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IAS Topper 2015 Siddharth Jain says Current Affairs is very important for IAS Preparation

Jagran Josh

Siddhartha Jain, a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Roorkee made it to the final list of Civil Services Exam 2015. His father is a CA and Mother, a home maker. He got the 13th rank in his 2nd attempt and he is very keen to join the services. He firmly believes that the “honesty is the best policy”. He attributes the credit of his success to family and friends. In talks with, he highlighted the important points of his IAS Exam Preparation. How do you feel after getting success in IAS Exam 2015?

Siddhartha Jain: Feeling nice. If you are doing hard work for a long time and get the result then the feeling of such moment is different and right now I am feeling the same. Whom would you like to thank for your success in the IAS Exam and why?

Siddhartha Jain: First of all I would like to thank my family- my parents, grandparents and the whole extended family of mine. They have supported me a lot. My friends have provided me technical support, educational support and some kind of psychological support also. We had been doing group study. So, I would like to thank my family and friends too.

Trending Now Please tell us about your Family and Educational background.

Siddhartha Jain: My educational background- I am from IIT Roorkee. I have done my graduation in Mechanical Engineering in 2014. My father is a Chartered Accountant, my mother is a housewife and my sister is also preparing for CA. When did you chose to become a Civil Servant and why?

Siddhartha Jain: This was not my childhood dream. During the third year of my Graduation degree, the idea of doing something for the society came in to my mind. We use to read newspapers, discuss social issues along with the peer group of mine. Then I felt that we should make some change in our society and hence I have decided to pursue this field. Please tell us about your Previous Selection in Civil Services.

Siddhartha Jain: This was my second attempt. Before this, in this same year only I got selected in Indian Forest Services and got the same rank. The problem I faced in last attempt was my Essay Writing, in which I was given very less marks and this time I have improved in that section by which I got very good rank. What motivated you to reappear in the Civil Services Exam?

Siddhartha Jain: Actually, the first attempt generally makes you aware of your weak areas. The major motivation was from my family side and they compelled me to appear for the second time. Secondly, when I saw my mark sheet then I realized that I have scored well in all the papers except in one. Then I thought I will go for another attempt. What will be your priorities after becoming an IAS?

Siddhartha Jain: I don’t consider any priority from the beginning because it depends on the state in which I will be posted. If I posted in Gujarat, if I posted in Jharkhand then the priorities must be different from others but for example my first preference is Haryana then priority in Haryana will be- initially social priority i.e., the problem of sex ratio. Secondly, the prevailing agriculture crisis which could be possible in future, the table of ground water is going down gradually there. These two priorities will be there in Haryana but it depends on state to state. Please tell us about your hobbies and interests.

Siddhartha Jain: I include sports and meditation in my hobbies and interest. In sports, I play almost all types of games from the very beginning and I used to play 1-2 hours daily even during my preparation I used to do exercise. In meditation, I use to do practice Vipasna meditation. I have done course of 10 days in this meditation and I regularly practice this meditation daily. Do you think examination is more analysis oriented now rather than fact oriented?

Siddhartha Jain: I definitely believe so, that the analysis has given more stress. Along with analysis, your thinking skills- how do you develop your thought process, have given more stress even not only in Mains but in interview. Even in interview, if you don’t know the question factually in interview also then analyze in front of them and they will appreciate that thing. So, the focus has been shifted to analysis after the pattern change. Is joining coaching Institute indispensable for clearing the IAS Exam?

Siddhartha Jain: I won’t say it is indispensable but it can help, it depends person to person. For example like lot of people who started the preparation alone and they don’t have any guidance than at that time coaching institutes helps such people. But I would say, no. There are lots of online study materials or resources available, so, it depends on person to person, and if someone has the will power then they can clear the exam without joining coaching. Did you use Internet? How helpful was it?

Siddhartha Jain: Internet helped a lot in fact not only to me everyone use to of it because if you read anything then, to analyze the topic from different angles you have to go through internet and the internet helps a lot in this. Yes, I used internet a lot. Which resource is most relevant to update the day to day knowledge as well as the backgrounds of events and How?

Siddhartha Jain: First of all I would like to say that when you read an article in a newspaper then you should have several questions in your mind like why this article has been published, for example the news of ASFPA has been published, so, you should have a question in your mind that why the news of ASPFA is coming. Secondly, you should enquire about the legal, constitutional, value based backing. Like if there is ASPFA then what are the legal backings behind this and what are the basic Provisions of ASPFA due to which it came into the news. After that one thing should have come into your mind that what improve you can do into this. The fourth questions should come into your mind that is when such disturbed area came into notice in a foreign country then how they deal it. So, these questions should come into your mind when you are reading an article in a newspaper, so that you can analyze from every angles.

Secondly, coming to note making: I would suggest more strictly that note making is very-very important in this paper. If you can make soft notes that is the best because it is easy to update but few people does not feel comfortable with soft notes.  I used to make hard notes. If you are doing proper indexing of hard notes then it will be very easy while revising. So, note making is very important and analysis of any articles from all the angles is very important. What type of mindset the candidates should keep handling the evolving pattern of IAS Examination?

Siddhartha Jain: First of all, I think mental stability and calmness is very important because when your mind is calm then your mind will be more receptive towards others’ point of views.

Secondly, our mindset should be very dedicated. We should have strong will power. We never should go with the mindset that you can fool him by writing point that are not very relevant. So, we should always believe in the wisdom of the examiner. So, basically, we should go with the same mindset- will power, the one who is checking the paper is equally more intelligent than us. We should be calm and receptive towards other’s point of views. Please enumerate the Dos and Don’ts for the preparation of IAS Examination?

