Pulkit Garg- Toppers strategy (AIR 27 2015)


Attempts – Second attempt (Rank 490, CSE 2014)


PAPER 1 – 115.34
PAPER 2 – 176.38

Mains and Interview marks-

OPTIONAL 1 – 136
OPTIONAL 2 – 102

Optional subject: CHEMISTRY

MAINS Total–773  + Interview–190  => Final–963

Rank – 27

Daily routine for UPSC preparation

Consistence and patience is the most important trait in this exam. One thing that really helps for maintaining momentum is genuine interest and curiosity. Try generating interest for every topic and subject – which could be done by asking regular questions to yourself while reading anything – keep asking why,how,when,what could be done – dont be satisfied with only what the article is telling you – go and find out answers for these natural and self made questions on the net. For example: you read an article that India has got a rank of 128 in Gender Inequality Index and so and so country has such and such rank . In this: find out.. 1. What does this index tell       2. What are the dimensions used to come out to this conclusion 3.Where is India lacking specifically 4.Why is India lacking specifically 5.What is the position of our neighbors; if better – how ? 6. What has been done and what more could be done by different stakeholders – revise in your head for each of the dimensions. This would be the holistic coverage of the topic which would also keep your interest up and enter into a virtuous cycle of interest and learning; out from the negative cycle of mood swings and distraction.
The fact that I knew that this is the career of my choice and I would have to sit again for the exam next year if I dont study well this time – used to motivate me even more i.e what I should study was inevitable and it had to be done – either this time or some other time – so why not this time only.
You can also keep maximum one hour for the things that you love doing – example I used to go for jogging whenever I did not feel like studying – but this should be done within the time limit.
Listening to motivational songs used to help me a lot too.


A sober white shirt + black trousers + tie.HC Gupta was the chairman & took 30 minutes approx.

It started on a very pleasant note. I entered with a smiling face.
CM : Has anyone told you that have a very good smile Pulkit .
Me: Thank you sir. Yes sir, my friends tell me that. (blushing 😀 ) . It even goes with my name, Pulkit.
All board members in chorus : What does your name mean Pulkit?
Me: Sir, it means a person who is always happy and smiling.
CM : It really suits you then Pulkit.
Me : Thinking ( there couldn’t have been a better start to the interview)
CM : Okay, Pulkit, tell us why do you want to leave IRTS, which is such a good job with immense perks, with houses bigger than that of IAS and where saloons(separate coaches) are provided for travelling through train to the officers.
Me: Definitely sir, it’s a great service. But IAS has its own distinct advantages, such as :
The most important reason Sir is that it gives me immense opportunity to make a deep impact on every aspect on a citizen’s life, ranging from education, health to skill development. The other major reason is that it gives me great opportunity for career growth. 80% of joint secretaries,85% of Additional secy and 90% of secretaries are IAS. (not sure about accuracy of figures, but I was more concerned about conveying the message)
CM : Okay. What is the capital of Assam?
Me : (In a hurry) Sir, its Guwahati. ( a big blunder)
CM : No, Pulkit, Its Dispur, a locality in Guwahati. Have you read about it?
Me : Yes sir, I have read about it. Thank you for the information. It just slipped out of my mind.
CM : Okay. What is your opinion about scrapping of recruitment into railways through SCRA?
Me : Its definitely a step in the right direction sir. Supported it with 2-3 reasons. ( CM looked satisfied)
M1 : Why do you think that IITs are institutes of excellence, better than our other institutes.
Me : Gave standard answer. Best of the students selected. Very good faculty. Excellent infra. Independent governance.
M1 : Gave me an incomprehensible ( at that time, turned out to be easy later, as soon as I exited the hall) Maths problem, which he had already written beforehand on a sheet of paper.
Me : Can I take some time sir>
M1: Take all the time you want.
Me: Cant think of it right now sir.
M1: No issues.Its totally okay.
Over to M2
M2(Lady) : You would get a lot sifarishein( illegitimate demands) when you are posted in the district. How would you tackle them?
Me:  Ma’am , I would keep a very simple approach. I would ensure that everything works as per the law and procedure. Not even one exception would be there to this norm. Not even for my family members, relatives or friends. It would establish my image as an honest officer, and in some time, I would stop receiving such demands. ( she looked satisfied)
M2 : What is Make in India?
M2 : What is Skill India?
Over to M3
M3 : So you are from Delhi. Tell me 3 problems and the point wise solutions about why Health system in Delhi is crumbling
Me : 1. Underspending as a proportion of GSDP
2. Lack of availability of medicines in govt hospitals
3. Poor medical ethics  among doctors

  1. Increase spending
  2. Improve supply chain
  3. Reform medical education system

There were a few other innocuous questions, which I don’t remember right now.
M4 : Gave a situation. So consider that you are DM of a district. What measures would you take to prevent a railway accident, and in case an accident happens, to minimize injuries and casualties.
Me : Sir, we could undertake a vulnerability analysis survey, to find out the most vulnerable areas, where there is high probability of an accident taking place. Then we could take site specific measures.
Such as , strengthening of old bridges through which trains pass , and strengthening embankments to prevent landslides from affecting railway tracks.
To minimize the adverse effects, we could have a toll free emergency helpline number to provide quick help.
M4 : Anything else?
Me : Sir, we could form a coordination committee consisting of officials from district administration, police, railway officials and officials from health department to provide quick and effective help.
M4 : Could we also train local communities, who are normally the first responders, in such emergencies?
Me : Definitely sir.
CM : Thank you Pulkit, your interview is over. And I think I should take back my comment about your smile, because you were so serious throughout the interview.
Me: Didn’t know what to respond. Just gave him a nervous smile again. J
CM : Thank you!
Me : Thank you sir. Thank you while looking at everyone else.

Educational background

% in class 1093%
% in class 1293.6%
Graduation course and %B Tech,Civil Engineering ; CGPA – 8.15
Name of college, city, passing out yearIIT Delhi – 2014
Any other professional courses
Hobbies & Extracurricular achievementsHobbies : playing badminton and squash, jogging

The main aim in life is to maximize happiness. Find what gives you happiness and go for the kill. Don’t think what your friend is doing, don’t think what the society wants you to do. Do what you want to do and you would definitely succeed.
I would like to say that this exam tests patience and determination over everything else. If you are determined and hard working, it is a no-brainer that you would definitely make it.

Special credits & thanks to Pulkit Garg



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