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.

ADEN

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.

 

Anonymous

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.

Stage-1

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 mrunal.org 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.

Paper-2:

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.

Mains/Stage-2

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. .

Conclusion

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 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…

View original post 1,855 more words

Madeeasy Award Ceremony pics 2014


Hello Everyone,
In order to encourage IES and GATE aspirants ,i have decided to share some pics of Madeeasy award ceremony 2014 in which IES and GATE toppers of all four streams were felicitated.This Award ceremony took place in April 2014. I am not doing a promotion for them but since i  have studied here and known it too well , i want to share those moments with you.

Sometimes, students ask me about how to motivate oneself for IES. This post is for them, see these pictures and think that one day you could be here. Not only you but your parents would  also be honored by going there. You feel special when you stand on the stage to receive the prize. This medal itself is not important but the recognition of your hard work and success will surely make you and your  family very proud.

So, this is your destiny waiting for you. Go and get it!!!

 

Surbhi Gautam, IES AIR-1 , Electronics Engineering
Surabhi Gautam,
IES AIR-1 , Electronics Engineering
Abhinav Das ,Electronics Engineeing GATE AIR-03
Abhinav Das ,Electronics Engineering
GATE AIR-03

 

Bharat Aggarwal,IES Civil Engineering AIR-3
Bharat Agarwal,IES
Civil Engineering AIR-3
Babu Lal,Mechanical Engineering,GATE AIR-3
Babu Lal,Mechanical Engineering,GATE AIR-3
AshishBehera,Instrumentation Engineering ,GATE AIR-1
Ashish Behera,Instrumentation Engineering ,GATE AIR-1
Akash Kumar Aggarwal Electronics Engineering  GATE, AIR-01
Akash Kumar Aggarwal
Electronics Engineering
GATE, AIR-01
Ankit Goes ,Electrical Engineerin,GATE, Rank-01
Ankit Goes ,Electrical Engineerin,GATE, Rank-01
Anubhav Gupta , CS & IT GATE AIR-2
Anubhav Gupta , CS & IT
GATE AIR-2
Bharat Kumar,IT GATE Rank-03
Bharat Kumar,IT
GATE Rank-03
Gaurav,Civil Engineering GATE AIR-2
Gaurav,Civil Engineering
GATE AIR-2

DSC_0066_zps94aff547

IES toppers group photo of all branhes
IES toppers group photo of all branches
GATE toppers group photo
GATE toppers group photo
IES,Civil Engineering Toppers
IES,Civil Engineering Toppers(including myself)

Following are pics of some of  female achievers of IES and GATE. They deserve mention here.

_DSC1251_zpse773b58a _DSC1252_zps5b888e9e _DSC1262_zps775f4d54 _DSC1271_zps747c61c6 book_9_zps5fdc7785 book_23_zps4d65bbf9 book_24_zps9bc8e280 book_54_zps3e83947b DSC_0118_zps0fe10cd3 DSC_0119_zps82e78005

Disclaimer:- I don’t hold copyright for these photograph. Madeeasy Group is the sole owner of these photographs.

IES Examination Format


POINTS TO BE CONSIDERED GENERAL ABILITY OBJECTIVE CONVENTIONAL
MARKS There is only one general ability paper of (100+100) 200 marks There are 2 objective papers of 200 marks each. There are 2 subjective papers of 200 marks each.
No of Question 120 120 in each paper Generally 8 main questions out of which 5 are to be done(each paper)
Day of Exam General Ability paper is held on day 1. Objective 1 and objective 2 papers are held on day 2. Conventional 1 and conventional 2 papers are held on day 3.
Duration 2 hours 2 hours each 3 hours each
Exam Timing 9am-11am 9am -11am and 2pm-4pm 9am-12noon and 2pm-5pm
Difficulty level Easy Moderate Difficult
Type of study required Very Extensive Extensive Intensive
Scoring potential Very High High Average
Source of Study Newspapers, magazines
Madeeasy material and class notes of GS,ncert, vocab notes, grammar book, test series
Standard textbooks,madeeasy materials and class notes, test series Standard textbooks, Madeeasy materials and class notes, test series
Strategy Study it all round the year Mostly objective preparation should be finished upto GATE exam Mostly subjective preparation should be done after GATE exam.
On the day of Examination Water Bottle
Admit Card
Black Ball Point Pen
Lunch
Water Bottle
Calculator
Admit Card
Black Ball Point Pen
Lunch
Water Bottle
Calculator
Admit Card
Blue and Black Pen

IES Objective Preparation


IES examination consists of 2 objective papers on second day.The syllabus is divided into two parts:- Objective paper 1 and Objective Paper 2. You should be thorough with the syllabus of both the papers.

