Salary and Pay Comparison

Whenever you apply for any job, the very first and important question that comes in mind is “What will be the package /salary and allowances etc.?”

I have found many candidates always concerned with the salary and allowances they will get in different type of jobs like PSU, State Government, Central Government, R & D organizations, etc. So, I thought to share the pay structure of the PSU, State Government and Central Government jobs in India. I am not going to compare the nature of job, I am only going to tell you the pay structure and the initial salary you get in PSU, State Government and Central Government. I have considered the Pay Band-3 in CDA scale and Executive Grade IDA Scale in PSUs.

Central PSU (IDA Scale) State PSU (CDA Scale) Central Government (CDA Scale) State Government (CDA Scale) R & D Organization (BARC/DRDO etc.) (CDA Scale)
Basic Pay (INR) 16400 or 20600 or 24900 15600+5400 15600+5400 15600+5400 15600+5400
DA rate on 31st Dec. 2015 107.9 % 119 % 119 % 119 % 119 %
Cafeteria Allowance rate 46 to 51 % NIL NIL NIL NIL
HRA rate (depend on place of posting) 10 or 20 or 30 % 10 or 20 or 30 % 10 or 20 or 30 % 10 or 20 or 30 % 10 or 20 or 30 %
Lease Amount Approx. 16000-21000 May or May not be NIL NIL NIL
Conveyance/Transportation Allowance (depend on place of posting) Approx. 3000-5500 1600 or 3200 plus DA 1600 or 3200 plus DA 1600 or 3200 plus DA 1600 or 3200 plus DA
Telephone Reimbursement Approx. 500-1500 CUG System CUG System CUG System CUG System

General Formula for Salary Calculation

Gross = Basic * (100 + DA rate + Cafeteria rate + HRA rate)/100 + Conveyance Allowance


The Various deductions in the salary may be under following heads:

              IDA Scale : EPF, LIC Scheme, Social Security, Income Tax etc.

              CDA Scale : NPS, CGHS, Professional Tax, Income Tax etc.



EPF refers to Employee  Provident Fund which has generally fix annual rate of interest and is a compulsory instrument of Tax saving for the government organizations whereas NPS refers to New Pension Scheme, started 2004 onwards appointments to the Central Government Employees and Sate Government Employees. The NPS is also a compulsory instrument of Tax saving for the Government Employees governed by this scheme. The rate of return is variable (may be positive, negative or zero) in NPS because it is based on the market value of the funds invested in Equity.


CDA Scale Vs IDA Scale ?

CDA means Central Government Dearness Allowance while IDA means Industrial Dearness Allowance. CDA is applicable to the Central government, state government and state PSUs while IDA is applicable mostly to all the Central PSUs. The DA revision is half yearly in CDA whereas it is quarterly in IDA pattern. CDA and IDA are calculated based on the All India Consumer Price Index number/ Market rates/ Other Price Indices etc.

For Example:

IDA rate (%) CDA rate (%)
From 01 January, 2015 100.3 113
From 01 April, 2015 100.5 113
From 01 July, 2015 102.6 119
From 01 October, 2015 107.9 119


Disclaimer– Above article compares the pay and allowances as they exist as of now. When 7th pay commission report will be implemented , it will be updated in that context.


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’










How to get AIR 2 without coaching

Hello ,

This is Ashish Verma working in Indian Railway Service of Engineers selected through  Engineering Services Examination  conducted by UPSC in 2013.Change in pattern of GATE , IES this year  has forced me to share my views on this blog.

I feel proud that I got selected in several competitive exams without taking any coaching throughout my studies. I would like to give you brief introduction about myself.

When I was in 12th standard I was not knowing about even IIT’s , NIT’s. My aim was to become a engineer. One of my friend asked me to fill the form of UPTU, so I did and I got selected .Then I Graduated from Kamla Nehru institute of technology, a UP state government college in 2012. I feel happy to tell u that I was GOLD MEDALLIST of UPTU University in Civil Engineering.Sometimes I was thinking whether I will be getting any job after graduating from such college. But I didn’t loose any hope. I continued my studies and started my preparation in sixth semester for IES .Then I appeared for GATE  and secured AIR-41. I couldn’t appear for the IES exam as minimum age requirement was changed during the same year.

Through that I was called for NTPC and IOCL interview and was selected in both the Maharatna PSU’S . During preparation my interest inculcated in Structural engineering. So I applied in Council Of Scientific Research (CSIR) and  got selected as Scientist in Structural Engineering Research Centre( SERC), Chennai. But due to some family constraints I couldn’t join it and finally joined NTPC in August 2012. But I never lost my confidence and will. I continued  my preparation but there was lack of time then time management played significant role in my preparation .

