Interview Experience of Abhishek Saraf (AIR-6)

Hello Everyone,
In this article I am going to share with you the interview experience of Abhishek Saraf who Joined IRSE 2013 batch. He got all India Rank 6 in ESE 2013 and  obtained 150 marks in interview.


 My interview experience

Chairman of interview Panel: Shri Vinay Mittal

Session: F.N.; No. 6

I am sure by now most of you are aware that DAF is the cornerstone of your interview and rather than having an impressive profile, being able to defend what you have shown matters more!!

Let me begin with my profile first:

B.Tech. : IIT Kanpur (2013); Graduating CPI : 9/10

Projects completed on the topics: Flyash, copper slag, confined masonry (B. Tech. Project ), and one conference publication at 15WCEE), seismic behavior of bridge piers (Research internship @ UBC, Vancouver.

Working then as a research associate at IITK.

Hobby: Watching documentaries about structures, sketching

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I shall be heavily questioned on structures. The only way out is to be able to defend it…

My strategy while preparing was to constantly think of the questions that I might face… That means not only while I was studying but while doing mundane daily stuff like eating etc. and in parallel thinking of answers for them. Maintain a copy, doc file or sth for final revision…

As expected my interview was highly ‘structures’ oriented… jumping right to the questions..

Vinay Mittal Sir: Are you working

Me: Yes a research associate at IIT Kanpur

Vinay Mittal Sir: What are you working on?

Me: Sir, I am working on the residual mechanical properties of TMT steel bars after exposure to elevated temperatures.

Vinay Mittal Sir: What is the practical implication of this?

Me: Sir, the findings will be helpful for planning the repair and rehabilitation strategies of fire damaged RC structures as well as to assess the strength reduction of TMT steel bars after exposure to high temperatures during welding.

Vinay Mittal Sir: How can we design earthquake resistant structures?

Me: Sir, IS 1893 states that for earthquake resistance a structure should have adequate strength, stiffness, ductility and regular configuration.

Vinay Mittal Sir: Adequate stiffness and ductility… Isn’t that contradictory?

Me: No sir, A structure should have adequate stiffness under working loads but ductility at failure.

Vinay Mittal sir: What is infrastructure? Give examples.

Me: Primary it consists of power, transport and communication systems of an economy.

Viany Mittal sir: About the recent food security bill…. if you were to decide, what would you invest in, infrastructure or food security?

Me: Food security.

Vinay Mittal Sir: Why?

Me: Sir, to me infrastructure as much important as food security… it about investment in the future, you can’t have investment in the future at the cost starving people in the present

Vinay Mittal Sir: Don’t you think it will give an incentive to people to sit idle and avail free food?

Me: No sir, that is not the intent. This will provide the bare minimum food for survival which will help them stand on their own two feet…Help them take care of other expenses better.

Vinay Mittal Sir: Still there will be inefficiency in the part of the people, don’t you think that this bill should be scrapped?

Me: No sir, from my understanding I think it is a positive step forward. That’s all I can say

Vinay Mittal Sir: What are the factors to take care of while building a bridge in black soil?

Me: Sir, black soil expands on absorbing moisture and undergoes shrinking on losing it. This can cause differential settlements of the piers can rupture the deck.

Vinay Mittal Sir: What you are laying a track on such soil.

Me: Consideration of expansion and shrinkage still applies

Vinay Mittal Sir: What else?

Me: I am sorry sir, I can’t think of anything else, I will think more about it.

Member 1: What material is Burj Khalifa made of?

Me: Sir, it a reinforced concrete structure

Member 1: Is there anything special about its concrete?

Me: Sir apart from design considerations and strength, they had to use ice chips in place of some water to keep the concrete from heating too much during mix and casting and subsequent hydration.

Member 1: Can you name some other RC structures?

Me; Sir, Petronas Towers of Malaysia is another RC structure.

Member 1: Are you sure?

Me: Yes sir, I have seen the documentary.

Member 2: What was your B.Tech. Project?

Me: Prediction of in-plane strength and stiffness reduction of plate RC frames using those of monolithic frames.

Member 2: What did you do?

Me: Complete technical jargon about simulations and comparison with experimental data…

Member 2: Were you able to predict strength and stiffness?

Me: Sir, I was able to predict the strength reduction very accurately but not the stiffness.

Member 2: Why?

Me: Limitations of the model implemented… elaborated on that…

Member 2: Can we use flyash in bricks?

Me: Yes sir.

Member 2: Does that not hamper their strength?

Me: No sir, published results show that the strength as well as durability of bricks can be increased on the use of flyash.

