Books Coverage for ESE (E&C)

Dear friends
I wish to share with you coverage of standard textbooks which I
referred during my semesters and ESE preparation. I’ve written this
keeping in mind that people generally don’t want to spend time on
books seeing less benefit to cost ratio. In most of the blogs only book
names are referred. But I always wanted to know what to do/leave in a
book. Unfortunately I had to wait till my own result to write this! I’ve
tried to list down the sections which are relevant for ESE exam. After
finishing a subject, do solve previous year’s questions. These questions
will provide more insights on relevance of book you are reading or
whether something more needs to be done.

Many of you in colleges might not be having access to coaching or are
unwilling to spend time and money. Why not study now? It’s ok to feel
lost and demotivated during your preparation. Just make a start. A bit
of sincerity and patience is needed. Let ESE be an option for you and
not a compulsion!

I know there is scope for more refinement in this list. Please suggest
changes and other good books. For suggestions contact me on

Sumit Singh
ESE 2016, AIR 29
ESE 2015 (reserve List)

Microelectronic circuits 6th edition
By Sedra and Smith

Chapter 1(Introduction to Electronics and semiconductors)
leave 1.7.
1.8 to 1.13 can be left (Solve problems only) if covered from

Chapter 2(Diodes)
Refer class notes also (any coaching’s)

Chapter 3(BJTs)
(leave 3.8, 3.10 cover frequency response from Boylestad book)

Chapter 4 (MOSFETs)
Leave 4.10, 4.12, 4.13(but do 4.13.4), 4.16 (VLSI topic)

Chapter 5 (Operational Amplifier)
Don’t leave anything!

Chapter 7: Feedback
Do this topic from boylestad and notes.

Chapter 8 (Differential and multistage Amplifiers)
Do 8.3 and 8.1

Chapter 9 (Operational-Amplifier and Data Converter circuits)
Do 9.1.4, 9.1.7, 9.9, 9.10

Chapter 10 (Digital CMOS logic Logic circuits)
Do 10.3.2 to 10.3.7

Chapter 11 (filters and tuned amplifiers)
Do 11.1, 11.4, 11.5, 11.11. refer notes.
This chapter can be left to be covered at end of syllabus if found

Chapter 12 (Signal generators and waveform shaping circuits)
Leave 12.8

Power amplifiers: Read Boylestad for class A and B, class C and D from

Electronic Devices and Circuit theory 10th edition
By Robert L. Boylestad

Computer analysis and practical application topics are not important for
conventional exam.

Chapter 1: Semiconductor diodes
leave 1.12, 1.14

Chapter 2: Diode Applications

Chapter 3: Bipolar Junction Transistors
leave 3.9, 3.10, 3.10, 3.11, 3.13

Chapter 4: DC Biasing-BJTs

Chapter 5: BJT AC analysis
Leave AC analysis of Darlington circuit and feedback pair.
Complicated derivations can be ignored. Focus on approximate analysis
more. Don’t try to remember formula. Just grasp analysis and problem

Chapter 6: Field Effect Transistors
leave 6.5

Chapter 7: FET biasing
leave 7.12, 7.14

Chapter 8: FET Amplifiers
Complicated derivations can be ignored. Focus on approximate analysis
more. Don’t try to remember formula. Just grasp analysis and problem

Chapter 9: BJT and JFET frequency response

Chapter 10: Operational Amplifiers
Leave 10.3

Chapter 11: Op-Amp applications

Chapter 12: Power Amplifiers
Very well explained in this book.

Chapter 14: Feedback and oscillator circuits

Chapter 15: Power Supplies

Chapter 16 and 17 can be left to be covered at end of preparation. Not
so important from here. Tunnel diode, SCR should be done from

Note : Theory portion for diodes, BJT, OP-Amp and oscillators should be
done from Sedra. Do only problems from Boylestad if you don’t have

Solid State Electronic Devices 6th edition
By Ben G. Streetman

Chapter1: Crystal properties and growth of semiconductor
Do 1.3

Chapter 2: Atoms and electrons
Leave this chapter

Chapter 3:Energy bands and charge carriers in semiconductors
No need to remember quantum stuff (3.1.2, 3.1.5,3.2.2)

Chapter 4: Excess carriers in semiconductors
Do 4.1, 4.2, 4.3.1, 4.4.1-4

Chapter 5: Junctions
Do 5.1, 5.2
In 5.3 do upto pg. 188 and eg. 5.4, avoid quasi Fermi level discussion
Do 5.4.1-2 upto pg 198, 5.4.4, 5.5.4-5, 5.7.1-3

Chapter 6: Field-Effect Transistors
Do 6.2.1-2, 6.3.1-2, 6.4.1-4, fig 6.21 and first para on pg. 288, 6.5.6,

Chapter 7: Bipolar Junction Transistors
Do 7.1, 7.2, do Ebers-Moll model from Millman Grabel/halkias book,
Chapter 8: Optoelectronic Devices
Do 8.1.1-3, 8.2, 8.3. Refer john M. Senior for LED and photodiode.

Chapter 9: Integrated Circuits
Do 9.3.1 upto page 449 third para. , pg. 462 second para, 9.4
9.5.2 for GATE

Chapter 10: High-Frequency and High-Power Devices
Do all sections thoroughly.

Principles of electromagnetics 4 th edition by
Matthew N.O. Sadiku

All chapters except chapter 13 are to be done. Only remember those
derivations which have been asked previously. For some topics

Chapter 2: Vector calculus
Don’t try to remember curl and divergence formula for all three
coordinate systems. See William hyat appendix for general method to
calculate curl and divergence. Or refer class notes.

Digital Design 4th edition by M. Morris Mano
Leave Computer design topics
Chapter 1: Digital Systems and Binary Numbers

Chapter 2: Boolean Algebra and Logic Gates

Chapter 3: Gate-Level Minimization
Leave 3.10
Chapter 4: Combinational Logic

Chapter 5: Synchronous Sequential Logic
Leave 5.6
Chapter 6: Registers and Counters
Leave pg 272-281

Chapter 7: Memory and programmable Logic
Leave 7.8, (questions from 7.6, 7.7 not asked )

Chapter 10: Digital Integrated Circuits

Note: for ADC, DAC refer Digital Systems Principles and Applications
(Pearson Publication)by R.J. Tocci /R.P. Jain/ any Indian author.

Automatic Control Systems 8 th edition by
Benjamin C kuo

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Mathematical Foundation
Do 2.5, rest can be skipped if signals and systems already done.

Chapter 3: Block diagrams and signal flow graphs

Chapter 4: Modeling of physical systems
Questions are rarely asked. Not so important

Chapter 5: State variable analysis
Do upto 5.7.2, canonical form representation and decomposition of
transfer functions not asked frequently, understand observability and
controllability concepts. Refer any Indian author book for this chapter if
unable to grasp anything from here.

Chapter 6: Stability of linear control systems

Chapter 7: Time domain analysis of control
Leave 7.7, 7.10

Chapter 8: Root-Locus technique
Leave 8.5

Chapter 9: Frequency domain analysis
Leave 9.15,16

Chapter 10: Design of Control Systems
Do 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7
Leave examples in above section. Just remember circuit diagrams,
formula and effect of each on steady state and transient response.
See previous years question or any Indian author book for practice.

Engineering circuit analysis 7 th
edition by W H Hayt
Try unsolved problems also. For more problems refer Alexander Sadiku.

Chapter 2: Basic components and electric circuits

Chapter 3: Voltage and current laws
Chapter 4: Basic nodal and mesh analysis

Chapter5: Network Topology
Also refer K.M. Soni book for this chapter.

Chapter 6: Network theorems and useful circuit analysis techniques

Chapter 7: Capacitors and inductors

Chapter 8: Basic RL and RC circuits

Chapter 15: Circuit analysis in s domain

Chapter 9: The RLC circuit
Use Laplace as alternative if differential equation method is difficult.