Objective examinations are about speed and accuracy. They test your problem solving skills in very limited time. There are few points you should keep in mind while preparing for objective exam.

1. GATE:-GATE paper is largely similar to IES objective but GATE in more analytical than IES. However you need different strategies to handle these two paper. No. Of questions and their difficulty also vary. GATE is more innovative than IES. UPSC is not very innovative in engineering examinations. Objective exams are scoring but you must have conceptual clarity. GATE is held in January/February, so preparing for GATE definitely helps in IES objective exam. The bottom line is that you can prepare simultaneously for GATE and IES objective.

2. SPEED:-In IES objective paper,there are 120 questions of 200 marks which are to be solved in 2 hour duration. So 1 question per minute should be the rate of solving question. Therefore you should practice objective questions using a watch and sticking to the time. Attempt at least 100 questions. Students are already scoring very good marks in objective papers.Try to maintain speed at the rate of 60 questions per hour. You can’t lower your speed than this else disaster is waiting for you. In one of the paper I could reach up to only 30 questions in one hour so in the next hour i went through 90 question. This is was very risky thing to do. If i had not maintained speed in last hour then you can well imagine the situation. So maintain a steady rate of 60 questions per hour.

3. INSURANCE:-Getting marks in subjective exam is very uncertain but you can be sure of getting every marks in objective exam if you attempt the questions correctly. So here lies the answer to all your worries. Score so well in objective papers that even if you get average marks in subjective exam ,you are pretty safe and still in the race. This is like insurance policy where you get assured returns. If your subjective exam also goes well then your are on the path of being a topper. Always dream of becoming a topper never a qualifier.

5. EXTENSIVE STUDY:-There is a difference between the study pattern when you prepare for objective examination. In subjective study more depth is required but objective papers require wider coverage of the topic. So you have to study extensively for objective and intensively for subjective. Cover almost every topic from far reaches of the books. Don’t leave anything, even study unconventional things.Observe the type of objective questions that are asked from that particular topic. Subjective exam requires practice but objective paper demand a good memory and analytical skills. The more you remember , the better it is. You will have to study from standard textbooks to prepare for objective exam because these demand wider coverage of topic.

Preparation without coaching


There are lots of students who can’t join coaching for IES because of various reasons. These students should not feel left out of race for IES.
It is possible to prepare for IES without coaching also , if you have made up your mind.

There are certain disadvantages if you don’t have proper guidance. You don’t know the syllabus , books to study, materials to refer, and how to manage time . To avoid all this, you should start your preparations very early , if possible from the college time itself.

Now there are certain things to do very seriously if you are going to prepare on your own.

1. Make your own notes
Making notes of each and every topic is very important. It is must, you have to do it. Just studying from books is not enough. Purchase classroom notes of any good coaching institute from photocopy shop near these coaching institutes , they are easily available. If you don’t live in Delhi,  make extra effort and get it arranged somehow. They are your core reference material. Use this as a guide to study and, study the chapters from standard text books.  Now make your own notes , very elaborately,  don’t just copy, make it unique. This will take effort but once you have made your own notes , it will be an asset forever. You can also get postal study material of coaching institute . But use this as a reference only , study from good text books of your subjects for understanding the topics

2. Solve previous years question papers
This is another very much important thing to do for preparation. When you finish any topic, look at previous year question to gauge the extent
Of Your preparation. Don’t leave previous years question for the last moment. Solve it side by side. If you want to do more , then go for IAS mains question papers of your respective subject of last 15 years.  It would be more than sufficient.  You can get these materials in Delhi. So make a visit once , and arrange all that you need.  In delhi , places near coaching centre such as Saket, Hauz Khas,  Ber sarai…..have all the latest material for preparation.