Member 3: You are from Bhopal. Name an earth fill dam near Bhopal

Me: (knew of only one dam, wasn’t sure if it was an earth fill dam) Sir, Kaliasot dam

Member 3: It is a masonry dam. Name an earthfil dam

Me: I am sorry sir. I am not aware of it. I will make sure I look into it.

Member 3: Out of rocks or brick which is stronger?

Me: Rocks sir

Member 3: What are the estimate values of their compressive strength?

Me: Sir, for bricks it is 7-10 MPa at the most, for rocks it can be as high as 200 MPa.

Vinay Mittal sir: You have a research profile why don’t you join academics?

Me: ………*

Vinay Mittal Sir: One thing has always confused me… See if you can answer this… Old structures have survived for centuries but our structures survive barely for 30 -50 years why is that? Are we inefficient?

Me: ………

*Left for you figure out; P.S.: these two questions made my interview…..

While we are at it…let me give you a couple of tips or funde if you will:

THERE are 3 types of questions in this interview:

  1. One, you should damn well know otherwise you are doomed
  2. You should know, not so good if you don’t know it.
  3. You are golden if you are able to answer them…They are the bonus type…

And you proceed/ relegate from one type to another…. Try not to get stuck in the first type……but if it happens my way out was:

“I am sorry sir, I am not aware/ able to recall this, and I realize that I should know this ….I will make sure I look into / revise it as soon as I get a chance”

The second type warrants a slightly mild approach:

“I am sorry sir, I do not know, I will make sure I look into it”

For the third: “I am sorry sir, I do not know that but it sounds very interesting, I will make sure I think out it…” …….

NEVER utter a word that might lead to a topic you are not comfortable with.… let them take you to it if they are so inclined…

TO me it seems that what they are looking for is someone who is humble and knowledgeable, yet inquisitive……do not show complacency…. stand by your point but not with rudeness… maintain a constant temper while answering do not jump to easy questions…and while answering them do not show the attitude that this is very easy…handle each question with similar attitude…..try to show composure…. The fact that you answer the questions well will promote you to the higher level…

The staff as well as the panel will be very cordial. Try to interact with other candidates….. that will help you keep yourself calm while waiting outside the members chamber. Do not be anxious while in the waiting room…. But at the same time do not get sleepy…… Try to enjoy the day….such days come rarely in your life!!!









First week at Indian Railway Institute of Civil Engineering

IRICEN stands for Indian Railway Institute Of Civil Engineering. It is a centralised training institute for IRSE probationers. It is located in Pune city in the posh locality of Koregaon Park. It was started in 1959 as Permanent Way Training School for Civil Engineers. After clearing IES , civil engineers those who get railways start their journey from here only. This institute is our headquarter for next three years of probation.

IRICEN Building
IRICEN Building

Our batch of IRSE probationers were asked to report the IRICEN on 15 December 2014. Accordingly, we made our reservations for Pune.  As I mentioned previously that we were given first class pass to travel to Pune for joining so we didn’t face any major difficulty. Once we reached Pune railway station there was reception desk just outside the station for welcoming us. Staff from IRICEN had arranged vehicles to transport us to IRICEN hostel which is just adjoining to main IRICEN building. Once inside, we were allotted our hostel rooms.When i started moving to my room, one boy took my luggage and lead me towards the room but then i insisted that i will carry the luggage on my own. Actually he symbolized the failure of Indian State in terms of employment and education. He is in no way inferior or lesser being than i am but our society is like such where there is less to envy and more to pity.

IRICEN hostel is the best among all centralized training institutes hostels of Indian Railway. When I opened my room it was equipped with all the facilities.Every thing was in its place just waiting for us. Internet speed is just amazing, it has made everyone crazy here. Railway provides services which are generally not available elsewhere.

IMG_20141214_201639976 IMG_20141214_201637282 IMG_20141214_201632722 

There afterwards we proceeded for the dinner. Let me tell you that mess arrangements are also no ordinary here. Our dining area is big hall where around 150 people can eat at time. Everything was on its place. We just sat there and enjoyed our meal. There are catering staff which take care of your all the needs. Food is of very good quality. You will fall in love with dining facilities here. It is completely different from what you will find in your college mess. So if you want to be here than start studying now.

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Goutam Rahul Roy , IES
Goutam Rahul Roy , IES



In the first week, we have completed all our joining formalities. Were were also given introduction on important railway works. We were told about organisation and how to behave as an officer. One very special thing was given to us which is only a matter of privilege. Look below.



The name says it all. This is a first class duty pass given to all the IRSE probationer. Through this we are entitled to travel from anywhere to anywhere in India on duty. We are also entitled to travel in Shatabadi and Rajdhani trains. We also get 6 sets of privilege pass and privilege ticket order which can be used for families. Let me tell you that I feel proud while carrying duty pass as its the sign if becoming an IES officer. We also been instructed not to misuse our official privileges. We can’t do anything which will be regarded as ‘ unbecoming of an officer’. We were also given lessons on manners,etiquette and ceremonies.

