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Interview of Chakresh Mishra,IAS

My IAS interview as it happened on 22th march 2012

Today I appeared for second UPSC interview of my life. Last year was
an average performance for me, hence a scope for improvement was
there. I was the first person to be called by P K Mishra board. I sat
outside the interview room for almost 10 minutes, drank a glass of
water. With heart pumping like anything I decided to think about
Sachin Tendulkar’s century, just like harry potter used to do when he
faced dementors, happy memories, you know. Finally the bell rang and
below is what conspired in next 35 minutes. (cp: chair-person, m1, m2,
m3, m4: members of board)
me: May I come in, sir.
cp: Yes, please come in.
me: Good morning ma’am, good morning sirs.
all: Good morning.
cp: Please take a seat.
me: Thank you sir (adjusted the chair a bit)
cp: Please make sure you are comfortable.
me: Thank you sir, I am comfortable. (smile)
cp: So, you are from Aligarh.
me: No sir, I am from Mathura, Aligarh was my birth place.
cp: Oh, alright. (pause for few seconds) (with big smile) Tell us
something about what is “Norway’s egg on delhi’s face
story” (everybody else laughs)
me: Sir, this was a headline in today’s newspaper. Story is related to
custody of two children in Norway. The parents, who are Indian,
requested Indian government to intervene in the issue as they argued
that it is an issue of culture insensitivity. Govt of India registered
the protest, even sent an special envoy to Norway to resolve the issue
and bring the kids back to India. But now the news report is that the
issue was related to domestic problem of the couple. So, govt has to
retract its intervention. That is why such a headline.
cp: Do you think govt was wrong to intervene?
me: Sir, I think it is proper for govt to intervene for interest of
Indians abroad, but govt should have investigated a bit before getting
involved in the issue.
cp: What was the role of media in this case? Do you think that affects
the decision of govt?
me: Sir, media in general tend to put emphasis on the emotional
content of issue without thinking about rational dimension. I think
sir, govt should be careful and should consider the interest of our
foreign policy. Otherwise such small issue can give rise to bigger
diplomatic crisis, which is not very good for our position in the
cp: Okay, what is this red-cross competition that you won in your
school time? What was involved in that?
me: Sir, it was a state level competition among various schools. I was
part of the team of my school. Competition involved some practical
tests based on the knowledge of primary basic treatment given to
wounded person, tying the knots, preparing stretcher etc.
cp: Who was the founder of red-cross movement?
me: Sir, Henry Dunont from switzerland.
cp: Okay, do you know what is the structure of red-cross at district
me: Sir, i know that there is a committee at state level. But I am not
aware of exact situation at district level. Sir, collector is in-
charge of such operation.
cp: (laugh) Yeah, collector is in-charge of everything, safe bet,
isn’t it so?
me: (smile) Yes sir. He is the co-ordinator of everything
cp: So, What are the major works undertaken by red-cross?
me: Sir, in India or in general?
cp: Tell us first in general then in India.
me: Sir, in general red-cross is UN authorized body to take care of
wounded soldiers in battlefield. It works as a neutral body…
cp: okay, okay, in India now.
me: Sir, in India, red-cross has worked at the time of various wars
like kargil war. It is also active in maoist affected areas.
cp: You are missing a major work done by red-cross.
me: (a bit thinking) Sir, they organize blood donation camps.
cp: That’s alright, but I was pointing towards AIDS camps. They have
done good work in that area.
me: Yes sir, thank you sir.
cp: So, you have written debating as hobby. Do you start to debate
wherever you go? Would you start a debate right here if I provoke you.
(big smile)
me: (smile) No sir, I was part of debating team in my college time.
cp: Did you win any competition?
me: Yes sir, I won prizes in IIT Kanpur and IIT Delhi in inter-college
cultural festivals.
cp: What kind of topics were there when you won those debates?
me: Sir, there used to be many rounds in debate competitions. As I
recall when I was in IITK, there was a topic on the emerging patterns
in electoral politics of UP. This was right after 2007 election in UP.
cp: Can you tell us few trends emerging in recent election without
naming any party or person?
me: Sir, first I would tell about +ve then -ve trends.
cp: Yeah, go ahead.
