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Interview Transcript - Saurabh Jassal, IAS (Civil Services Examination 2017)

Saurabh Jassal (404th Rank, CSE 2017),acomputer engineer from NSIT New Delhi had picked up Law as optional subject.

His Interview was on 3rd April 2nd half of the day. His Interview Board was that of Sujata Mehta Ma’am.

Interview went good, and most of the questions were on expected lines, it lasted for nearly 27 minutes.

Saurabh Jassal

(Rank 404, Civil Services Examination 2017)

Interview Board: Sujata Mehta Ma’am


ME: may I come in Ma'am?

CM: Yes, please.

ME: Good evening mams

CM: Good Afternoon

ME: Good evening sirs

ME: (After a pause), may I sit.

CM: Yes, Please

CM: Please introduce yourself

ME: My name is Saurabh Jassal. By roots I am from Himachal Pradesh and by heart I am from Delhi. I have spent substantial time of my life until now in Delhi.

I completed my schooling form Army Public School and then did graduation from Netaji Subash Institute of Technology with majors in computer engineering.

During final year of my college I got placed in Sapient Consulting. After that I am working as Software engineer in that company in Gurgaon.

CM: Saurabh where all your offices are located?

ME: Ma'am in India?

CM: Yes

ME: It has branches in Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai and Bangalore.

CM: And outside India?

ME: They have offices in 18 locations, like Boston, Chicago, EMEA region, Hong Kong etc.             

CM: Alright, Saurabh tell me about your work?

Me: I have worked across multiple projects primarily from Capital Markets like Investment Banks, Wealth Management and these days I am working in an internal Project.

CM: So, most of your work must be for BACK office (a term in investment banking).

Me: Yes, Ma'am

CM: Saurabh, every year a list of billionaires is published and new people are added to list, there is lot of news and discussion about it. What does it tell about economy of India?

ME: First of all, it shows the strength of Indian economy and helps in GDP contribution due to growth of such associated companies.

Second Ma'am relating to socio-economic aspect of this, it points to rising inequalities. 

CM: Why did you take law?

ME: I got curious to know the law of the land, as we meet police, MCD official etc., they say according to law it is like this and that.

Today, I find myself better placed whenever i have to read, understand something legal.

CM: How did you prepare for Law?


  1. I took coaching for Law optional only, as it is a bit technical.
  2. My dad's elder brother 'tayaji', he is a lawyer and my friends have helped me.

CM: Which is your favorite area in Law?

ME: (In the back of my mind i was thinking she might ask question further basis this, let me not narrow down; so, I said) Ma'am I like every topic of Law be it Constitution or International Law or IPC or Mercantile law.

CM: (Ma'am smiling and said) All!

ME: However, Still if I have to choose one, I would say Constitution as it is fundamental law of the land and it is living in nature as most of the news/events are related to it.

MEMBER 1: Saurabh, you have worked in your college's cultural fest?

ME: Yes, Ma'am

MEMBER 1: So tell me about types of paintings.

ME: Ma'am I will start with painting from Himachal, they have Chamba Rumaal (I felt I made a mistake that this isn’t painting. To cover up, I said).This involves using colorful threads to carve a painting scenes etc., my Mumma has carved a few. Then, I said Madhubani Painting, Worli Arts from Maharashtra and Kalamkari from A.P etc.

MEMBER 1: Tell me names of 2 classical singers alive or dead.

ME: I said, Shubhlakshmi (I fumbled a bit, as I could not recall the exact name of M.S Shubalakshi)

MEMBER 1: Okay

ME: (Could not think of another name), I said after some seconds "Taansen"

MEMBER 1: Ma'am smiled a bit and said okay.

MEMBER 1: Saurabh as you mentioned you work in Gurgaon, Is Gurgaon a smart city?

ME: No ma'am Gurgaon is not a smart city rather in process of becoming one.

Along with a smart city we need smart citizenry so that they can make most out of amenities and facilities.