Chapter 10: Sinusoidal steady-state analysis

Chapter 11: AC circuit power analysis

Chapter 13: Magnetically coupled circuits

Chapter 14: Complex frequency and the laplace transform
Leave this chapter if already covered in signals and system

Chapter 16: Frequency response
leave 16.5, 16.6, refer class notes /any Indian author

Chapter 17: Two port networks

Chapter 18: Fourier circuit analysis
Leave this chapter if done in signals and systems. Do solved examples
For network synthesis Refer Van Valkenburg

Signals and Systems 2 nd
edition by H P HSU
(Schaum’s outlines)
Must do all solved examples from this book and Oppenheim.
Remember all formulas given in Appendix B and Appendix F.
Do the basic problems of Oppenheim after completing this book for
more practice.
Nowadays signal processing concepts like discrete filters etc are also
asked. Refer Schaum/Oppenheim DSP book/ your B.Tech notes for that.

Chapter 1: Signals and System

Chapter 2: Linear time invariant systems
Refer Oppenheim for differential equation solutions and eigen value

Chapter 3: Laplace transform and continuous time LTI system

Chapter4 : Sampling
Refer Oppenheim also

Chapter 5: The Z transform and discrete time LTI systems

Chapter 6: Fourier analysis of continuous time signals and systems

Chapter 7: Fourier analysis of discrete time signals and systems

Chapter 8: State space analysis

Chapter 9: Random variables and processes
Better do it after reading Communication systems text book.

Communication Systems 4 th
edition by Simon

Background and preview

Chapter 1: Random Processes
Leave 1.13,1.14

Chapter 2: Continuous-Wave modulation
For FM generation and demodulation refer any other book like
Taub Schilling /Singh & Sapre/B.P. Lathi
Leave 2.8
In 2.13 Leave FM threshold effect analysis and FM Threshold reduction
Try unsolved problems 1,4,6,9,10,11,16,21,22,27,28,29,31,33,34,37.

Chapter 3: Pulse modulation
In 3.2 do upto eq 3.33 pg.197.
Leave 3.13, 3.15, 3.16
Try problems 3, 18,27.

Note: for digital communication refer Schaum’s outlines if you find this
book difficult. Tough questions from Digital comm. are rarely asked in
ESE, but more important for GATE.

Chapter 4: Baseband pulse transmission
Leave 4.6,4.7,4.8( do it for interview),4.9,4.10
Read eye pattern from B.P. lathi

Chapter 5: Signal space analysis
Do 5.1,5.2

Chapter 6: Passband data transmission
Do 6.1, 6.2, 6.3(Leave offset QPSK, π/4 shifted QPSK), 6.4(upto eg. 6.3),
6.9, 6.10

Chapter 7: Spread spectrum Modulation
Do 7.1, 7.2(upto pg. 482), 7.3, 7.7(only half of pg. 500)

Chapter 8: Multiuser Radio communication
Do upto 8.4

Chapter 9: Fundamental limits in Information theory
Do 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4(only Huffman coding),9.5, 9.6, 9.7, 9.9, 9.10

Chapter 10: Error control coding
Just do (minimum distance considerations) hamming code on pg 637

Analog and Digital Communication (Schaum’s outlines)3rd
edition by HWEI P HSU

Must to do all solved problems of relevant chapters. Some important
results and derivations are there in them.

Chapter 1: Signals and Spectra
Note sinc function on pg. 1.7-8, skip this chapter if already completed
signals and system
Chapter 2: Signal Transmission and filtering

Chapter 3: Amplitude modulation

Chapter 4: Angle modulation

Chapter 5: Pulse Modulation System
Note eg. 5.8

Chapter 6: Probability and Random Variables

Chapter 7: Random Process
Leave 7.6A i.e. Gaussian random processs

Chapter 8: Noise
More relevant for GATE than ESE

Chapter 9: Noise in Analog Communication Systems
More relevant for GATE than ESE

Chapter 10: Digital Modulation and Demodulation
All derivations in theory portion are important.

Chapter 11: Information theory and source coding

Microprocessor Architecture, Programming and Application with 8085 5th
edition by Ramesh Gaonkar
Appendix F is very important. Notice the flags, M-cycles and T-states on
pg. 780-783.
Attempt at least those unsolved problem whose answers are given in
Appendix G.

Chapter 1: Microprocessors, microcomputers and Assembly language

Chapter 2: Introduction to 8085 assembly language programming

Chapter 3: Microprocessor Architecture and Microcomputer Systems

Chapter 4: 8085 Microprocessor Architecture and Memory interfacing

Chapter 6: Introduction to 8085 Instructions

Chapter 7: Programming techniques with Additional Instructions

Chapter 8: Counters and Time Delays

Chapter 9: Stacks and Subroutines

Chapter 10: Code conversion, BCD Arithmetic, and 16-bit Data
Do 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, 10.9

Chapter 12: Interrupts

Read some peripherals such as 8155(14.2), 8259(15.5),8237(15.6) and
those asked in previous years exam questions.

Computer System Architecture 3rd
edition by M. Morris Mano

Read 8.8 RISC,CISC, pipelining on Pg. 284-287
Read Chapter 12

1. For Instrumentation and measurement refer class notes and A.K.
2. For material science refer class notes and S.P. Seth, A.J. Dekker for
superconductivity etc.
3. For Antenna basics do first 2 chapters of C.A. Balanis book.
4. For more practice on Control systems refer B.S. Manke/ any other
Indian author.
5. For fibre optic communication and optoelectronics refer John M.
6. For microwave (not in syllabus now) refer Samuel Y. Liao.
7. For satellite comm. I don’t know a good source.{I referred Satellite
networking by Zhili Sun (first 2 chapters leaving maths), Chapter 4
Radio wave propagation of Satellite Communications by Dennis
Roddy}. For Cellular networks and LOS budget calculation refer
Wireless Communication by Rappaport.
8. For programming refer ANSI C by E. Balaguruswamy./ youtube .
9. For TCP/IP and OSI model refer chapter 2 Of CCNA-ICND1 (free
pdf available on internet)/ Forouzan.
10. Advanced Electronics topics , Computer Architecture and
Basic Electrical Engineering–I don’t know (someone please
suggest!). However, for basic electrical engineering refer Ashfaq
Hussain. For embedded systems refer Mazidi book(Pearson
publication). For DSP refer Schaum’s outlines for filter design first.
If doesn’t help then Oppenheim Book (Discrete time signal

Problems of Working in Railways

Hello Everyone,
I found a letter where an IRSE officer describes the deteriorating condition of working in railways. My intention has been to put everything available with me on the table.  This article is all about the problems faced by young officers of railways in the filed. This not the whole picture, it primarily represents one department working in open line. You shouldn’t make your judgement just on the basis of one or two articles. Every jobs has its pros and cons. Today it’s the turn of presenting cons before you, after all world is not the bed of roses.


Respected Sir,

This letter is an effort to save Indian Railways from the misdirected policies and practices that have crept into daily operations of Railways. This is not an effort to malign the much revered institution in any way, but to highlight the shortcomings and the plight of faceless field staff, who are putting their blood into the system. Nor is it an attempt to run away from responsibilities. We are a dedicated and concerned lot who takes pride in being part of the organisation and in what we do.

We will be focussing only on the spine of Indian Railways, i.e. Engineering Department, which is suffering the most amongst all the departments. That doesn’t mean other departments enjoy comfortable working as they too suffer different type of disabilities. But Engineering being one of the oldest departments and being the custodian of huge Indian Railways assets deserves to be heard first and foremost.

Mostly the problems concern with the field level because it is the level where most of the Engineering Department’s activities are performed. But first, we want you to please note a few details about three main actors involved at the field level, viz, the Track Maintainer, the PWI, and the ADEN.

Track Maintainer (Trackman)

He goes about performing his duty starting his day at around 06:00. At times he travels 10-15 Km. to get to his place of work, to and fro. He returns by 07:00 – 08:00 in the evening. Still he’s a proud worker and loves what he does.

At Group D level, a trackman does far more hard labour than any other employee among all departments. There have been many cases where a trackman has prevented some serious accidents because he is the one who is out there on track in extreme weather conditions to ensure safe running of trains but is not paid even a single extra penny for that. For him overtime allowance exists only on paper, if at all. In the current scenario when trains are running at over 120 Kmph, the job of trackmen has become more important as well as risky. Cases of trackmen being run over by train or getting severely injured are very common.