me: Sir, positive trends are, number one, election are violence free,
they have higher voter turnout. Then sir, people are giving clear
mandate. So the hung assemblies are becoming a thing of past. Then
sir, most important trend is that shift is taking place towards
developmental politics… (interrupts)
cp: So you mean issue like bijli, sadak, paani are main issues now.
me: Yes sir, however the traditional caste politics is still there but
emphasis is shifting. Then sir, negative trends that I could think of,
is related to communalizing the election un-necessarily. There was
also a tendency to confront EC on various issues.
cp: You are from UP, you must know what is social engineering?
me: Sir, social engineering is a political concept where political
parties try to form a coalition of social groups based on caste or
religion and then use that as a vote bank.
cp: Alright (points to next lady member)
m1: Tell me name of any musician from south India?
me: A R Rehmaan, ma’am
m1: Right. Anyone older?
me: M S Subbalaxmi, but she is more famous as singer.
m1: Chakresh, why is kannauj famous in modern time?
me: Ma’am, Kannuaj is famous for ittra industry.
m1: Tell me the detail of this industry? Is it being exported?
me: Ma’am ittra is made in kannauj from the locally produced rose,
chameli and other such flowers. Factories for this are located in
every street of kannauj. Then the products are exported, mostly to
middle east and south-east asian countries. The local consumption is
very small, if I recall it correctly.
m1: What are the main problems of this industry these days?
me: Ma’am, most important problem is related to the marketing and
competition from products of other countries. In today’s globalized
world this industry is not able to compete properly. In Kannuaj, the
technology used is still very old and there is no organized efforts to
increase the sell of ittra.
m1: Can govt do something to face this situation?
me: Ma’am, govt can provide basic infrastructure and can take care of
supply chain. It can provide training for latest technology. Other
than that, in today’s competition based economy, survival in dependent
on market mechanisms only.
m1: Do you know anything about co-operative moment in India? Tell us
whether it is successful or a failure?
me: Ma’am, this movement started at the time of national struggle for
freedom. Co-operatives are formed by forming a group of small scale
producers, farmers etc. They were very much popular in 70s and 80s,
but now the influence of these co-operatives is reducing. One famous
example of co-operative is Amul.
m1: So, what is the main difference in a company and co-operative?
me: Ma’am co-operative is formed by a community and profit is shared
among members. While company is profit oriented organization. Co-
operatives are mostly in rural areas, while companies are urban
centered… (interrupts)
m1: co-operatives are in cities also.
me: Yes ma’am, but mostly in rural areas.
m1: Okay, How do they work?
me: Ma’am companies have a board of directors and CEO as its head. Co-
operative are a mutual election based organization. I do not know much
details about this ma’am.
m1: Okay, how are they formed?
me: Sorry ma’am, I do not understand the question.
m1: I mean, under which act?
me: Companies are formed under company act and co-operative under co-
operative act (smile)
m1: Good guess, was it a guess? (smile)
me: No ma’am (smile)
m2: Which country in Africa is famous for its co-operative movement?
me: Sorry sir, I don’t know, but I can take a guess.
m2: Yeah yeah go ahead.
me: I recall faintly, It is Kenya.
m2: (laughs loudly) nahi, galat zabab, it is Tanzania.
me: Thank you sir (smile)
m2: What is the full form of NHRC?
me: sir, National Human rights Commission.
m2: Who is the chairman?
me: ex-CJI K G Balakrishnan.
m2: Okay chakresh, you must have read about nuclear disaster in japan.
So do you know any nuclear summit taking place on this issue?
me: sir, I know there is a international meeting, but i don’t remember
the details of this meeting.
m2: Actually it is taking place in this month itself and our PM is
also going there. What in your opinion would be the most burning topic
in this meeting in context of japan incident?
me: Sir, right now major issue is the security of nuclear reactors
from the natural disasters and terrorist activities. There is a
growing fear in public worldwide about the security. I think, the
strategy to face this challenge would be the major issue in any such
m2: Go on. How to remove these fears from mind of people?
me: Sir, in my opinion, people must be made aware of the technical
details of such reactors. New cutting edge technologies should be
imported in developing country like India so that our reactors can be
made with best security features in the world. Then the publicizing
these security measures can remove fear from people’s mind.
m2: Good, have you heard about 2G scam?
me: Yes sir, It was a scam … (interrupts)
m2: Wait wait, have you read anything similar in today’s newspaper?
me: Yes sir, there is a news report about allocation of coal fields to
private and public companies without following the proper procedure.
