Bipasha Kalita, the 41st Rank holder in UPSC from Assam is starting a Facebook page for the Civil Services aspirants of Assam so it may help them to crack the exam like she did.
Question- Tell us something about your schooling and college?
Answer- I am from Guwahati. I did my schooling from Holy Child School and then I pursued Arts for my Senior Secondary Education from Faculty Higher Secondary School as I wanted to shift to CBSE. After that, I came to Delhi as I developed an interest in Economics in my 11th and 12th Standard. I personally like the subject; therefore I decided that I will pursue B.A. honors in Economics and completed my graduation from Hansraj College. After that, I did my Masters, MA in Economics from Christ University in Bangalore.
Question- Was UPSC always your dream or did it develop with time?
Answer- No I did not think of being an IAS officer as a child, because as a child we don’t have the understanding of what the civil service is all about. But I think I and my sister were lucky as our father was in the civil services and that is why we were very fortunate that we could witness the work of a civil servant closely. We were very motivated by the kind of work our father was doing, and eventually when I grew up, when I had to choose a career path, my interest developed in the civil service. I saw that civil service is a big platform as it gives you immense opportunity to work for the society. Then I decided to pursue civil services. I studied arts in my 11th and 12th because I wanted to pursue civil services. Hence I choose Economics too in my graduation as I thought it shall in some way or the other help me.
Question- Is it hard to prepare for civil services from Assam or staying in Guwahati as most aspirants say less resources and materials are available here in the state?
Answer- Nowadays, the trend is changing. Some years back, coaching institutes in Delhi were very prominent and many students would come to Delhi. But nowadays, some voluntary initiatives are taken by some individuals in Northeast for guidance which is very much helpful. We need more such initiatives in the future. Coaching institutes in Delhi are expensive so it might not be possible for everybody to afford these coaching institutes. Innovative initiatives where people are voluntarily coming to help the aspirants of NE are coming up. Also, I would like to add that internet is another helpful source. There are many online platforms and mentors who guide the aspirants. But again the aspirants have to be extremely careful when they choose these online courses. But if they can choose one or two portals some of the courses can be very helpful. So, I don’t say that now it is essential to come to Delhi. I think the students can stay in NE and Assam and prepare for Civil services. It is very much possible that way.
Question- How any attempts did you go for? How do you keep yourself motivated for repeated attempts?
Answers- This was my fourth attempt. See civil service exam is one journey where you might not succeed in the first attempt. I myself failed in the first, second and third attempt. This was my fourth attempt where I managed to get a decent rank. So, of course it is very challenging to keep ourselves motivated. What you can do is you can take a break. At times go out with your friends go out with your family which will help you be relaxed. Also, what you should do is you should not overburden yourself. Because you know when a candidate does not qualify in the second attempt, third attempt the person gets very much stressed. So the pressure has to be avoided. How can you avoid that pressure? Probably you can go out a little; you can mingle with relatives and friends. Don’t lock yourself up in the room. You need to socialize with your friends. That helps you revitalize and reenergize. At times people lock themselves up in a room and they don’t go out at all. They are always surrounded by books. But that is not a healthy way of preparation and it builds up lots of frustration. I would suggest: be in a happy state of mind. We need to enjoy the process. Many people take pressure themselves and don’t sit for preparation in a happy state of mind. So, I always emphasize that you need to be in a happy state of mind and you need to be positive. Because unless and until you believe in yourself you won’t succeed. You should go out but at the same time one should not get distracted. One or two breaks in a month are ok, but then eventually you have to come back and start your preparation. And I also read a lot of motivational quotes and I used to paste it on the wall. Knowingly or unknowingly it really helps you release your frustration. So that works for me.
Question- How did you balance your work and preparations as you have been posted under state services before the personal interview?
Answer- I am from the latest batch of Assam Civil Services. So, only after my mains UPSC exams, I was posted under the state services. Yes I appeared for the interview while being in the services. So, I had to manage along with my job for my preparations for the Interview. Then I took a few days leave and prepared thoroughly for the interview. But it is not too difficult to properly balance my job demands and my interview preparations.
Question- Do you have any vision as an IAS officer you would like to share?
Answer- When I choose Civil Services as my career option; I had a lot of things in my mind that I will work for the society. I will do this, I will do that. So, that was the idea when I was small. But as in when I grew up this thought developed into something more constructive and something more thoughtful. So, my intention is that whichever service I get, and wherever I am posted I will try my best to help every person. Civil Service is a platform which gives you immense opportunity to help the people. And helping people can be in different ways. So, my idea is to contribute most and reach out to the people who are needy. Secondly, I want to contribute to the good governance of the country, since we are working towards making government and administration more accountable and more transparent and we are trying to focus on that administrative people are easily approachable and people friendly. Also, I want to ensure that the public and administration interface is smooth. Because many a times it is seen that an individual who has got problems cannot approach the officers easily. So, I want to ensure that we the officers are easily accessible to the people so that they can directly come to us which will help us bring more meaningful solutions. That is my overall vision.
Question- Any advice for the aspirants of UPSC from Assam or NE for?
Answer- I would like to help the aspirants of UPSC from my region. Recently I have started a facebook page Gradient-IAS where I will start posting the book lists, my strategies, which topics I emphasized on. I will continue sharing these on my page. I have started this voluntarily because I want to help the aspirants from NE. What I have realized is that for the people from the awareness has to increase and also there is not much good guidance. Not many mentors where students can be guided. There are candidates in NE who cannot afford coaching in Delhi. So my page will be to reach out those candidates on how to go about the preparations. So, that’s why I have started this page both for APSC and UPSC.