My classroom training in NTPC was undergoing in Power Management Institute,Noida from August 2012 to March 2013 where schedule of classes were fixed. So I planned accordingly.I identified my weak subjects, areas and made study plan accordingly to cover as much as possible. During my preparation I found that there is problem of forgetting the formulas etc which is generally with everyone but you can find the solution for that .If I have to study a subject for  1 hour, then I used to divide it into three parts ; first part 25 minutes theory of new topic ;20 minutes numerical of previous topic covered which helped me to memorize the concepts; remaining 15 minutes for objective questions of new/previous topic. Every hour or half an hour I used to change the subjects and generally used to study 7-8 subjects everyday.At initial stage you will feel that you are studying very little but time and pace your summation of study will be more effective and productive and  you will not feel boredom at any time.If anytime you feel bored with any subject you change the subject and study your liking subject which you want when you feel sleepy start doing numerical part of subject which you studied earlier.

During holidays my study plan was to cover atleast all the subjects because latest exam pattern of IES is more subjective focused and covers all the subject,so if  you miss any subject you may not able to attempt all the questions of the section you select.

The Selection of Standard books plays the most significant role for preparation and use your books as your reference notes and mark with different color  depending on importance of topic you think is important and would help you in revision further

In March 2013 I was posted as Assitant Manager  in Tapovan Vishnugad Hydropower Project ,Chamoli Uttrakhand .I continued my study plan and used to change the duration of each subject as per weightage of each subject and time availability ,but due to workload I couldn’t cover all the subjects. Therefore ,I took one month leave before the exam and covered all the subjects. I used to cover all fourteen -fifteen subjects everday and also General studies and English vocabulary daily as it is one of the most important part for scoring good rank.I memorized all GRE English vocabulary which helped me a lot in English section.I managed to correct all English meanings and synomyns.


For any exam it is necessary to understand what that exam demands from the candidate.IES present pattern demands theoretical as well as numerical approach of the subject .In objective it needs time management and lot of practice of objective questions from several standard books.

I have seen that UPSC is directly picking concepts and questions from standard books which aspirants are generally not aware and blindly follow the study material and notes of coaching available in the market  which generally contains repeated concept questions asked earlier . The candidates are not able to attempt the new questions and waste there time during examination  hours and thus not getting the expected results. Present situation is such that it would make a lot of difference and you will be lagging behind. Likewise in conventional paper selection of questions is very important. UPSC is mixing questions of 3-4 subjects in single section and if candidate has not covered all the subjects, it would limit the attempt generally upto 110-120 marks which in my opinion is not sufficient in present situation. Therefore ,prepare all subjects and follow standard books of every subject and not wholly rely on coaching and their material and it is my firm belief that this exam can be cleared with good rank with self study, practice  and dedication .Continuity of study  is mandatory for this exam.

I appeared for IES -2013 and I was so confident even after my written examination that I will be able to secure under top 20 and secured AIR-2. IES 2013 exam was the most analytical and conceptual paper since 15years  in which UPSC attempted to find out  the self  study of standard books  and practice from the aspirants rather than asking questions directly from coaching material available  in the market.

The main aim of  giving my brief introduction was to motivate each and every aspirant who are preparing for any engineering competitive exam  . I have found that everyone is running for coaching and they are more inclined towards coaching rather than self study.The changing trend of IES,GATE is more focused on analytical approach , concepts ,self-study. Every exam needs different focused approach. I would like to suggest to follow standard books of each subject and practice as much as possible. I will be further sharing my ideas on this blog.

For any questions, please comment below.

It would be pleasure to answer your queries.

All the best for future aspirants!!!

Ashish Verma

AIR-2 (IES-2013)



Proper Channel for PSU to UPSC

About Author 


Author has worked with NHPC Ltd.(Central PSU) for more than 3 years and while working cleared UPSC ESE three times consecutively in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Author has received awards from the Chief Minister of UP twice for securing Merit Positions in High-School and Intermediate Examinations of UP Board and also honored by Department of Science/ UP for securing highest marks in Science in High-School Examination. Author also bagged the Silver Medal of the University in B. Tech. Author has a deep interest in Hindi Literature and also received the title of “Manas Mandal Sudharak” from Manas Samiti Kanpur.