3. Join test series
Please join any good online test series for preparation at the last moment.  Do it seriously throughout. If you are getting good ranks in Madeeasy all India test series then it means you have very high chance of cleaning IES. Most of the people ignore test series just because they fear their performance, but face your failures. There are two ways to join the test series i.e online and offline.  For IES offline test series are good but if it is not possible for you , then join online test series. Once the test series are over , make a quick revision of the questions that you couldn’t solve.

4.Make a diary of mistakes.
Keep records of the the mistakes that you have made in separate diary. Write down what went wrong when u solved the problem, your self criticism and future strategy. We tend to forget our mistakes and repeat again . This is the worst thing to do, I.e repeat your mistakes.  Never repeat your mistakes. If you always make new mistakes, then you are on right path. One day will come , when you will not make any mistakes.

This was for the technical preparation, for general ability I have written a separate blog, which you can check.

Best of luck to all.

Hand written notes are available at places in South Delhi near Made easy centres. You can purchase whole set in one payment. It varies around rs1500-2000
1. Saket
2. Hauz khas
3. Ber Sarai.

I am giving phone no of Hind Photostat
1. Lado sarai – 8130782342
2. Ber Sarai – 9560163471
3. Ignou road ,Saket – 9654353111

After the results


I am writing this post to tell you what happens after you successfully crack Indian Engineering Services.

There are different types of success. If you get exactly what you want then it’s called being successful. However if you don’t get desired outcome then you will  you will do feel successful but with a pinch of frustration. Let’s say that you do wonderful IES, then be prepared to expect pleasantries from people. They will come praising you. These are the same people who would have criticised you ,had you failed. Nevertheless , the news of you becoming IES will spread like wildfire. Most of the people confuse IES with IAS, because their pronunciation
Is almost same. It is annoying to make clear this confusion.  Imagine a situation where people think that you have become IAS but you are not, it is embarrassing situation. But I don’t care about these people who don’t know the difference between IES and IAS.  Both of these services appointment class 1 gazetted officer, however their work profile are different. Their is no difference between status in terms of pay and rank.

After initial feel good period,  the noise subsides but you will become more confident in talking to people.  Then there is a medical examination conducted by railway board all over the country for selected candidates. You can’t prepare much for medical examination but get tested at local clinic. Know you medical status before hand. My story of medical examination is pretty interesting which I will detail later on. Once the medical are over you wait for the results and joining letter. This is going to be the best time of your life. This period between results and joining is full of happiness and joy. I would recommend you to do that which you have always wanted to do. There is no sense of insecurity and you can reflect back on life with contentment. You will feel that all the hard work has been worth doing. You will have no guilt of the past because all is well that ends well. But you should also develop a sense of being an IES , you will have to behave and talk like that. I mean start taking responsibility and show some maturity. Remain ground to earth and don’t be brash for you may ruin all the good will of the people. You may have good knowledge but it takes character to stay at top.

There is one more surprise after the results. The rate of marriage proposals for you will increase exponentially. This itself is lot of fun which your family member will certainly enjoy. Those same girls that you thought difficult to win over , you can now directly talk to their father. He will not think twice before giving his daughter to you. But if you have no such plan, then wait for the proposals to come and select the girl according to your choice. My suggestion is that you should delay marriage as long as you can. Enjoy your life first , adapt to the working conditions and then only think about family.

General Ability


This paper is marks scoring if you have prepared it well. I got 151 out of 200 in this paper. Most of the students neglect this subject and in the end time they ask for suggestions. Let me give you few tips for preparing general ability. If you are going to give IAS exam then you will not face any problem in this subject. However those who have not been preparing for any other exam, they need to start from beginning. Most basic task is to read newspaper daily. I would recommend The Hindu or Indian Express. Reading newspaper has double benefits because it improves English as well as general knowledge. The questions will not be asked directly from newspaper but it is necessary to understand the background of topics. It also helps in improving vocabulary systematically. I can assure you that if you develop the habit of reading newspaper daily then you will be able to score good marks in English. If exam is near, then go for a good English grammar book and learn the rules. However, if upsc introduces any new novelty, then only newspaper practice can help you tide over. You don’t need to remember detailed analysis of topics, just get the basic idea about it. You can make assumptions only if you have idea about the topics. Only remembering mcqs will not do. For general studies,  start with a basic reading of ncert books to understand the concepts. Thereafter you can move to any specific book for a particular subject. Note that questions asked are objective, so understanding is more important than quantity. Lucent GK book is good along with Madeeasy materials. You can purchase other books such as Arihant practice papers etc. But ensure that you have time to do these things. If you are in a emergency, then only go for Madeeasy materials and class notes. Try to solve general studies paper of IAS prelims if you can , because some of the questions are similar. Skip those questions that are not in your syllabus. Understand the nerve of Upsc to crack this exam. Also try to read current affairs magazine, I would recommend magazine by Madeeasy institute. This magazine is prepared selectively for this exam. However if you still have time , you can go for frontline magazine. Reading current affairs also improves your general knowledge. In IES exam , lot of questions come from life sciences and geography. Exhaustively prepare these two topics. Polity is easy and scoring. History is uncertain, they don’t ask much questions from history. Sometimes they ask from economics also. Rest of the topics are miscellaneous. When you solve previous year question paper, observe these things. If you get into the mindset examiner, then it becomes easier to make assumptions. Now let me give few sources from where you can prepare for general ability.