Senior Section Engineer – Pway (PWI)

He wakes up latest by 06:00 in the morning, prepare distribution of work for about 200 Trackmen under him by 07:30, goes on with his daily work by 08:00, work till 7, 8 sometimes 11:00 in the night. This, he has to do 7 days a week, 365 days of a year, 35 years of his service. He is directly responsible for safety of track as well any activity that happens in his section. In the age of mechanisation when workforce is getting reduced on one hand and not able to provide adequate machineries and equipment on the other, PWI is asked to increase efficiency of work with the same set of old-age and condemned equipment and scarce Pway material. His main strength is the trackman who is expected to do serious physical labour. Making his task difficult are the trackmen of today, with graduate and post graduate qualifications, having serious problem with physical labour.

He hardly gets (or takes) any leave. He has to work in night soil and muck dropped all over the places.  He’s the coordinator of all field activities concerning all the other departments. He also has to share his staff with other departments for their associated work; which he does without any qualms. A PWI represents all other field staff of railways. He has to work with multiple bosses, contractors, gang staff, other departments, state authorities, towards fulfilling his duty.


The post of ADEN is considered to be the most charismatic post in Indian railways. Once, with staff under him numbering over 1000, what cannot be achieved if he decides? He is the creator of huge infrastructure of railways which catches anybody’s imagination. Big vintage bungalow adds to his aura. He is the leader of his team, consisting PWI’s, IOW’s and trackmen, and the sole authority on field for what is to be and not to be. An ADEN is the flag bearer of his sub-division. Other departments and HQ’s expect a lot from him. He is the man to go in case of urgency/ emergency.

Today’s state is as follows. With over 30-40% vacancies, most of the specialised posts being surrendered, decaying works cadre and staff, office staff remaining a third of what it was, contractor agencies getting unduly favoured, with punitive powers gone, with the traffic and no. of activities multiplied manifolds, the ADEN has become a mere shadow of his prime. Combined with detached attitude from the HQ it is becoming increasingly difficult to carry out duties. With increased expectations, same old methods and punishment oriented approach is expected to work, not realising times have changed since they were at the field and needing different strategies. It is not our intention to revive the institution of ADEN as it was but to highlight the poor conditions which will definitely lead to disaster if timely action is not taken.


With this background we would now like to raise issues being faced by railways needing urgent attention.

  1. Detached HQ

It is for your information Sir, being posted as an ADEN is the most challenging time an IRSE has to face. Unfortunately as officers go higher up they forget how work used to be carried out when they were ADEN. Please compare following facts with 15 years ago. The number of staff, the variety of staff, the number of office supervisors and draughtsman, the quantum of traffic, the frequency of trains, the number of activities one had to deal at a time, the nature of workforce, the demand from the system and the kind of discipline that existed. All of it has changed, and changed drastically. Earlier there was higher tolerance for accidents and reporting was very less. Now even a minor incident travels at lightning speed to every nook and corner of the country. Orders conveying strong message are issued in minutes. Today it is said that we have stronger track structure and you don’t need men as you now have machines. But it is a false assumption. Agreed that Track structure has improved, but so has the traffic which has become more than thrice. So has the speed. So has the number of trains. There is acute scarcity of material and machines, and blocks/ caution-orders for maintenance not available, compromising safety.

Please look into how many machines are there, zone wise. Are they sufficient to meet maintenance requirements of track as per schedule? Is sufficient/proper block time is given for their working? Are proper speed restrictions being imposed as per manual? Answers would be unsatisfactory, missing the theory by miles! Day by day the responsibility for owing up to failures is being shifted upwards. ‘Hang the ADEN, which will give a strong message’. Dear Sir, what kind of a system is this which is more interested in sending a message rather than solving the problem. The unfortunate ground reality is that it will not bring an iota of change to the field staff, as they are already overburdened to have time to fear. But yes it does send a message to that field staff, that one does not have any support from the HQ. You are on your own. It’s better to not do the work, or do it on paper and relax, because there’s an equal cost to doing or not doing the work.

As for the ADEN, he already has a written schedule of inspection of 45 days which he has to complete in 30 days. Add to it the multifarious activities, shrinking staff, unruly staff and supervisors, increasing interference from Unions in daily working, absence of works cadre, no authority to punish for wrongdoing, no authority to take important decisions which has been usurped by HQ’s, no assistance in office work, non-cooperative departments in a maddening race to prove their superiority over others, burden of reporting to anybody and everybody senior to you that too instantly, ever-increasing protocol duties towards seniors with whom he and his team has to accompany without a choice. In addition he has to liaison with state authorities, do variety of Surveys, prepare designs/drawings, and send reports/data in a variety of formats. In such a scenario how can one have a family life or a holiday or have time for himself?

ADEN has to do his night inspections either as part of schedule or as part of surprise inspection. Such inspections are done after working for a full day. After the night inspection if he sleeps at 05:00 in the morning there is no time for rest as the phone calls invariably start by 07:00 Hrs. and a full day starts again. Despite the poor state of affairs, focus is put more on how things look rather than how efficiently trains are run. A misplaced priority please.

  1. Scarcity of Funds

Railways need money. Money to build infrastructure, build capabilities, to provide quality services, to provide variety of services, to build up workforce, to maintain assets, etc. With great past record Railways is now focussing on quality. We are making our stations and coaches cleaner and services better. But we are forgetting the hands that are bringing these changes on field. They are still living in dilapidated houses and surroundings, with rudimentary water and electricity supplies. Spending on quarters and facilities is never justified. How are we supposed to bring change on ground without changing the mentality of staff and improving their living conditions?

Dr. Anil Kakodkar headed High Level Safety Review Committee noted in its report that the ‘present environment on Indian Railways reveals a grim picture of inadequate performance’ largely due to poor infrastructure and resources, and lack of empowerment at the functional level. It has given several recommendations having no financial implications to empower the functional levels and to simplify processes and procedures to deal with this negative feature. IR has to be energized with a new type of work culture, it further stated.


  1. Misdirected Policies

Through this letter we want to help explore where the bloodline of India is heading. What is the purpose of this service? Is it social service? Is it profit making? Is it capacity building? Be an efficient and punctual mode of transport? Or for building infrastructure? Surely it is all of the above. But what are our priorities? Do we want to earn more disregarding the safety of passengers? Priorities must be decided at your level sir. At ground level it is now understood that Punctuality is inviolable, even more than Safety. We are literally forced to beg in front of Operating staff and Controllers to let us do our job. We are forced to impose emergencies due to things not getting addressed by usual channels, and rectifying the same within shortest time and unusual hours.

Or is it to push ground staffs to the extent that they get all the poor lifestyle diseases or even die because of them? Sir, ask any railway doctor, he will tell you railway employees overburden. Every second person is having sugar or BP or both. This is the nature of job they have to perform, without questioning the authority. Many employees have actually died early of lifestyle diseases, especially those who have spent the bulk of their carrier on field.

Railways is a discipline oriented organisation. In practical terms abuses are hurled every minute on the field. It is impossible to do job without abuses and charge sheets, bringing us to point out misdirected policy in recruitment.

The workforce is overqualified for the job. With respect to the current working, a Trackman should have 10th pass as the maximum qualification. Today we have M.Com’s, MCA’s, MBA’s, etc. as the new generation of Trackman. Many of them are here only because they need a job, not because they like the nature of job. It is hard to expect them to work in muck, and do manual labour. And of what use is the education which is used for making excuses for not doing work or to reply back to the supervisors. We’re sorry to say this Sir, but this policy is burdening the system with useless hands.

Along with the overqualified staff the induction of female workers for trackman job is difficult to realise on the field as it requires hard manual labour. Most of the times they either can’t do such work or pressure is put on open line supervisors to give them office jobs. Holding nothing against female workforce, the induction of women as trackman needs to be reviewed.

Third is the issue of vacancies. We have to wait for vacancy to go up to 30-40%, which when filled up never reaches 100%. Dear Sir, we are performing a job of safety. We can’t afford to have any vacancy. Vacancy is infringing with safety, and the field staff had to bear the additional burden of work for years. This is valid especially after the downsizing of the organisation and unreasonable burden put by successive Pay Commissions and Finance. A good number of overqualified new recruitees leave the organisation, or go to other departments, or remain in place with distaste for the job.