MEMBER 1: Okay, as Urban Planner what all things you will NOT do?

ME: (After taking like 5-10 seconds) Ma'am road side parking should NOT be allowed as it creates congestion and there should be dedicated parking spaces for the same.

Further, ma'am every year we witness water getting on pavement and roads, therefore there should be proper drainage system and hence should NOT be like this.

MEMBER 1: Saurabh you must have heard of regional connectivity via airline many of them are Greenfield projects and some are Brownfield which would need a lot of investment? Should we do this?

Me: Yes Ma'am, we should do this, as such areas get connected by faster means of transport. I can relate it to Himachal Pradesh, for instance there is some medical emergency and we need to airlift then such facilities will be useful.

MEMBER 1: Any other benefit you can think of?

ME: Ma'am there are certain perishable commodities, medicines which must be sent in a time bound manner, then it will be useful.

Apart from this whether Greenfield or Brownfield project it will lead to mushrooming of several ancillary industries.

MEMBER 2: Saurabh tell me about the debate of Netaji Ji and Gandhi Ji.

ME: Sir, this debate relates to means and ends.

Both Netaji and Gandhi Ji wanted same "end" i.e. freedom of India and self-rule. However, they differed in means, Netaji was in favor of joining hands with Axis powers to oust Britishers.

Whereas, Gandhi Ji opined that justice is not on this side as they believe in Racial Superiority and there is threat to world at large.

MEMBER 2: You must have heard of "All India Judicial Service". What are your views about it?

ME: Sir, it has some challenges and concerns: first, the problem of "language" as a lot of proceedings happen in local language, judges so appointed may be able to work.

MEMBER 2: That can be handled as we do it for IAS?

ME: Yes, Sir (in a down tone) as I could not defend it.

Sir, there is concern among judiciary regarding interference of Executive in Judiciary and Judiciary may not be willing to loose such power.

MEMBER 2: Okay

MEMBER 2: Saurabh in our justice system there are immense delays in justice delivery, what are the reasons for such delay?

ME: First, reason is there are lot of vacancies in judiciary, which is a big concern.

Second, Sir a lot of cases go up to the supreme court after several appeals right of lower court up in the hierarchy.

MEMBER 2: So what should we do?


  1. We must fill the vacancies in judiciary.
  2. Once vacancies are filled we must expand the size of judiciary and this has been a lot called demand.
  3. We must promote ADR (Alternate Disputes Settlement) like Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation etc.
  4. We must parallel educate our people so that they withdraw frivolous complains and cases.    

MEMBER 2: You must have studied IPC? Should we rewrite it, since it was written way back almost 200 years back?

ME: No sir, we don't need to rewrite it, it is very well written document and is quite relevant even today. No Document should be frozen in times and should be open for amendment as per need of the day.           

MEMBER 2: Okay, tell me areas which should be amended?

ME: Sir, Section 309 that is offence of suicide. It is one such crime it completed one doesn't go to jail else one can go to jail up to 1 year of imprisonment, Sir such person is in trauma he needs help and not jail. (With a smiling face).

MEMBER 3: Saurabh you said you have worked for Wealth Management clients. Compare Indian capital market with those of rest of the world.

ME: Sir, Indian stock market has been good and important for Indian Economy. When we compare our stock market with those of the world. There is substantial difference in market capitalization. They have SNP500 and we have index of thirty Big companies in Sensex.

MEMBER 3: How much is Market Capitalization of Indian stock market?

ME: Sir, I don't know the number.

MEMBER 3: What are your views about, BSE stocks being listed of Singapore exchange?

ME: Sir, I am not fully aware of the issues with it.

MEMBER 3: Still, what do you think?

ME: They can be listed on such exchanges.

MEMBER 3: what are FII and FDI? What are the key differences between them?

ME: Sir, FII refers to foreign institutional investment and FDI refers to Foreign Direct Investment.

