where plant is located does not have power connections.
NS: Aren’t you contradicting yourself?
RR: No sir, a generalist will take care of these concerns also more effectively and government has to take care of social concerns also, not just technical.
NS: Ok. What is the status of Tibet?
RR: Sir, it is an autonomous region of China.
NS: So, is it not like any other province of China?
RR: No sir, it has some special powers to take care of some regional aspects.
NS: So, does China have similar provincial structure of administration like ours?
RR: Sir, not exactly, as we follow the principal of cooperative federalism in our centre-state relation but China has one-party system and so, administration gets more centralized than ours.
NS: I heard China is claiming Arunachal Pradesh. Why so?
RR: Sir, it is observed that Arunachal Pradesh was earlier considered part of larger Tibet region culturally. Earlier we did not have boundaries but frontiers. But when British demarcated it, the Arunachal Pradesh became part of India.
NS: What was historical position of Tibet?
RR: Sir, I faintly remember that in 1913-14, there was a pact that said that any decision regarding Tibet should be taken in consultation with Chinese Government.
NS: How do you see Indian government supporting government in exile of Tibet? Shouldn’t this make China angry?
RR: Sir, it is natural for China but it has been longstanding position of India that it supported people and there aspirations everywhere. It has been the position of India even before independence. What is important is the kind of support. India will always support peacefully but will never support militarily or forcefully.
NS: What was the position before independence?
RR: Sir, in 1920s and 30s……
NS: So, tomorrow if China interferes in Nagaland and Assam, should we tolerate?
RR: Sir, China may interfere sir, but China itself will realize that it will be of no use. We are already in dialogue with the people there. People have also reaslised that armed methods are of no use for development. So, even if China interferes, it will not be a problem.
NS: See J&K is also a problem. We always talk of a UN resolution about it. What was that resolution?
RR: Sir, I faintly remember that the resolution asked to find and follow the aspirations of the people but also only after restoration of the original conditions.
( hands over to lady member)
Lady Member: You have worked for a year & since preparing full time…(I nodded). But didn’t you think of any further education plan?
RR: No Ma’m, I had already planned to pursue civil services.
Lady Member: Why was Nanded in news recently?
RR: Ma’m, 2-3 years back, there was an event ‘Guru Ta Gaddi’ to commemorate 300 years of completion of coronation of Guru Granth Saheb as Guru of Sikh community. Also, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr. Ashok Chavhan belongs to Nanded who is related to Adarsh Scam.
Lady Member: Ok, I am someone who knows Maharashtra well. So, tell me, what is the importance of Poona that is called Pune now?
RR: Ma’m, Pune is considered cultural capital of Maharashtra, educational capital of Maharashtra. It was political capital during Peshva’s times& was significant economically in British times also. Even today, the formal dialect of Marathi is the one spoken in Pune.
Lady Member: And also the role Tilak, Agarkar and social reformers….
RR: Yes yes Ma’m.
Lady Member: Your optionals are Physics and Geography….both are seminal ones…ok tell me, which one is your favorite topic in Geography?
RR: Ma’m, my favorite topic is from Paper II. It is Indian Agriculture as it is very relevant to civil service career and there is huge scope for creativity also.
( hands over to third person)
Third Member: What all have you done as community work?
RR: Sir, I was member of NSS-National Service Scheme- in BITS. Also, while working, I was a member of an NGO AID India & started a night school that would function form 9.30pm to 12.30in night. I was fully associated with it while working and even today, I visit it whenever possible. It is still going on.
Third Member: What are the issues between India and Bangladesh?
RR: Sir most of the issues have been solved with arrival of new government in Bangladesh but still pending issues are about power sector cooperation, transportation corridor and most importantly about migrants.
( hands over to fourth person)
Fourth member: You said Indian Agriculture is your favorite topic. Tell me what is the major problem of Indian agriculture?
RR: Sir, lack of public investment and knowledge dissemination.
Fourth member: No, no, that is a means to solve the problem. What is the problem?
RR: Sir, low productivity is the problem…..
Fourth member: Yes yes. That is the problem.
RR: But sir, actual problem is the lack of investment and knowledge dissemination. If they are solved, productivity will automatically improve. So....
Fourth member: Yes yes, but productivity is the problem. Ok, what are other problems?
RR: Sir, Farmers are forced to spend large money for agriculture leading to debt trap & suicides in wider areas of India.
Fourth member: But see, PM Rajiv Gandhi himself had said that only Rs.16 reach to people.
RR: Sir, public investment itself has gone so down that whole budgetary support itself is not sufficient.
Fourth member: Ok, so what is the solution?