Fourth, due to downsizing various specialised and critical posts vanished from the organisation. Ideally those functions should also be eliminated. Not surprisingly, it did not happen. Artisan staff is almost gone. Onus lies with the Supervisors to train available staff for the artisans job, arrange tools for them, and carry out all the functions as smoothly as it was ever used to be. Works cadre is almost destroyed, as with shortage of staff, poor recruitment of supervisors, apathy from HQ and a variety of poor contractors, contributing to its obsolescence. Finance wing being more interested in surrendering posts every year without logic, not realising the importance of a Valveman or Safaiwala in the system.

Fifth is the policy of easy promotions for Supervisors. Earlier it took decades for Supervisors to reach SSE level. By putting this fact we want to convey that SSE’s in Indian Railways are equipped with immense experience and act as the storehouse of institutional memory. The whole system is pretty much dependent on this level. But now anybody and everybody is getting promoted to the SSE level, without possessing requisite technical knowledge. The problem is going to become worse in the coming years when good quality supervisors will be hard to find. It is one thing to give financial upgradation, but totally different to expect to work like an experienced supervisor. The fact is usually overlooked in practise and the burden is borne by others.

Sixth, pampering Unions and not following up. Unions are becoming dominating at field level, especially on Personnel matters. It is not conducive for smooth running of administration as the impact is borne by field staff. You also loose the power to enforce discipline. They have done a good job in bringing a once a week assured rest order for supervisors. Such a rest should be there for In-charge and ADEN too. A pressure job like this needs timely rest.

Seventh, with time new lines are opened, new assets created, new activities started. As if there was surplus staff available at field, they are invariably diverted or assigned additional duties without diluting current responsibilities. Sir, please acknowledge that Railways is not just like any other Govt. establishment where field staff can be diverted or responsibilities can be diluted without much loss to administration’s working. Field staff here is associated with Safety, and these staffs work day and night, with concentration and hard labour. The cost of diluting current responsibilities is very high, which can prove to be disastrous. With Zero Accident Mission in place, patrolling is now usually done throughout the year as each season has a critical effect on track behaviour. Patrolling by current staff is having the most prominent effect on the maintenance of track as the staff is not available for the same during times of patrolling.

Eight, the categorisation of all Gang staff into Track Maintainer I, II, III, IV and lack of clarity on practical issues has led to disruption in the control over gang units. Due to Restructuring, TM automatically getting promoted to higher grade pay and hence refusing to take on the responsibility of Mate. Otherwise they give refusal to higher grade pay to take benefit of LARSGESS scheme. Either way proper Mate cannot be assigned to a unit and hence there is the problem of control. Also, employees coming via LARSGESS got the job without facing any competition; hence don’t know the value of their job or many times lack sincerity.

  1. Scarcity of Material

It flows directly from scarcity of funds. At times, conditions become so bad that we have to compromise safety. At many places you would find material have deteriorated to such an extent resulting in poor riding quality and requiring replacement soon. Yet HQ would frown upon as if it is asked for personal reasons. They mind it very much if you ask for it in writing, and further repercussions. It is hard to put speed restrictions or stop traffic. All this can be avoided if we have sufficient stock of materials. Timely replacement of assets is vital to ensure safety of trains. Most of the time replacement is sanctioned after the asset has crossed its life as per code, when a higher official notices it and ask for the replacement. In the meanwhile if something happens, the onus lies on field staff for not imposing speed restriction or stopping traffic.

  1. Scarcity of Labour

Shortage of departmental labour is dealt above. It is said that now there are numerous agencies available at field level. Practically, more often than not it is the same agency who has taken multiple contracts in a Division/Zone. And it is beyond their capacity to increase labour, being the costliest item in any work. Plus there are not many ways to force an agency to do exactly as it is required. High level of supervision is required to ensure quality. One can’t go on terminating private players as there are not many. It is a technical field and requires huge capital backing. Even if this point is disregarded, agencies don’t want to go beyond stations or work at odd hours. And thus we can’t rely on them in case of emergencies. For this reason we require a strong and dedicated departmental workforce, and hence is the demand.

  1. Scarcity of Machines

Point already elaborated earlier. It can only be addressed if problem of funding is dealt with. It is not possible to do what is required with current stock and condition. Requirement wise analysis needs to be done and procurement to be done at the earliest.

  1. Situation of Offices

The on-field offices of railway employees are in shambles. Money demanded for necessary spending is rejected-not-justified. Daily activities are asked to be carried out with meagre imprest. The number of Office Supervisors has reduced a lot. Experienced one’s are retiring, new one’s are either not interested or not able to do it all in the world of ever increasing reporting and compliances, and the quantum of work. Old ones are unable to cope with new information age of computers and smartphones. HQs don’t pay heed and the burden of reporting is borne by the field offices and officers like ADEN, ADSTE, ADEE, etc.

  1. Abusive Environment

Unfortunately Railways has become an organisation where if you don’t look strong you are labelled ineffective. Concepts like team building, synergy, counselling and appreciation just don’t exist. It might have been possible in the past when the Trackmen were not too much qualified and discipline was held sacrosanct, and line of command used to work perfectly. Not in today’s time, when everyone is well learned, and has options beyond a meagre paying job. They are more concerned about their rights rather than duties. It’s not bad to have learned people in your workforce, or to demand rights, but in this case it is to be analysed if it is okay to have it, and what needs to be done in the changed context. Otherwise it creates bad environment at the field level. The issue here is making policies according to the changed context.

  1. Problem of Blocks. Punctuality over Safety.

Sir, as stated earlier also we face a lot of problems in getting blocks for maintenance operations. Operating Department holds the key to giving blocks. Mostly Pway staff has to chase it as if it’s his personal work. Sometimes it becomes a matter of weeks till he get a block, ‘managing’ safety at his level. Also every time he would be there with his staff, waiting at the site till the time there is hope of getting the block. What a terrible waste of resources when you have so little! Sir, why haven’t we developed a transparent mechanism where a representative from Pway side can book a block and he will be told beforehand the day when the block is expected. And the block is given no matter how on the same day, as it is a matter of safety. Same should also happen when there is an emergency. It’s left to your good judgement sir, what is more important to us, Revenue/Punctuality or Safety. To maintain the assets in good condition timely blocks are very important, no matter what. Engineering staff is forced to compromise on safety on regular basis as blocks and caution orders are not been given easily. With ever increasing traffic, pressure on pway assets is on the rise which further accelerates the wear and tear, and requires frequent attention. If existing assets are not given timely attention they have to be replaced at a much faster pace, again putting a burden on railways financial resources.  Operating department gives the block and caution orders whenever it is convenient. Safety has to be given precedence otherwise results may be catastrophic.

  1. Workload

An ADEN is overall in charge of the subdivision. He has to take care of Pway as well as Works. He has huge workload. He has to conduct daily inspection of track, inspection of bridges and yards, monthly day and night footplates, other night inspections, filling inspections in TMS, test check of various contractual work under his jurisdiction, ensuring quality of the work being done, check every bill, manage blocks, attend blocks, ensure compliances, attend HQ meetings, chase material procurement, manage contracts and labour, liaison with state authorities, accompany higher officials on their inspection, looking after the passenger amenities, dealing with complaints of unions and staff, looking after the welfare of the staff, their allowances, their medical etc. Apart from all these he has to prepare reports, proposals, sign hundreds of papers etc. It is becoming increasingly difficult to cope up with such work pressure. Leaves are denied for some reason or the other. Continuously working under such pressure takes a toll on mind as well as body. Familial and other responsibilities becomes secondary resulting in tensions across all dimensions of life.

  1. Multifarious Activities

Sir, activities like tree plantation, skill upgradation, holding seminars/camps, cleanliness drives, etc, are noble and essential activities. We want to be a part of all such initiatives, but despite having best of intentions we don’t get extra funds, staff, time and resources to carry out the same. Our core duty is to run trains safely, which requires immense concentration and inputs from staff and officers. Such activities asking for involvement from higher officials actually puts burden on field level only. We are unable to handle so many protocol movements, compliances, and do our job effectively. Again we want to reiterate that Railways, especially at field level, is unlike any other Govt. organisation.