The difference between them is FII is invested in stock markets whereas FDI is direct investment. There is a cap of 10% of equity in company which distinguishes them.

This is so to reduce volatility due to such nature of FII, hence often they are referred to as "Hot Money".

MEMBER 3: Your Company must be giving ESOPS? You can become rich.

ME: No sir, they don't provide at our level, I recently got promoted they don't it for this level as well, maybe at higher executive posts. Sir, I see money as a side effect of what we really want to do, like solving some problem etc. Money, will automatically come.

MEMBER 3: Okay, you are aware many companies provide such options.

ME: Yes Sir.

MEMBER 3: So some people become rich like Mark Zuckerberg who have donated 99% of wealth they have earned and for the welfare of society.

On one side you can be a civil servant and do welfare work for the country and other option of like these rich people. Which is better and why?

ME: Sir, both options are good for the same end being sought for. One can become super rich and channelize such money for welfare of society like Melinda Gates foundation etc.

However, I see the 1st option i.e. becoming civil servant due to "element of certainty". The changes of becoming civil servant are more vis-a-vis becoming billionaire and hence working for welfare. 

MEMBER 3: SEBI has been looking into issues of price information being received earlier than others.

ME: Sir, are you referring to Co-location matter?

MEMBER 3: Yes, what is the issue?

Sir, co-location issue refers to information of stock like price market value being accessible to certain nodes of the network which are near to stock exchange.

Sir, this happens as there is some kind of latency in transfer of such sensitive info over the network between point A and B. Even such a delay of split second can make huge difference due to algorithmic trading and data science etc.

MEMBER 3: What should we do to stop it?

ME: We must ensure that there should no delay in information being transferred to various endpoints on network.

MEMBER 4: What is Encryption?

ME: Sir, encryption refers to processing of some data by encoding so that it can be safe guarded from being hacked or accessed by third party.

MEMBER 4: How can we achieve strong encryptions?


  1. One way of achieving it is by increasing bit size. With every increase in bit size permutation and combinations needed to break increases and hence becomes difficult for primitive computer and one would need super computer to break it.
  2. Next it depends on kind of algorithm being applied like RSA, SHA etc. They are designed by computer scientists. For example, Prime Number theorem is used in which two large prime numbers are used to get a large public key. As such number is difficult to factor to find those 2 numbers.

MEMBER 4: Then how does hackers are able to attack?

ME: Sir, encryption is one way of securing systems, there can be other loopholes like API being exposed.

For example, Facebook exposes certain API's for docking your application. There can be gaps in such API configurations

MEMBER 4: Still, how a hackers attack such US agencies?                             

ME: Sir, I don't know...

MEMBER 4: What do you understand by Cyber Terrorism?

ME: Sir, it refers to spreading terror and threat through internet for example ISIS published its DAESH magazine, bomb making process online.

MEMBER 4: That is dissemination of information, what about attack on Government?

ME: Sir, I relate it more to Cyber Warfare. It is an important threat for examples our systems like SCALA, SCADA, Nuclear Reactor can be compromised through cyber warfare.

MEMBER 4: What about financial markets?

ME: Yes, sir, indeed everything connected by electronic means is vulnerable.

MEMBER 4: As you have keen interest in Constitution. Tell me Judiciary is seen working aggressively on certain issues, (don't remember exact wordings)

ME: Sir, this points to perennial debate of Judicial Activism and Judicial Overreach. Unfortunately, when our legislature and executive don't work, Judicial Activism has been welcomed in certain cases like the case of banning of diesel engines and bringing CNG in Delhi.

MEMBER 4 and CM: But it was done by executive?

ME: Me silent for some time, thinking did i know wrong.

CM: Saurabh, is there anything else which you want us to ask which we haven't covered?

ME: No ma'am, I am happy.

CM: Okay, thank you.

I smoothly got up and said, thank you everyone, have a great day) and then I left and close the door softly.

Last Update Sunday 28th April 2019     

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