It has just been one week at IRICEN. Half of the batch has been sent to NAIR Vadodra and rest of them have been sent to field training. I was overwhelmed by the experience here which has been fulfilling till now,we have to return again here for next phase of training. This is the place where we will be incubated as officer of Indian Railways.

NAIR Batch
NAIR Batch

I am now the part of this mammoth organisation which has been serving the nation through its ups and downs. The feeling i get here is of unseen potential which lies ahead. Next three years represents a big learning opportunity and it will be my constant endeavor to not to waste this wonderful opportunity. Railway provides everything even beyond your expectations ,you just have to give your soul to it and you will enjoy being here. Let me warn you that life in Railways is not easy from any point of view. Challenges are as great as rewards, so if you want to thoroughly enjoy your life then you are welcome.


How to Fill the Detailed Application Form(DAF) for IES interview

Congratulations!! to all those who have been selected in ESE written exam. You have successfully cleared  the first stage of examination, now you will be appearing for personality test. As most of you might have prepared for ESE written exam,in the similar way you can’t take this lightly and go for interview without preparation.
So the very first thing that all of you have to do is to fill detailed application form online on UPSC website. In this article, i am going to give you some suggestions about filling this form. When you appear for the interview, this is the form that board will have in front of them, most of the questions will originate from DAF.

As you now know that DAF needs to be filled with great care and sincerity, i am going to give you brief idea about how to frame general questions from DAF. I am restricting myself only to DAF for now.

Caution:- Please don’t fill false information in the form. You can leave it blank if you don’t have anything to fill but refrain from giving false information. This may have legal consequences other than disqualification.

1. Name:- You should know the meaning of your name and any resemblances with famous personality or place or thing. Basically you should know everything related with your name

2. Address:- Look out for any odd word in your address.

3. Domicile:- Must know the meaning of domicile. You will have to prepare a lot of information about your place of birth. Remember all the persons on the constitutional posts in your state. Also try to find out if there is any special thing about the place where you live. For example, Kashi me ulti ganga behti hai..meaning of this saying?

4. Date of Birth:- Look out for the resemblance of your dob to any famous date. Then prepare for the historical significance of the day. If it is one of our national holidays then get ready for it.

5. Community:- SC/ST/OBC , must know the meaning of these terms.

6. Employment status:- You must be thorough with your current and past employment working. You should be able to properly explain your job that you do/have done. Technical members  of board are more interested in your job experience. Generally, working people are not asked academic questions, they will have to face job related questions. One guy got 170 marks last year in interview, he was asked questions related only to cement  because he worked in cement related firm.

7. Name of father/mother:- Not much important but look for any resemblance to any famous personalities.

8. Father/Mother’s profession and salary:- You must be aware of the job which your father and mother do and salary they earn. Don’t write income disproportionate to profession.

9. Service preferences:- This is for you to decide but you must remember all your preferences in serial order. Fill this very carefully, find out all the information related to these services and also discuss with working people. This is going to change your life forever so take it seriously. Fill it in the last just before submitting when you have made your mind.

10. Prizes/medal/scholarship etc.:- Please provide only true information. Don’t mention trivial prizes such as getting certificate for playing kho-kho. Also prepare your achievement well, that why you got the prize. You must be able to show that you deserved it . It is not mandatory to fill this if you haven’t got any prizes.

11. Team/Games/sports:- All of us have played games in our childhood. Don’t mention that. You should have atleast reached upto district/zonal level. Then only it is worth mentioning.

12. Position of distinction/leadership:- Please don’t mention that you were class monitor at some point of time. This may annoy them and would diminish your performances. Mention only those positions where you have actually played some leadership roles.

13. Hobbies and interest:- This is also one of the most important area of DAF because the questions generally starts from this, most of the time. Hobbies can be as varied as star-gazing to coins collecting. Most of you are going to write hobbies that are very common but if your hobby is very different than others, then it may prompt board members to ask questions. At this point, if you satisfy board with your answers then all is well but if you falter then it may go wrong. Write hobbies which you can justify in front of them. For eg if your hobby is horse riding then it would be obvious that you know different breed of horses.

14. Declaration to signed:- I have already explained it in a separate post.


Don’t make haste in submitting DAF, submit it before 2-3 days. Also don’t delay it upto end because a lot of thing can go wrong on the last day of submitting. After you have submitted it , make a habit to look DAF daily for half an hour and frame questions that come to your mind. Try to make questions as random as possible because this what happens during interview. There shouldn’t be any word in the DAF anywhere about which you are in dark. Generally, board chairman will have your complete DAF but other members will have only summary sheet before them. So, summary sheet should also be looked into. It contains brief summary of all important information in one page.