RR: Sir, I think, we should follow the principal of ‘Management by Objective’ sir. From Krishi Sevak in village to Taluka Technology disseminator to everyone, there should be targets given. For ex. If irrigated area is 15% in a village then the target should be, say 17% for that village. We have schemes like Swajaldhara where 90% expenses is given by Government and 10% is to be paid by people.Such many schemes are there. Moreover, this performance must be a criterion to decide their promotions and future growth. When I talked to my District Agriculture Officer about this, he said that farmers are not motivated…….
Fourth member: Come on, who would not like to be rich…..
RR: Yes sir. In fact farmers are not motivated and that is why this whole machinery exists to motivate them. If they themselves say this, then that is not correct. Apart from this, at macro level, I would recommend a telecom like model sir. What we did in telecom model was we divided country in circles and allowed 4-5 players in each circle along with a state player BSNL. Similarly, let us divide the country in 127 agro-climatic zones….
Fourth member: 127?
RR: Yes sir, we actually have 15-16 Agro climatic zones and 127 sub zones.
Fourth member: Ok ok….
RR: & then use the similar model for agriculture. We had Green Revolution but actual message of Green Revolution was not to go for Chemical intensive agriculture but that if agriculture improves, everything else will improve. Look at Punjab and Haryana today. They have been completely transformed.
Fourth member: Hummmm, we should not go for chemical intensive agriculture as it is harming agriculture now….
RR: Yes sir, the message of Green Revolution was not to go for chemical intensive agriculture but that if agriculture improves everything else will improve.
( fifth member)
Fifth member: What are SEZs?
RR: Sir, it is a policy of Government of India to create geographical zones for intensive industrial development. They are custom bound and enjoy tax concessions. They are primarily raised for export growth.
Fifth member: What is sustainable development?
RR: Sir, it means growth should happen in such a way that in future also, we keep growing. Growth today should not be at the cost of future growth.
Fifth member: Is SEZ & sustainable development related?
RR: Yes sir, in fact every government policy has to be related to that. We see that our exports are growing but outside companies are also coming in the same SEZ due to financial gains. If huge no of industries are going to get concentrated in small region, it will have very serious impact on environment and surrounding area. We should not have a model like China where for more than 11-12% growth, all rivers are polluted.
Fifth member: Have you traveled from Delhi towards Chandigarh?
RR: No sir, I have not.
Fifth member: Ok, towards UP, Lukhanow…..?
RR: (thinking for a second)
Fifth member: you will see that large very fertile land is being diverted to industry. Is it all right?
RR: Sir, I accept that well irrigated fertile land should be reserved for agriculture only as far as possible. But we have states like West Bengal, where whole state is fertile being a Ganga flood plain and delta. Such a strict policy will result in no industry there. But, they also need development. So, as for as possible, we should avoid fertile land and only as a last option, we should allow this.
Fifth member: But recently, there also were controversies regarding industries…..
RR: Yes sir, but they were primarily because of rehabilitation. We must ensure that everybody is made part of development and we have to take everyone along. It should not be that only small economically well section should grow. That is not sustainable.
Fifth member: Then how to solve this problem?
RR: Sir, I think we should take some cue from Haryana and UP where very good compensation packages have been given to farmers including provision of pension and payments till 30 years.
( back to NS)
NS: Ok Rahul. Now let us say you become District Magistrate after few years of service & you find that a group of contractors is cornering away all the contracts and not doing good work. They have high political connections. Your subordinates are not ready to take action against them. You asked your seniors and even they are not very helpful and told you that let the situation be as it is. What will you do?
RR: Sir, first I will take the stock of the situation…..
NS: Yes yes, that is all done.
RR: Sir, then first thing I will do is put all the papers related to that department on the website….
NS: What papers?
RR: Sir, the tender process and inspection papers…
NS: That is all perfect on paper. And common man doesn’t understand them.
RR: But sir, media will note the difference on paper and on field. It will have to take note of it. Simultaneously, I will encourage civil society activists to take interest in it.
NS: What will you do? Will you leak some info?
RR: Sir, there is nothing left to leak from me as all papers are already on website. Sir, politicians are most afraid of harm to their image in public. They can accept everything but not the harm to their image in public. So, I have to take all these players along with me. A single person can’t do many things sir. It has to be a coordinated effort. I have to take everyone along with me. Sir, I can play one instrument but if I want to create a symphony, I have to coordinate everyone.
NS: Ok Rahul, Thank you, you can go.
RR: Thank you sir & Happy New Year sir.
NS: Oh yes yes, Wish you too.
Rekhawar Rahul Ashok secured 210 marks out of 300.
Last Update Sunday 11th March 2012