CAG has estimated a loss of more than 10 lac crores. But I think sir,
it would be pre-mature to comment on this issue without reading
further about the issue.
m2: That’s alright.
m3: You have mentioned that you worked for tsunami relief fund in your
college days.
me: Yes ma’am.
m3: What could be done in the field of disaster management in our
me: Ma’am, disaster management involves four steps, mitigation,
preparedness, response and rehabilitation. The most loss of life
occurs due to lack of pre-warning system and the diseases in aftermath
of disaster…(interrupts)
m3: Okay, lets go one by one. What should be done for preparedness?
me: Ma’am we can face such disasters better if we follow certain steps
such as installing pre-warning systems in case of tsunami, earthquake,
floods. General public can be trained for such disasters by mock
drills similar to one in delhi few weeks back. Then a important point
is to establish the alternate, more secure mode of communication from
districts to central national disaster management authority. Training
special task force to face such disaster is also a good step.
m3: Okay, what is mitigation?
me: Ma’am mitigation is process by which we try to avert a natural
disaster even before it takes place. Like banking of rivers, coastal
area management to avert the effect of tsunami.
m3: Okay, so what is the difference in leadership at the time of
disaster and normal time?
me: As in public administration theories ma’am, at the time of
disaster leadership should be centralized and top-down, while in
normal times it should be participative and bottom-up.
m3: Why centralized?
me: Ma’am at the time of crisis, time is most important factor and
there is a need of quick decision making. This can be done in
centralized leadership only.
m3: Hmmm, okay tell me what is difference between aptitude and
me: May I think a bit ma’am.
m3: Yeah sure sure.
me: (5-10 sec pause) ma’am aptitude is the technical and educational
suitability of a person for a job and attitude is the trait of
personality, which we showcase towards others in any normal condition.
I am not sure ma’am how this definition match to the psychological
definition (smile)
m3: (smile) no no, its quite close. Attitude is this only, but
definition of aptitude is wrong.
me: May I try again ma’am?
m3: No, its alright (points to m4)
m4: What is CNG?
me: Sir, CNG is compressed natural gas, it is used as fuel in
m4: Is it better than others?
me: Sir, it is better in terms of pollution but it can be used for
short distance only. So it is good for metropolitan cities as Delhi
because distances are small here, but not so good for longer travel.
m4: What are the other fuels used in transportation.
me: Sir, other than CNG, petrol, diesel, coal, organic fuels are used.
Now a days new technologies are coming with use of hydrogen and
electricity also. Some vehicles use LPG cylinders also.
m4: What is the main gases in pollution?
me: Sir, pollution is caused by oxides of nitrogen, sulfur, carbon
particles, ozone
m4: Ozone!
me: Sir, there is nascent oxygen present in pollutants which forms
m4: So, do you think Delhi is very polluted?
me: Sir, Delhi has high level of pollution compare to other cities in
world. But level of pollution has come down after metro and use of
m4: How many percentages of pollution is caused by transportation
me: Sir, I don’t know the exact figure, but I read an estimate in
newspaper that it should be around 15%.
m4: Hmmm, may be in rural areas, but in cities it is around 25%.
me: Thank you sir.
m4: So, tell me few factors that cause air pollution and few for water
me: Sir, air pollution is caused by traffic, industrial units, rice
cultivation. Water pollution is caused by industrial waste, dead
bodies in rivers, fertilizers etc.
m4: Okay, what is water harvesting?
me: Sir, rain water harvesting?
m4: Yes yes, the same.
me: Rain water harvesting is a method of collecting water locally for
use in irrigation and drinking etc.
m4: (smile) what you mean by locally?
me: Sir, rain water is collected in reservoirs or tanks locally before
it can go to the river. Then it is used locally
m4: Okay, water level is going down in whole of our country, do you
me: Yes sir.
m4: Why?
me: Sir, main reason is the excessive use or wastage of water in daily
activities. Then there is lack of proper management of rain water…
m4: Alright, good good, you are from UP?
me: Yes sir.
m4: okay, have a nice day. That’s it from my side.
me: Thank you sir, nice day.
cp: (with a cunning smile) Okay chakresh, answer my last question then
you can go. Who was the most famous king of Kannauj?
me: (smile) Sir, king Harsha Vardhan
cp: (smile) Okay, interview is over, you may leave now.
me: Thank you sirs, Thank you ma’am.