I have found many candidates preparing for exams conducted by UPSC while working with PSU or Some other government organization. Some of the candidates are always concerned for the transfer of service agreement bond, technical resignation, proper channel and resignation procedure etc.

I have appeared in UPSC ESE consecutively three times starting from 2011 to 2014 along with working in NHPC Ltd. (Miniratna Company). I got selected with AIR-144, 073, 157 in ESE-2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively. Since I was working with a PSU, I always applied for the exam duly intimating my parent organization at each stage of the selection procedure. I have also found that many candidates do not intimate to their parent department while applying for any Competitive exams due to many reasons.

Let us understand the consequences if you will not intimate your parent organization:

  • Since UPSC does not ask for any experience certificate and No Objection Certificate for appearing in ESE, you can hide the fact without indicating in DAF (Detailed Application Form) and without intimating your current department, but it may cause trouble in future because these details will always be in record. Suppose you want to apply for any other post through Deputation, you cannot show your experience of previous job because you have not mentioned it in DAF while applying.
  • If while applying for UPSC ESE, you have not intimated to your current organization. You cannot give resignation indicating that you are going to join Some Central Govt. department allocated through UPSC ESE, but you have to give resignation on personal ground.
  • If you are under any Service Bond Obligation and your bond period is not completed in the current organization, you have to pay the currency of the bond and resignation must be on personal ground.
  • If your current organization is PSU, it must be having EPF (Employee Provident Fund) Scheme, and for State Government/Central Government the Scheme is NPS (New Pension Scheme). If you are coming from PSU, you have to withdraw the amount and If you are coming from State Government/Central Government department you can transfer your NPS account, without withdrawing your money, But for the transfer of account your resignation must be through proper channel.
  • If you are appointed through the ESE, you will get pay-protection and balance leave transferred, only if your earlier employer was a State Government/Central Government organization and resignation is through proper channel. In case of PSU, no provision of pay-protection is there.
  • In the rarest of the rare case, you may be in trouble if your current organization informs to UPSC that you have not applied through proper channel without intimating them. It may result into cancellation of candidature and a case may also be registered under Section-420 of IPC.

Proper Channel

Many candidates are not aware of the facts that every communication to the Human Resource division of the organization should be through proper channel. Proper Channel simply means that you have intimated through your controlling/reporting officer to the head of the division to the HR section of the organization, indicating “through proper channel” at the top of the letter. (E.g.- Chief Engineer ⇒Divisional GM ⇒ Divisional ED ⇒ GM (HR))

Technical Resignation

Technical Resignation simply means that you have applied through proper channel intimating at all the phases of the selection procedure.

Service Agreement Bond Transfer

Now-a-days, every organization like PSUs, BARC, DRDO etc., is following a trend of Service Agreement Bond. The bond mentions that you have to serve under that organization or Defence Services or Government of India for a particular period of time. If you have applied through proper channel, your bond gets transferred to the new organization clearly indication that you must complete the remaining period of the bond with the new organization. If you have applied through proper channel, it is the responsibility of your previous organization to communicate with the Concerned Ministry about your bond obligations and you need to sign the new bond with the new Organization for the remaining period of bond and it will be sent back to your earlier employer.

Intimation Stages

Many times it happens that candidates intimate only at the time of application only, but you must intimate the present employer at each phase like while application, while filling DAF and Interview and Finally resignation. While taking leave for appearing in exam, you should clearly mention that you are talking leave for appearing in Examination.

The aim of this article is to familiarize the peoples about the common mistakes that may create problem in your bright future and also aware the candidates about the procedure to be followed while applying for UPSC ESE or any other Examination.

For any query, please comment.



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.




How an Average ESE Interview goes – Learn from my mistakes

Deepak Jhalani

Hi All,interview-in-progress-sign

This is me, Deepak Jhalani. I scored AIR 16 in ESE 2014 with Mechanical Engineering. This is an average interview and this transcript I wrote for myself (just after the interview) to refer for future improvements in personality. So this is going to be very critical and many a times over-analysing every tiny details.

Please don’t get bogged down by the details.

Just Follow the basics – Revise your complete notes especially of practical subjects, fill DAF responsibly, remain calm, prepare extensively, Don’t take interview lightly and above all enjoy the process (and I mean it). This is the only phase where you will be rewarded for being yourself, so polish yourself accordingly.

Once again – Preparation is the key. Prepare, prepare and prepare. More you prepare more you score. I see this test NOT as ‘such evaluation of your personality as such’ BUT RATHER a test for…

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