Although we spoke only about the engineering department, but problems of various kinds also exists in other departments as well. For example, Mechanical/Electrical department might use old/dysfunctional parts in locos and coaches or Operating department do not always lock hand operated points due to shortage of staff or send shunting master without proper authority, etc. Some problems are common while others unique. But engineering being the biggest and the most critical department can lead the way towards the desired change.

We hope that the points highlighted above are constructive in nature, and would lead to a change for a better future. Otherwise the environment at field level is becoming demotivating. We are forced to question why we chose this service after getting the best ranks. We were warned that it will be very demanding still we took the job. But with increasing expectations and quantum of work it is becoming increasingly difficult to fulfil the duties effectively.

By addressing the letter to you Sir, we don’t imply that the Railway Board is failing in its duty. There are some issues which may have been overlooked or needs attention as per field requirement. It is a technical organisation and technical persons are the best judge to decide the future course. And a railway man is always an able administrator for the job.

We feel we should have to focus on our core responsibilities, not be swayed by populist demands or cosmetic changes and work more transparently so as to develop faith.



Calling on The President of India

One of the exciting things which take place at the end of probation is ‘Visit to the President of India’. It is officially called as ‘Calling on the President of India”. All the Group A services officers are appointed by the President and work under his pleasure. Although , President has delegated this responsibilities to various ministries but ceremonially he is our appointing authority. So, almost all the ministries let their probationers call on the President of India before they actually start their working. No doubt, we all wait for this moment, for the photographs and for the ‘likes’.

Visit to Rashtrapati Bhawan is conducted very formally. All the probationers are taken at once, you can’t enter there own your own. Moreover , the security is so high that you will not be allowed individual entry. Timings are specified and everything proceeds as per the plan. If you miss your group , you may have very hard time reaching there.

Darbar Hall is  place where The President meets the probationers. In-fact, all major ceremonies are done here. We reach half-hour before the arrival of president in Darbar Hall. There , we go through mock exercises for group photograph. The security officers of Rashtrapati Bhawan brief us about protocols for various activities.

Who will speak what is already decided and those who have to speak practice a lot to make it flawless. Generally, One probationer from every service gives 2 minute speech about the training which has been imparted in the service, on behalf of his batch.

The sequence of activities after the arrival of President is as follows:

  • Opening speech by Member of Railway Board/Head of Ministry.
  • Probationers share their experience of training.
  • Address by the President of India.
  • Closure speech by Member of Railway Board/Head of Ministry.
  • Then we go for group Photograph.


After photo session ,we proceed towards Banquet Hall for refreshments. Even the samosa of Rashtrapati Bhawan tastes good. We exit the Durbar Hall and take lots of photograph for Facebook.

The profile pics may change later but memories will remain forever.

The President said that the Engineering Service would provide the officers an opportunity to serve the society and they would be entrusted with tremendous opportunities at a young age. They should give back to society as the society had invested in them. Besides, they should remember Mahatma Gandhi’s talisman of thinking of the welfare of the poorest of the poor in order to arrive at correct decisions. If they consider their job as a mission, they would be able to have maximum job satisfaction.



View of Darbar Hall


A group of probationers of Indian Railway Service of Engineers, Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers and Railway Protection Force called on the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee today (May 17, 2016) at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that the Indian Railways is not only one of the largest rail networks in the world but one of those which are well managed. With 66,000 Km of route length, the track network of the Indian railways stretches to almost every nook and corner of the country. It carries 23 million passengers daily. He stated that Indian Railways has a deeper meaning than being a mere transportation system. It integrates far-flung areas of the country. Like the Indian Post Office, it is one of the few organizations in the country which have a truly national character having influence over the whole country. In undertaking journeys the individual identities of the people who are travelling are replaced by the fact that they all are passengers.
The President said that the Indian Railways is not just a commercial organization. It has also extended help and support to the needy when required. It has carried on the tremendous responsibility of economic development of the country. However, Indian Railways is also faced with manifold challenges which include ensuring safety, security and the punctual running of trains.
The President urged the probationers to always remember that through the services they were not merely earning their livelihood but were making a meaningful contribution to this great nation to which they belong. He said that they were getting a tremendous opportunity of serving the country. They must always show ingenuity, innovation and initiative while discharging their duties.



Leave for IAS preparation in Railways

Recently,Ministry of Railways issued a letter to all the Centralised Training Insititutes about giving one year extraordinary leave for preparation of CSE/ESE. I am posting that letter below. The letter is self explanatory however main points are as below.

At the time of joining your service, you will be given two option.

First option is to take 1 year Extraordinary leave for appearing in the next examination of your choice from date of joining itself.

The second option is to give a decleration that you are not interested in giving any exam and henceforth you will not appear in exam after joining your respective services.

If you go for second option , then you will not be able to write CSE/ESE in future.

If you go for first option, then you will  be able to give next attempt in examination of your choice,however salary and passes will not be given.

After taking Extraordinary leave, you have to report to your institute. If you fail to do so then it will be treated that you are no more interested in joining the service.

After taking Extraordinary leave, you have to give a deceleration that you will not further appear in CSE/ESE, if you don’t give this decleration than you will not be able to join your service.

There will not be any effect on your seniority because of Extraordinary leave as compared to your other batchmates.






Tips from ESE Electrical Topper(AIR 6)

This post is written by Anas Feroz, ESE 2015 AIR 6 from Electrical Engineering. He can be reached at



I got selected in BARC, PGCIL, HPCL, IOCL , NTPC, DMRC and ONGC , thanks for the reason that i did’nt gave up on my ESE preparation. Most of the interview questions were from the conventional questions i was practicing.

Considering the fact that you have been called for  PSU interviews, I’m assuming that you have a good command over technical topics from your gate preparation.

Now what extra is required is to go through the theory because all psu’s will ask you theory questions in the interview. Now if you’re preparing for ESE you ‘re theory part will be taken care of automatically. You also need to go through the psu website and jot down some important projects, board members name, CSR projects, etc that might help you in the introduction part.

Give it only 1 hour before the day of the interview.

Also you can save the time on the interview day by taking your notes copy or the company notes and reading them there itself.

I’ll highlight some important points regarding some companies.


Prepare 5 topics as they’ll ask you to name 5 of your favorite subjects, in the order of your competency. The questions are specifically the same as we practice in conventional for ESE. I got delighted when they asked me to draw circuits and waveforms. They’ll start from the very basics and then increase there level of questions. Don’t worry if you’re not able to answer them. Just focus on your approach. Give them some hint or direction as to how the question can be tackled. I was able to answer 60% of the questions and got selected. If you’re interview is lasting for more than 45 minutes then you’re in their good books.



Since i’m from electrical background i’ll highlight some topics from which the questions can be expected.

Power system Protection.

Electrical engineering basics.

Advantages of Grid system.



Regenerative braking.

Carbon credits.

Power system Protection.

For oil companies-


Learn about the refineries and their location. Dont forget to remember the first or the oldest one as it will make the introduction about the company sound better. Go through the Psu’s website and find whatever technical projects you can find. If you’re BTP is in the same topic you can talk about it. Also read about their CSR activities.

Also go through Electrical engineering interview questions and answers . You can read 1 to 2 chapters daily during lunch or dinner.


All the best.

Change in pattern and syllabus of ESE 2017

UPSC has announced the new pattern of Engineering Services Examination which is to be effective from 2017 ownwards. Those appearing for 2016 need not worry, their syllabus and pattern remains the same. This change was  expected quite for some time as there were unofficial rumors in the market of coaching. Now that new format is out in public domain, it is necessary to have some discussions about it.

The changed format of IES is here ESE Reforms publicity


ies pattern

There has been radical change in the format of ESE. At this point , it is very difficult to predict nature of questions and difficulty level for 2017 aspirants. They will be appearing for the exams without having the backup of ‘previous year papers’. Till now we were almost sure of nature and pattern of questions which were being asked in ESE but this luxury will not be available for next few years. Aspirants have to be ready for surprises till UPSC exhausts its question bank.