This was all about the DAF, I will try to come up with more articles for interview preparation. Till then ,goodbye.

Brief Particulars about Central Engineering Service(Roads)

In this post ,we will discuss some brief details about Central Engineering Service(Roads).

Kusum Ghangas
Assistant Executive Engineer (Civil Engineering)
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, New Delhi

Overview of MORTH

Responsibility vested to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MORTH) by the Govt. of India is the formulation & administration of policies for road transport, National Highways & transport research with a view to increase the mobility & efficiency of the road transport system in the country. Apart from Ministry Headquarters at New Delhi, there are about (not an exact figure) 24 ROs (Regional Offices), ELOs (Engineer Liaison Office) & PIUs (Project Implementation Unit).

There are 3 wings of MORTH – Roads, Transport & Shipping. Roads wing deals with the planning & development of new NHs (Greenfield projects), Maintenance & up gradation of existing NHs & preparing specifications for roads & bridge works. Execution of such projects is done through the State PWD & NHAI.

Scope of Work for AEEs

As a part of the CES (Roads) cadre of the Roads wing of MORTH, newly recruited AEEs posted at the Headquarters are involved in planning & monitoring of the new & on going NH projects in the country, respectively & scrutiny of proposals for road/bridge works received from states. Those posted at PIUs are directly involved in the execution of projects right from Land Acquisition to completion. ROs & ELOs of the ministry work as a bridge between the Headquarter & State PWD for better coordination among the two in respect of project implementation.

Apart from above, interested AEEs can also go to NHAI on deputation after completion of probation period of 2 years.

To improve the quality of delivery of service in which we are lagging behind due to various known reasons, Ministry has been taking up research works on emerging topics on roads sector through CRRI (Central Road Research Institute) and existing standards and Codes (IRC) are being continuously improved with inputs from active and young engineers.

 CENTRAL  ENGINEERING  SERVICE  (ROADS),GROUP  ‘A’ (1) Probation- The  selected  candidates  will  be  appointed  as Assistant Executive Engineer on probation for two years. On the completion of the period of probation, if  they  are  considered  fit  for  permanent appointments, they will be confirmed as Assistant Executive  Engineer  if  permanent  vacancies  are available. The Government may extend the period of probation of two years. If on the expiration of the period of probation or of any extension thereof, Government are of the opinion that an Assistant Executive Engineer is not fit for permanent employment or if at any time during such period of probation or extension they are satisfied that an Assistant Executive Engineer will not be fit for permanent appointment on the expiration of such periods of extension, they may discharge the Assistant  Executive  Engineer  or  pass  such  orders  as they think fit. (2)Defence Service Liability:-Any  person  appointed  on  the  results  of  this competitive examination shall if so required, be liable  to  serve  in  any  Defence  Service  or  post connected with the Defence of India for a period of not less than four years including the period spent on training, if any. Provided that such person— (i) shall not be required to serve as aforesaid after the  expiry  of  ten  years  from  the  date  of appointment. (ii) shall  not  ordinarily  be  required  to  serve  as aforesaid after attaining the age of forty years. (3)Pay Scales:- The following are the scales of pay admissible :

Designation pay band
Chief Engineer   Pay Band-4 :Rs. 37400-67000 [GP – Rs.10000]
 Superintending Engineer  Pay Band-4 : Rs. 37400-67000 [GP – Rs.8700]
Executive Engineer Pay Band-3 : Rs. 15600-39100 [GP – Rs.6600]
Assistant Executive Engineer Pay Band-3 : Rs. 15600-39100 [GP – Rs.5400]

Note :—The pay of Government servant who held a permanent  post  other  than  a  tenure  post  in  substantive capacity  prior  to  his  appointment  as  a  probation  in  the Central Engineering Services, Group ‘A’ Group ‘B’ will regulated subject to the provision of  F.R.-22 B(1). (4)Nature of Duties:-Nature of duties and responsibilities attached to the post in Central Engineering Service (Roads)Group ‘A’. (i) Civil Engineering Posts :— To assist the Senior Technical Officers at Hqrs. and in the Regional Offices etc. of the Roads Wing, Ministry of Surface  Transport  in  planning,  preparing  designs  and estimates of roads/bridges work and scrutiny of proposals for such work received from the States. (ii)Mechanical Engineering Posts :— To assist the Senior Technical Officers Hqrs. and in the Regional Offices etc. of the Roads Wing, Ministry of Surface Transport in planning, procurement, operation and maintenance of roads/bridges construction equipments, to prepare  estimates  for  repairs  and  maintenance  of  such equipments  and  scrutiny  of  proposals  and  estimates received from the States.