Siddhartha Jain: First come to the DOs: I will suggest- be consistent, be dedicated and prepare in the right direction i.e. very important because sometimes we use to deviate much from our right direction. So, right direction is very important.

Secondly, choose a right optional, because of inappropriate optional, lot of aspirants failed to clear the exam every year.

Thirdly, practice answers writing. Basically, you will do answers writing in your paper. So, practice your answer writing.

Fourthly, from the Day 1, just prepare like you will also face an interview. Lot of times we only do study and forget to focus on our speaking skills. So, it is necessary to improve our speaking skills.

Another point is- your vocabulary and English flow should be very good. Whatever language you choose- English or Hindi that should be very good because it makes difference.

Coming to the DON’Ts:

Do not follow lot of resources. Stick to 1 or 2 resources only and keep analysing in various dimensions as I suggested before. Do you think a good understanding of Current Affairs play an important role in the IAS Exam?

Siddhartha Jain: Current Affairs is very important for IAS Exam Preparation. In every paper from Essay till the stage of interview, the Current Affairs will play major role even in Prelims. I would like to make you understand this through an example; GS Paper I in which we feel that the subjects like History, Geography are very static subjects but it is not so. Generally they ask questions in these sections by keeping the issues of Current Affairs in the mind. For Example, like one asked perhaps in 2014 was that, ‘how does Indus Valley Civilisation give inputs for present civilisation? So, the aspirants correlated it with the Smart City that How Indus valley Civilisation will help in present civilisation. You can see how the history plays role with the Current Affairs.

Now, come to the Geography: There was one question this year (2015) that why the pollution is more in Delhi but it is less in Mumbai and Bangalore? So, pollution was an issue and it is asked in the Geography section then you have to correlate it with the Geography like in those regions rainfall is a usual phenomena and lot of other factors also responsible for less pollution in those cities. So, you can see they related everything with Current Affairs. For example, this time there was 125th anniversary of B. R. Ambedkar and aspirants are predicting question to be asked on it. The thing is that there is wide coverage of everything and you have to correlate everything with the Current Affairs so that at least you should know that which type of questions could be asked and for that Current Affairs is very important.

Nowadays, Africa is in News and now it is in emerging continent. Last year, there was a question- resources in Africa and what are the roles of India in it. This is also related with Current Affairs. So, we have seen GS I which we consider very static topic but it is very much related to Current Affairs.

Coming to GS II: There was a question asked related to Uniform Civil Code. You can remember that there was very much debate on this topic and it was too aired on Rajya Sabha TV. So, how you correlate it with the Current Affairs- Article 44 tells about the Uniform Civil Code. So, you can notice that how they ask questions by merging the static and dynamic part of various subjects.

There was questions asked in Cricket Diplomacy, one on Diwali- Right to Environment and Diwali was merged in the question. The question was like ‘is the banning of firecrackers leads eroding the Right to Environment’. There was a Supreme Court judgement on Diwali perhaps in the month of October. I think it banned the use of crackers. So, you can see here again that how the Current Affairs helped in each and every question.

Coming to GS III: Questions asked on GST, Special Economic Zones- now again Current Affairs.

Now, coming to Ethics, Paper IV:

Again, I will show you that how Current Affairs related questions have been asked in this paper too. There was a question on migration last year based on case study. The rural-urban migration is happening is at large in our country and they made a case study on it. There was one more case study on sustainable development. It was of 2014 in a company is in the path of developing than should it focus on economic or economies or on environment.

The sustainable development was coming regularly in news and they put it on case study. If there is anything happening like that and like anywhere a mob-incident happened then there is the possibility of asking questions based on that how you handle that incident. The Mid-day meal scheme, like due to some carelessness adopted in the schemes lots of deaths happened in one of the state. There was one case study was asked indirectly based on the Mid-day meal scheme that you are a Sarpanch and how will you handle this situation.

So, each and every paper will have questions from Current Affairs only with a tinge of some static apart. You have to correlate each and every topic with Current Affairs. India is increasing power now, so, the Essay was “dreams that should not let India sleep”. This was an apt topic in terms of present Current Affairs. Coming to interview, here, maximum questions will be related with Current Affairs. So, any resource which you find best among the available resources, follow the resource which suits you the most. What suggestion would you like to give to the Civil Services Exam aspirants?

Siddhartha Jain: My first suggestion is – kindly make sure in your mind that why you want to be a Civil Servant? What are the purposes of going into the Civil Services? Generally, our parents told to do us, sometimes we want to do it because of our friends are doing…if really there is something like this then your motivation will be very weak. In this service, if you have to strongly determine for this your motivation should come from your inner self. So, it should be clear in your mind that why you want to do it?

My second suggestion is - choose your optional very wisely because it is very important. Lot of people do study for long time and they chose wrong optional. However, there are no optional which is wrong or right bit it has to suit your personality in which you score well, choose that optional.

Do smart study if possible. You should own only a smart technology, that smart technology should not own you. So, you should use smart technology in a judicious way.

Fourthly, do group study if possible, if you find a group then it is very good otherwise lot of resources available online from which you can gain confidence, do that. Put yourself in a Examination like condition when you are preparing then appear in lot of tests and appear in tests in such a way so that you can train your mind. These are my general suggestions which the Civil Services aspirant should do.

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