Biggest change has been the introduction of stage-1  a.k.a ‘prelims’ . However i don’t think that this stage-1 is equivalent to prelims because the prelims should be just a qualifying stage but in this case that marks of stage-1 will be considered for final selection. In a way, not only you have to perform good to be eligible for stage-2 but also you have to score good for clearing next stages. In civil services, prelims is just a qualifying paper but in ESE it is part of overall process.


Paper -1:- This paper is common for all the candidates. The questions asked will be from general studies and engineering aptitude, thus setting the stage for further competition.Although the general studies still remains the part of paper-1 , its scope has been severely curtailed. There is no separate syllabus for general studies and engineering aptitude. In all, there is combined syllabus given for paper-1. For GS portion , the syllabus given is “Current issues of national and international importance relating to social, economic and industrial development”, this almost negates the necessity of old pattern of  static GS portion from NCERT. But the problem is that we can’t make this presumption about UPSC that everything will be from what it has given as syllabus. So , over the course of one year , at-least one reading can be given to NCERT books for basic understanding. This new pattern has heavily increased the importance of newspaper reading. Even you will be required to make notes from newspaper on a daily basis so that you understand the issues at hand. How to make notes from newspaper is a tricky affair. It will take some time to understand the relevance of news from examination point of view.  This article will help you to grasp the techniques of note making from newspaper.

Engineering Aptitude covering Logical reasoning and Analytical ability: This should be manageable at the level of aspirants himself. You can also follow because he has lot of resources on this topic which he gives for other exam but it may be relevant here too. Logical reasoning and analytical ability should not be a big issue for any average engineer. You can by any decent book from market , or wait for coaching institutes to release their material

Engineering Mathematics and Numerical Analysis : We all study this subject in first year of our colleges. Also , this topic is included in GATE examination for every branch. Pick up your first year books and start preparation now. Those who are in their first year of college should take this subject seriously.

General Principles of Design, Drawing, Importance of Safety:  Civil and mechanical engineers study design and drawing in second year of their  course so your friends in this department will helping you to get through this subject. I think coaching institutes will bring out study material as soon as possible

Standards and Quality practices in production, construction, maintenance and services: This belongs to the domain of Production and Civil engineers. Those who are still in graduation should really look into others branches as well.

Basics of Energy and Environment: This is the primary domain of Civil and Environmental engineers. In fact, environmental engineering takes the lead here.

Basics of Project Management: Again this is topic straight from civil engineering like CPM and PERT.

Basics of Material Science and Engineering: Every branch has this subjects , so each aspirants should study books of other department

Information and Communication Technologies: This is the domain of Computer Science and IT department. Apart from just using Facebook and WhatsApp try to learn the IT structure of these applications, atleast of those which you use regularly.

Ethics and values in Engineering profession: Here this most important question “Why did you become an engineer”. What are the  core values of an ‘engineer’? How will you serve the society in this profession.?

Right now there is no study material which comprehensively covers all the topics of Paper-1. We will have to wait few months before the materials are out in the market. I will also try to update this article with the relevant links from other websites. At present, you will have to manage yourself till coaching institutes do their job. NPTEL  is a good website to start learning basics of core engineering. UPSC wants you to study basics of almost every core branch and acquire interdisciplinary skills so that in future you will be better able to communicate with officers from other department.

You should be able to appreciate the technicalities of other branches of engineering. You should not shouldn’t study in isolation. Take interest in basics of other department. Make friends from diverse background of specialization. After few months, coaching institutes will flood the market with study material for above topics. At this juncture, you will have to arrange such material which seems beneficial from point of view of Stage-1 examination.


This is an objective paper which will be discipline specific. Earlier the pattern was of  2 papers with 200 marks each. The syllabus was also divided accordingly. Now, there is a single paper of 300 marks which means that whole syllabus will be covered in a single paper which makes it quite tough. The best way to prepare is to go for objective papers of previous years. Both Paper-1 and Paper-2 should be covered as there is a single objective paper this time.


The word ‘mains’ has traditionally  been associated with civil services. From 2017 onward, the vocabulary of ESE aspirants will also change. After you qualify stage-1 , there will be a subjective examination of 600 marks. UPSC will announce results of stage-1 atleast after 1 months but it can easily go to two months. Those selected in stage-1 will write two conventional paper of 300 marks each. Compared to previous format, the number of question will increase for subjective papers. However,I don’t think that the strategy for preparing subjective exam will undergo significant change.  After two months of prelims , you will give one single day exam thereby concluding your  written part of the process.  By this time ,you would have been judged for 1100 marks in total.

Introduction of mains in ESE is debatable. On one hand ,it increases the overall duration of examination process, while on other it gives you enough time to prepare for subjective examination.
We don’t know the examination cycle of new format. It would be difficult to guess so as to which other exams would be affected because of ‘ESE’.  Suppose the cycle of exams start in January, so you will be preparing of GATE as well as Prelims simultaneously. If the prelims are held in May , then some of you who are civil services aspirants will not be able to go for prelims of civil services.  At present ,there is no option before you except to prepare in uncertainty. Whatever comes , you should be ready to make full use of the opportunity at hand. Whenever an examination format changes, it is either an opportunity or catastrophe for aspirants.

Due to mains, the strategy changes from now. Earlier you prepared to be ready for objective and subjective exams at the same time. Now you can prepare one thing at a time. Objective before prelims and subjective before mains. 1-2 months’ time would be sufficient for revision of subjective questions. I think the test series would also get modified to suit the needs of changed examination format.

 Personality Test

Interview weight-age has been left untouched, I think it is a good decision. After clearing two stages, no one would want to fail in third stage due to high variation of marks in interview. The preparation and mock for interview would the remain same. .


Apart from structural changes in format, the content has been changed only for paper-1 of stage -1. This exam will bring out knowledge required for an engineer and patience required for a manager. All the stages are filled with traps and the one who knows the maze or the pit-falls of the game is going to win it. Now you can say that  format has been changed from one day cricket to a test match. As Always , GATE remains T20 sizzler. You have to be all-rounder for surviving in the game. I would suggest you not to play IPL, only the genuine player will win here. Don’t run after quick results, remember that in the end you have to be a man of match. Remember, Interview will like a journalist asking for your opinion before the game is over and the result will be like a captain who is holding the trophy.

Thank You
All the best for the ‘Games of Dholpur House’











Hello Everyone

It is my constant endeavor to develop this blog as platform for all IES aspirants. I want to include as many diverse experiences of people as i can. In this article Nishek Jain shares his journey if becoming IES through mechanical engineering. I hope this article helps you in your preparation and overall guidance. He can be reached at



My Choice:

In Engineering we do a lot of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and answers to many of them are found by eliminating the not so suitable options. It was a similar situation. I graduated in 2011 and got opportunity to work in core mechanical engineering company for 3 years. The job was ok but after almost 2 years the work started becoming redundant and I was not happy. So I started looking for other options. I could think of 4 options:

  1. Job Change
  2. MBA
  3. Civil Services
  4. Engineering Services

Job Change was eliminated because I did not really know how to do it. I applied at few job portals and at websites of some good companies but did not get any good interview calls. Also I could not find many good companies where my specific experience of 3 years could be used and I might not be treated as a fresher.

MBA was again eliminated because I gave CAT two times with my job but could not get 99+ percentile because of less preparation and somehow I did not want to spend more time for CAT preparation.

Civil Services, though seemed very lucrative career choice, was again eliminated because I knew that I was not at all good at writing big essays and theoretical questions.

Finally Engineering Services, 1st question was: “Can I clear this exam?” I did a lot of research. Found some friends who have already cleared this exam, discussed with them. Had a look at the previous year papers and was finally confident that if I prepare well I can clear this exam.

2nd question was: “Will it really provide a good career and a solution to my present problem?” Again after a lot of research, the answer was yes. Engineering Services (especially Railways) provides a very dynamic and challenging career. There is a huge impact of your work on society and nation building and it is one of the most coveted and respectable job for engineering graduates. So, Engineering Services it was.