Note- I am recommending madeeasy materials because GS syllabus is huge and one needs to be focused to study only relevant topic. You can go for material of any other coaching institute as well.

History

1. Madeeasy GS material and classmates of history

2. No need to study all NCERT books because its very time consuming and voluminous. However if you want, you can go through NCERT of Modern Indian.

3. Previous year practice paper of IES,CDS and other such exams.

4. Madeeasy question bank.

Going through above sources for history would be more than enough. History is not very marks fetching for GS so if you have less time then focus only on modern India.

GEOGRAPHY

This is very important topic for GS portion. You will have to prepare this topic thoroughly.

1. Madeeasy Material and Class-notes

2. NCERTs of 11th and 12th related to geography . These  books are must.

3. Study of Map and Atlas is very important. Paste a full size map of India and World in your room and look at it daily.

4. Previous year papers of IES,CDS and other such exams.

5. Madeeasy Question Bank.

POLITY

This topic is easy to remember and also marks fetching.

1.  Madeeasy Material and Classnotes

2. NCERTs of 11th and 12th related to polity . These  books are must.

3. D.D Basu or M.laxmikanth as a reference book

4. Previous year papers of IES,CDS ,…..

5. Madeeasy question bank

Life Sciences

IT is also one of the most important section for general studies. Question related to diseases are frequently asked.

1. Madeeasy Material and Class-notes

2. NCERT of 9th and 10th Biology or Crash Course Biology

3. Previous Year papers of IES and CDS

4. Madeeasy question bank

Miscellaneous 

This is a monster. IT covers almost everything left. So how should you go for it. I am suggesting few specific sources of study material for this section.

1. Madeeasy material on this section

2. Mrunal– This is a very famous website in India for preparation of competitive exams. All the materials on this website are not relevant for IES but coverage of topics and ease of understanding are very good. Now , you can also find video lectures of mrunal on this website. This website also deals with currents affairs in detail. So go though this website few times a week.

3. India Year Book- This books is officially released by government of India. So this book would be the most authentic source to look for any Information.

4. Madeeasy magazine for current affairs.- This is a very good magazine. You don’t need to go through any other current affairs magazine after this.

5. General Studies Manual- This should be the last thing you should pick because these books are vast and they may consume your time without any much benefits.

ENGLISH

1. Vocabulary based questions- There are hundred of books in the market including madeeasy material for increasing your vocabulary out of which book by Norman Lewis is good. If you maintain your own vocab notebook then it is the best thing to have. There are also material in the market which produce collection of words appearing in  various newspapers. Then there are practice sheets for antonym and synonym. This section is based on memory. If you have a good memory then you  definitely have the edge. Others can try various memory techniques available on the internet. The whole point is to increase the retention of what you have learnt.

2. Non-Vocab based Question- Let me tell you that if your English good then this is the most marks scoring section. Don’t do any mistake here. Madeeasy material are sufficient to prepare for this section. No need to waste time by going for other sources. Practice previous year question papers of IES and CDS and you are done.

If you score well in General ability exam , then it can save you from defeat if you fare badly in technical subjects. If everything goes well, you will surely get good rank. So don’t neglect this subject, read newspaper and ncert books, you will definitely feel confident.

Bestof luck to all of you