Candidate : Anju RK done with my interview too...was the 2nd one..and ws
interview by Prof. Purushottam Agarwal's board. It was a very cordial
affair. Bsids the chairman, there was 1 lady member and 3 male
members. I'm not 2 sure of th time it took, but must have been around
20-25 mins. I do not remmber all my answers,but I could share th ques
with u.
First a brief biodata:
-from kerala
-did schooling abroad(in Bahrain to be exact)
-Btech in ECE in NIT,Calicut
After all the formalities were over,and after they hurriedly asked me
to take a seat.
C:So, you graduated in 2010. what have you been doing for the last 2
A:I was preparing for the civil services sir.
C: So I hope you have been keeping yourself updated. What do you know
about the recent NCTC contrversy.
A: (told the whole story bout coordinating intelligence,and oppn sayin
ut violates federal structure.)
C:OK,so do you think we are a federal nation. Are we tilted too
heavily to the centre.
A: (i sed something bout the centre having 2 take a strong stand in
case the issue concerns national security, and bout the states and
other stakeholders taken on board in case it is a matter which
concerns the states. he seemed satisfied. He asked a quick question on
the sch 7 n the 3 lists. amd then passd 2 the next member)
M1:So do you have any role models from the political leaders of our
long history.
A: I admire certain char of some of the leaders,but no role model in
M1k who r some of them then?
A: said about Gandhiji(and about his values like honesty,his
leadership skill to mobilise the nation,and nonviolence to the extent
possible) as well as EMS Namboothiripad(kerala's 1st cm,who was
communist and led many labour and land reforms)
C: Since you talked about EMS, what is nokkukooli?
A: (mallus wud b the only ones who need kno this,and im sure they
would. its 'looking wages' and i tried 2 explain it in the subtlest
possibl way!)
M2: Since you are an engg student please tell me why did the 2g scam
occur at all.?
A: (told bout the FCFS and auctioning etc. and the change in th
policies since it was realised 2 be a very scarce resource and should
be auctiond)
M2k,im a layman. explain spectrum 2 me in plain english.
A: (it was a lil diff....i didn think i answered proprly,but he went
on 2 th next q)
M2:how are thes diff operators allocated spectrum
A: (from what i have read, it had sumthn 2 do with the 2g being in
900/1800 MHz range with a bandwidth of around 100MHz...and they r
given the spectrum in bundles within this bandwidth.....i hope im
rite...he didn argue anyway!)
M3(lady member): so since you were abroad 4 so long wat is the basic
diff u find b/w wat u have learnt there and ur cousins here.
A: (talked bout teaching being more or less the same since im also
cbse. talked bout bahrain having better infrastructure facilities. and
sed that the basic diff was tht v were taught 2 be indians first, and
were brought up wid no discrimination of gender,caste,race
etc......they all agreed on tht 1 an nodded)
M3:so will you work in other states...even NE?
A:Sure i will
M3:what do you think must be done to make NE ppl feel less alienated.
A: (talked bout topography being main issue...need to step up
road,rail,air links....provide economic security and political
M3: even if they say they want independence.
A: (said tht they r also an integral part of india.just as other
states' issues find favour with the centre, their probs must also be
brought into th limelight in the centre.)
M3: yes thts true. also we can bring in more ppl 2 interact.
A: (told bout increasing tourism in th area. refered 2 th various ads
being seen these days)
M4:Recently Arab spring was spread 2 Bahrain as well. why did it
A: (talked bout religious sectarian discrimination.he asked me
specificaly, so i said bout shia majority-sunni rulers.then contined
talkin bout unemployment and slow pace of democratization.he was
constantly interuptin and askin me details bout each point and i
M3: and what is being done now?the ruler is al faleh isnt it.
A: (told bout various reforms by the king shaikh hamad bin isa al
C: OK Thank you.
A: thank you sir. thank you ma'm thank you sirs. finished pretty fast,and wasnt asked 2 many confusing things
hope they were happy wid it!
all th best guys!
Candidate: abhikrt
Hmm , pheww done with interview.
Mine board was I.M.G Khan and i was 4th person to be interviewed. I
was taken to interview room and before i knew i was in front of panel.