My Preparation:

I left my job and took coaching at Made Easy. I wanted to give just one best try so I thought of not leaving any help or support which I could get and so I thought of taking coaching and it was very helpful.

As it had been a long time since college, so coaching helped in recalling all the concepts in a faster way. Also, periodic tests were helpful in judging the present level of preparation. Good competition in the coaching centre motivated me to study harder. So, coaching was very helpful in my case, but I would not say that it is essential.

If one is a final year student or a recent pass out (or anybody) who remembers the basic concepts and can revise them on his own, then self study can be sufficient.


Strategy for anybody:

For Technical Part:-

  1. Revise all the technical subjects studied in college (if you did) or join a coaching centre to help you do that.
  2. If you are joining a coaching centre then revise your Class Notes on the same day. Practice the questions suggested by teacher and make short notes.
  3. No need to purchase books if you don’t have any. You don’t have that much time to go through all the books. Notes of good coaching centers are sufficient which are available at photocopy shops outside coaching centers.
  4. Practice previous 10-15 years IES questions both objective and subjective yourself. Many questions get repeated exactly or at least the type of questions remains more or less same.
  5. Join a good All India Test Series and give all the tests seriously.


For English and General Studies (GS):-

English and GS are going to play very important role (atleast till ESE 2016), so this area needs special attention and this is the section which helped me a lot. I got 140 in this paper.. 🙂

For English:-


  1. “VoLT Vocabulary” App: It is a recently launched android app which is very good for fast and fun vocabulary learning. It is based on the book “VoLT- Vocabulary Learning Techniques” by Abhishek Jain which I used for Vocab preparation. But now there is app and it is free so you can go for that.
  2. Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis: Very good book for vocabulary improvement but a bit lengthy and time taking.

Grammar, Sentence Correction etc:

English Theory Book of Made Easy and Previous year questions of this section really help. Same mistakes are repeated many times.

For General Studies (GS):

GS section consists of 2 parts: Static and Dynamic. Static one i.e. Geography, Polity, Biology & History and Dynamic one i.e. Current Affairs. For the Static part notes of any good coaching institute may help but for Dynamic part I recommend notes of A.P. Singh Sir from Made Easy.

In short:

 Focus on technical concepts and practice more and more questions. Revise the class notes (or short notes) again and again. Previous 10-15 years questions and a good Test Series is must. For ESE-2016, General Studies and English are also equally important, so do focus on them if you are a serious aspirant and want to clear ESE 2016. From 2017 onwards, what happens to this part of the exam is yet to be seen.


My Interview:

My UPSC Interview went well (according to me) but my marks were not that good. I got 120 out of 200. I practiced for the interview with 3-4 mock interviews but the feel of the real UPSC interview was totally different from any of the mock interview. ESE interview this time was mostly technical, no current affairs etc. Technical questions included many questions related to job experience, some basic concept based questions and few advanced application based questions. I could answer almost 50-60% of the total technical questions but my confidence level was good.


Tips for Interview:

As mentioned above, ESE 2015 interview was mostly technical. Also, as per at the new pattern of ESE which is to be implemented from 2017, major portion of the General Studies like History, Geography, Polity etc. is removed from syllabus. So it is my prediction that ESE interviews in future are going to be more and more technical. So I would like to share following tips:

  • Revise all the technical concepts thoroughly before the interview.
  • If you have worked for a significant amount of time, prepare about your job profile, your significant contribution, recent developments in your area of work etc.

Note: Your English speaking skills play very less role in ESE interview. You just need to know the right answer and should be able to convey it to them.


General (But very helpful) Tips:

In such long preparation duration, feeling low sometimes is a part of the game and it happens with everybody. So whenever such phase comes, you should not get too much tensed or depressed, you should just take some time off the studies and try to do something to cheer yourself up. Watching a movie, hanging out with friends for some time, eating some good food outside may help.

For achieving a big target, a dose of motivation is also very much required time to time. Motivational posters, videos, computer wallpapers etc. are really helpful. My favorite motivational quote is this one by Swami Vivekananda, “Arise, Awake and Stop not till the goal is reached”.



One Year at Indian Railways

At IRICEN, Faculty and Probationers

Recently, IRSE 2013 batch completed one year of service in Indian Railways. One year in any organization is not long enough to understand the intricate details of the system. Not many among us can say that we now know everything about Railways,at best we have only got the opportunity to look through the widow into this huge organization. Whatever we have know in last year has overwhelmed us in its complexity and magnificence.

Last one year has been filled with many eventful moments in the journey of life as well as the train. As a passenger, we may not appreciate the the work that Railways do. Its primary role is of transporting people from their place of origin to their place of destination safely. This business of transportation may seem to be devoid of any essence and work satisfaction. Let me tell you that opposite is the case here. Indian Railways is a world in itself with its different organizations as the family members. Railway board sits at the apex of family tree, controlling everyone in most of the aspects of their working. Various zones are like cousins, some big ,some small. General Manager is the paternal figure of the Zone. Similarly, Divisional Railway Manager is the apex authority at division. The basic functional unit of working is division. It is from here that operation starts and goes upto Railway Board. For you to travel in train, it takes effort of thousand of people to complete you journey, from origin to destination.

Importance of railways shouldn’t be looked only form point of view of a commercial transporter. I think it would be fair to say that Airports doesn’t represent the majority of us, it is the railway station which is the microcosm of India. At railway stations we are witness to every aspect of life, from birth to death, the railway stations of India forms an integral part of average Indian. Railways stations are lodging places for homeless, railways tracks are infamous for open defecation and suicide. It is hard to accept this fact that so much of engineering is tarnished by the insensible acts of people. But this doesn’t represent failure of railways, it is our collective failure that after 68 years of freedom, poverty and illiteracy, malnutrition and mortality, absence of hygiene and drinking water is persistent reality and you come to know this only when you travel  in Indian Railways.

Sometimes rail journey should be undertaken to feel the discomfort of masses.In last one year, we have traveled in every part of train, from engine to guard vain. When you make a transition from AC 1 to unreserved , you see  classic example of class difference. In AC 1 politicians travel , who represent the masses travelling in unreserved coaches. I am not saying that there should be no AC 1 but there should not be any unreserved coaches where people are stuffed like animals.

I strongly believe that development of Railways is the parameter of growth for National Economy. When you go to a railway station and don’t find any change, it is for granted that there has been no significant change in lives of average Indian. Until, the distressed faces of rural workers replaces well fed and well dressed people boarding the train , take it for granted that there has been no ‘Acche Din’. Until the passenger travelling on the floor of coaches get confirm seats, there has been no ‘Acche Din’. Until TTE treat you with respect, there has been no ‘Acche Din’.

As a probationer, we had the opportunity to travel the length and breath of this great country, we can proudly say that Indian Railways truly call itself the ‘Lifeline of Nation’. It takes the workforce of around 12 lakhs to keep this life line functioning, day and night. It is necessary for the government of the day to infuse some vitality in this lifeline.

Railways should be seen as more than a transporter,it the collective heritage of our national identity persisting through best and worst of times.





Working for Railaways in Naxal Zone

One of the vehicles given to use for visiting the sites
One of the vehicles given to use for visiting the sites

Probationers in Indian Railway get unique opportunity to traverse length and breath of this country. I think no other service gives this much exposure in travelling as the Indian Railways. In other services, probationers are taken on ‘Bharat Dharshan’ but we are literally on Bharat Dharshan at any given moment of time.

I have recently been to some naxal affected areas of Jharkhand as a part of my field training.  In field training , probationers are sent to actual construction sites of Railways. It is quite obvious that construction activities take place in far off areas from the cities. Those areas where railway has not reached have been left behind in the developmental process.

Construction unit in field is headed by Deputy Chief Engineer who is a JAG grade officer. He works under Chief Engineer who sits at headquarter. Under Dy. CE there are many Inspector of works, assistant executive engineers and executive engineers for carrying out the work. This whole organisation is separate from open-line setup. Separate offices, resthouses and other infrastructure is developed for construction organisation. The head of construction organisation in a zone is Chief Administrative Officer who reports to General Manager.