I almost forget to wish the panel and was asked to take the seat.
After some basicinquiry about my form (there were some discrepancies)
interview started.
Questions were started by lady member.
M1 - IP rights act in field of agriculture.
Me - Seeds act ,
M1 - Close but still think about it.
Me (after some thinking) - Sorry mam, i cant remember.
M1 - Told about some protection of traditional knowledge of farmers
and asked me if i knew of that.
Me - I kept on nodding and told about protection of traditional
knowledge of farmers about seeds, farmingtechniques.
M1 - IP regime favorable to India ?
Me - (2 mins of extempore)
M1 - IP regime in medicine ?
Me - (Again 2 mins of extempore)
Passed to M2
M2 - Asked about LTTE ?
Me - LTTE as of now is defeated and dont exist.
Passed to third member
M3 - Asked about FDI in retail, supply chain management and in the end
if i will still favor ?
Me - Said benefitable to farmer, will eliminate intermediaries in
supply chain and problem of monopoly, should ensure competition. And
in the end said i will like to prefer farmers over intermediaries. (He
insisted on making a choice).
amit kumar - Mar 20
interview questions this year..
interview 2012..
I M G Khan board
questions asked ----
1. are we treating children badly in our society.. opinions.
( context- Falak)
2. what did u read in english literature that u later on also found in
political science?
3. implication of economic relations in international relations?
4. role of wto in international relations?
5.anti defection law- implications?
6. is india a case of democracy or oligopoly?
7. what is oligopoly?
8.why did u opt art stream as u had done ur 12th with splendid marks
in science stream :)
9. news paper reading hobby.. well, " budget this year came with a
whisper not with a bang" do u agree.. give reasons?
10. what was in the budget that disappointed you?
11. bipolarity, multi polarity, uni polarity in international
12. present world order..?
13. india's role in it?
14. what is RTE?
15. well u r in customs,excise.. tell us changing trends in customs
and excise over the years?
16. what is the rationale behind service tax, how would u convince
layman about service tax as u urself are a tax man?
17. what is better - GDP growth rate or Equitable distribution, why?
1-2 questions miss ho rahe hai.. yaad nahi aa rahe.
Vijay Singh Board: 19th march , first person in afternoon session.
1.      M1-You like watching television, what you watch on tv?2.
M1-What is your current source of information, if you don’t watch TV?
3.      M1-What sites you browse on internet?4.      M1- who you will
rate as the number 1 civil engineer? 5.      M2- how will your
knowledge of civil engineering will help you as an administrator?
6.      M2-what is your opinion on interlinking of river project?
7.      M2-We can protect environment if we guide it along the road?
8.      M2- Who is the professor at IIT Delhi who teaches meditation?
9.      M2- What is the difference between the type of yoga taught by
patanjali and those taught by ramdev & ravishankar?10.   M3-what type
of education system should we have in India? 11.   M3- do you like
reading books?12.   M3-which one was the last book you read .
13. M3-what is the name of the main protagonist?14. M3-what you learn
from his character?15. M4-tell about any one good project you did as
an NSS Secretary?16. M4- was there no map of campus from before? 17.
M4-what is spic macay? 18. M4-what is the name of IIT delhi prof who
heads it?19. M5- what is there in the budget this time? 20. M5- Is
service going to affect poor, how?21. M4-what qualities of
Visvesvaraya should an administrator have?22. M1- have you been to
Bihar recently?23. M1- what change you see in Bihar?24. M1-what about
roads?25. M1- do you believe that if political will is there
transformation can be brought about in a very short span of time? 26.
M1- what lesson does it have for the people?
xyz . - Mar 22
 Socha na tha!!!!:
PLS share ur experience with us if possible ...thks
These are the questions that I was asked - (My background - Mech Engg,
currently a scientist in Ministry of New and Renewable Energy,
optionals - Pub Admn and socio)What is your name?
You are from Delhi?
What is Bernoulli's Theorem?
What is "new" in new and renewable energy?
What are the different parliamentary committees?
What are the different ways in which parliament can hold the executive
What is "cut motion"?
What is traditional medicine and what policy steps do you envisage so
as to promote and strenghten this sector?
How can traditional medicine be of economic importance?
IP related issues with traditional medicine? What do you propose?