Government of India’s policy is to counter naxal and maoist narrative with the prospect of development of the state. Development is really the effective antidote for any kind of extremism and insurgency. In this respect , Railways is seen as the major force behind any kind of growth story. There are  many Railway projects going on in Jharkhand. I have to Hazaribagh-Ranchi site. As you move away from Hazaribagh towards Chatra forest range, the threat perception of naxals increases significantly. It is not like you will always encounter naxals in these areas, but all the contractor and govt. officials work in their shadow. As of late, contractor is more harrased than govt officers. Basically he has to pay levy to them for working in their areas. Sometimes vehicles are burnt, sometimes labors are threatened , basically an atmosphere of fear prevails which is not healthy for developmental process.

Given all the circumstances, Government has to work through its agencies , one of which is Railways. We represent the will of the state and in doing so we have to exert our authority on behalf of Government of India. We have to construct new line inspite of all the challenges which lies before us. So the first thing is to motivate yourself and your subordinates for working on the project because such kind of post are considered as punishment posting. Once you have made your mind then only you can move forward. So the first hurdle is you prepare yourself. Infact in civil services, the exposure is more while in railways the contact is limited. So they face greater risk in working in these areas. You must have heard of DM’s being kidnapped or the attack on police convoy. For the Railways threat is not only to officers but also to thousands of passengers who are travelling on these routes.

The essence of public service is developing the most backward areas of our country. People write lofty answers in the examination but the real test lies here. It should not be said that officers alone can bring about change. Primarily it is the responsibility of politicians to be harbinger of change. It is they who make the policies and we implement it. So a backward state ruled by good politicians should be the idea place for true civil servant. Similarly a backward state ruled by corrupt politicians is the most unsuitable place to work. Sometimes, this works as feedback loop in which poor people are main victims. All the politics in our country is played in the name of poor but he always remains poor. Officers play a very small part, their main role is the effective implementation of task given to then by their political masters. In IES, there can’t be much interference because nature of job is technical and it can’t be left to discretion of anyone.

My personal experience from this tour was quite positive. In these areas , there is natural beauty tarnished only by the acts of men. We went to different construction sites:

IMG_20151103_170319 IMG_20151107_163805

Apart from extremist challenge , there are engineering challenges which is our main work here.

IMG_20151108_160058873_HDR IMG_20151103_163139


We also went to that site where naxals had burned contractor’s vehicle. In the name of ideology, this has become an extortion business and our pseudo-intellectuals posing as champion of human rights should come down to see what is being done in name of ideology. There is a severe need of pushing for growth in terms of infrastructure development in these areas. It only through these means that government can counter the narrative of left wing extremism.

We reached here when it was almost dark
We reached here when it was almost dark, Threat perception is greater here.


Mud houses of tribals
Mud houses of tribal settlers 

We stayed in Guest houses at different places. This is one big advantage with railways that we never have to think about travelling and staying in any part of country. Our seniors always take care of us. They make sure that we face no problem whatsoever.

Overall this was an enlightening experience which definitely enriched our perspective of this great nation. In probation there is an opportunity to experience in real what you have studied in theory. It gives you a glimpse of your career ahead. The diversity of work and the challenges ahead are put before us in detail. Also, the probationary period gives us unique opportunity to look into the actual working of government organization without having to bear any kind of responsibility.

Thank you


Step by Step guide to IES interview


Now that the result of written exam has been declared, most of you must be wondering about steps required to be taken till completion of interview stage. In this article, I will try to address your concerns as much as I can. So , this will be a step by step guide for personality test a.k.a interview.

  1. DAF- Detailed Application form

Show utmost care while filling this DAF online, there is no need to submit it in one day itself. Consult your peers while filing this form. Many coaching institute provide guidance for filling DAF ,so if possible you can also consult them.

In DAF, there are few grey areas such prizes, achievements, sports and hobby, etc. This section falls in the most important part of DAF because the first question will be from these things only. And what a tragedy could be ,if you start without answering first question and that too related to your hobby and achievements.  So, I will not suggest you what to fill there but I would like to say that fill only those contents which you will be able to defend there. It is not expected of you to have PhD in your hobby but still your knowledge should be enough make you look sincere in their eyes. Let me tell you that they are very good at catching lies, especially if you are not a confident speaker. Once they get that impression that you are speaking lie then your whole effort at further improvements will not make much impact on them. So, what you speak should be worth what you have written in your DAF. Therefore, fill DAF with utmost caution. Remember this rule, “the more you write, the more you increase their expectations from you”.

  1. Preparing HR and Current Affairs

Once you submit your DAF, then you become a prisoner of it. You should look at it daily; write down 5 random questions that come to your mind while looking at DAF. Let others have a look at DAF and allow them to ask questions. Diversity of opinion is required to get the best possible outcome. The most important questions are why you want to join IES, why you want to leave your current job?, how will you serve people in IES?, why do you want to join railways? Etc. IF you have read my previous articles, then you can frame your answers based on concepts elucidated there.

Current awareness is must for those who want to score high. It is not necessary that current topics will be asked but there are high chances of it being asked which may land you in trouble if you don’t prepare it. Answering current topics will not show that you are a brilliant candidate but it will save you from humiliation in front of board. Unlike IAS interview, the depth and analysis of current topics will be to the surface only, but more the knowledge the better it is. Some board chairman also asks puzzles, so better if you prepare for it.

  1. Preparing Technical Aspects

Apart from board chairman, there will be 4-5 technical experts of your subjects sitting there. These experts are either current or retired technocrats in Government of India. You will be relatively, if chairman is not from your technical background, as in that case he will ask only HR questions. After that you will be passed on to technical members for further grueling. Their main job is to check your technical knowledge of the stream in which you have qualified ESE. Apart from the core conventional knowledge which you studied for written exam, also prepare engineering applications of your subjects in practical life. Also be ready to go to some standard question available in the interview market, which if you don’t answer will reflect poorly on you. How to get these questions? These can be gathered from interview experiences of others and coaching material. In this segment never forget your core subjects and their concepts because they expect you to atleast that much. But the problem is , those who have fear of authority will most likely forget everything in front of interview board. They will have black-out. For solving this issue, training of mind is needed, do some yoga and meditation to overcome fear of authority.

In technical aspects, remember this rule “Either you know, or you don’t”. Don’t give your opinion in technical matters. It is not IAS interview where your opinion will matter. Either you say confidently or you don’t. But there is a way of telling them that you don’t know. Say that “I am not able to recall it now”. Learn these types of standard responses to get yourselves out of difficult situations.

  1. Mock Interviews

Give atleast 2 mock interview to asses your preparation. For mock session you can join coaching nearest to where you live. Or you can give it in Delhi also by taking leave from your current job but it not to be neglected.

Let me tell you honestly that mock conducted by coaching institutes will not give you feel of UPSC. You will find remarkable difference in those two. However, it necessary for your own analysis. You will come to know of the mistakes which you avoid later on. Like in my case, I used to keep my hands on table, I came to know it when pointed out at mock sessions. So, there are lots of personalities issues that you may be grappling with in your lives, don’t let it reflect there.  Basically, you will have confidence while facing real board, but if you don’t then be prepared for worst. Either you already have a great personality or you are confident that you score too high to bother about mock, then only take a risk otherwise mock sessions are must for everyone.

  1. Interview Day

It will be wither November of December when you will be at UPSC, so proper suit attire is expected of you. But not everybody has a suit to wear, in such a case I would say that go without suit but don’t wear sweaters. Attire is also a part of your personality for which you are being judged. Sit quietly in the common room. The more you discuss, the more anxious you will be. Keep a smile on your face while entering the room. For first 10min you will asked to wait outside the room which is going to be like a torture. But think something about else at this point, or you will become too nervous while taking your seat. Look around yourselves, be alert and attentive. Once you take your seat, half of your worry will be over. Learn the manners of sitting, walking, standing and speaking. These entire things can make a lot of difference apart from giving answers to them.

I hope I have given you quite clear picture of IES interview process. Wish you all the luck

Bonus Point- Your marks will only be decided by chairman of the board who is a UPSC member. Technical experts don’t have power to give marks but they can advise the chairman about performance of the candidates.