Why has solar energy not picked up in India and Africa in all these
What is the money required for setting up solar plants?
What is the area requirement for setting up solar plants?
what do you know about BRICS ?
When and where is the BRICS summit scheduled to be held?
What interdependence do you see in the process of automobile and
textile industry?
What do you understand by culture?
what is wider culture?
What do you know about M.N. Srinivas?
What do you understand by westernization and sanskritization?
Which states have a high wind power potential?
What are the problems faced while connecting wind power to grid?
Why are solar pumps not being used for pumping underground water in
rural areas?
What is fuel cell technology? What are the by products?
What are the efficiencies of solar plants and how do you envisage the
future scenario to be?
Situational question - there is a sincere and erudite CEO who is very
hard working but is unable to avoid the failure of the company. There
is a cunning CEO who is corrupt and practical and brings success for
the company and himself. The first is fired and second is rewarded -
Do you agree with the management's decision? What would you do?
Abhishek Yadav - 6:01 PM
My Interview - 23.03.2012
K.K. Paul Board
(2nd to go in)
The Board was very cordial, and contrary to what I have read or heard
about KK Paul, I found him to be a nice guy. No grilling, but yes, no
smiling either :). As you would see below, I found that quite a lot of
it, stemmed from my bio-data and very few were absolutely un-related
to me personally in some way.
My Background
Electrical Engineer (2008)
Hobbies: Watching movies (fiction), Reading books (fiction)
Extra-Curricular: Chief Coordinator of the Literary Society..
K.K. Paul
1. You are an electrical engineer. What is Plant Load Factor and what
is efficiency of a power plant.
2. If efficiency is ultimately the only thing that matters, what is
the use of Plant Load Factor.
3. You are from Our Lady of Fatima Secondary School, what is this Our
lady of Fatima...
4. You have the hobby of watching movies, fiction? What is this
fiction. Aren't all movies fiction.
5. What kinds of books do you read. (Science fiction).
6. Favorite author.
7. There was a movie in 1966-67, a very famous one, a book had also
been written on it. What was it? (2001: A Space Odyssey - though I
didnt know it and Paul Sir told the name).
8. Who was the author of the book.  (After I said that yes, I know
about the book and the movie and that infact, the book had been
written after the movie).
9. Where did the author live. (Since, despite being an British, he
lived in Sri Lanka).
10. You graduated in 2008, are you working somewhere. (Since working
as Income Tax Inspector)
1. Why is your tie red?
2. No no, I mean, why is it looking red? (Since, I had misunderstood
and said that I felt it would suit my shirt).
3. Why do we use red color as a warning sign?
4. What do you think is the difference between Indians in India and
Indians in America.
5. What is the difference between Red Indians and Indians.
6. Who settled America. (which people that is)...
1. What is free press.
2. In light of the clarification in the papers today regarding CAG and
the coalfields issue, how do you see the freedom of press.
3. Shouldn't we do something about the sensationalising of news...
4. But the Press Council isn't doing anything. (Since I had mentioned
5. Give me an example of his activism (Since I had talked about the
acitivism of Markandey Katju).
6. We find that kids in smaller classes, have these events like story
telling, drawing etc etc. Does it serve any purpose.
7. What did you do as the CC of your literary society.
1. We have so much atmospheric pollution nowadays from thermal power
plants, what are we doing to curb it.
2. Where is this Coal Gassification being done. (Since I had mentioned
the technology)
3. Are we doing anything on the Waste treatment front.
4. What about Solar. (Since I mentioned Renewable but didnt expand).
1. You mentioned solar energy. What mission do we have for it.
2. What incentives is the govt. giving for them.
3. Do you know about Renewable Energy Certificates (Since I had said
that I am unable to recall the specific provisions).
4. It is said, " The Sun is still clouded when it comes to the solar
industry" - What does this mean.
5. You said, you like Sci-fi books. Name some indian authors on Sci-
6. I am not talking about movies. (Since I had mentioned Satyajit Ray.
Thank God, M2 said that he did write sci-fi books as well, or M4 might
not have believed me :P)
KK Paul
1. Ok, one last question. Who was the director of 2001: A Space
2. Any other film he made (after I named the director)
3. What happened to that movie (A Clocwork Orange)

Interview of Chakresh Mishra,IAS
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