Indian Foreign Service The Belgaum Connection

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The Indian Civil Service Examination serves as the backbone of India and carries great respect and responsibilities. India’s best brains vie for entry into the Indian Civil Services as officers. Actually, CSE is conducted to various services under the Government of India, most popular among them are Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) , Indian Revenue Service (IRS) etc. Even though corporate jobs may offer the best of salaries and perks, a majority of youngsters and their parents still crave entry to the prestigious Indian Civil Services held by the UPSC.

Maitrey Kulkarni

Here is one successful IFS officer (2010 batch) from Belgaum, Maitrey Kulkarni who is a gold medalist of VTU in Mechanical engineering and did his college engineering from GIT. His secured 103rd place and is interested in joining the IFS. He did his schooling from M V Herwadkar English School (2001).

Maitrey comes from a middle class background with his grandparents being teachers ( Shri. Vishnupant Kulkarni and Smt. Sindhutai Kulkarni). His father is a retired Commercial Artist. Mother (Smt.Sheeladhi Kulkarni) runs a small household mess and his elder brother Sankalp works at the Zuari Agro-Chemicals, Goa. Early in life he had decided that he wanted to in the Indian Foreign Service.

The interview aims at providing information on how one can prepare oneself for the UPSC exams and learn from the success of this young lad from Belgaum.

He gave a candid interview to AAB, some excerpts:

When did u decide to get into the civil services or what sparked the light to take that step?

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> I had developed a liking for international relations very early in my life. While reading newspapers, magazines; while watching TV shows, or even when reading fiction, I found that it was always events on the world stage that caught my eye. I researched awhile and concluded that the Indian Foreign Service provided me a grand avenue to channelize my interest into a career. What was more wonderful was that I would be in the thick of my interests as nothing less than my country’s representative! That settled it and I decided around my Pre- University days itself to pursue the Foreign Service as a career.

What is that you like to do in leisure time/ What are your hobbies?

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> Reading modern English fiction has always been my favourite pastime. I also enjoy playing the harmonium, writing poetry and playing football. Recently, I’ve added some new hobbies to the list like playing squash, playing tennis, riding horses.

What was your feeling when you came to know your UPSC result?

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> To be very honest, after the long and exhausting ordeal of the examination, there was no sudden elation. But then, as the fact sank in over the days, a warm feeling of success did develop (infact, the feeling is still growing 🙂 ).

Your parents support for you taking up the Civil services?

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> Immense! Immeasurable!! Incidentally, North Karnataka is awash with the idea of getting into an Engineering course, getting a campus placement at the end of it and then settling into a good job- which is good in itself for middle class students like us. But what is unnerving is the disinclination of students to atleast try for something higher before settling for life. And I had to land up graduating with three gold medals to VTU in Mechanical Engineering! People almost forced me into accepting the hugely lucrative offers that consequently came my way. But my parents stood by me and reposed complete confidence in my decisions. What is more- they kept encouraging me when the chips were down and were there to soothe my apprehensions in the most depressive of moments. But for the support of my grandparents, my parents and my brother, I don’t think I would have made it here.

Maitrey Kulkarni during his training

How did u manage your studies of engineering and UPSC.

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> I had decided to take up Mechanical Engineering as one of my optional subjects for the UPSC CS Examination. I therefore carefully studied the core sections in Mechanical Engineering while undergoing the BE course.(But then being a faithful Mechie, I unfailingly fulfilled my duties of parties, bike trips, 100% movie attendances and all too!). After my graduation though, I shifted focus to my other optional subject and the vast subject of General Studies.

What are the main qualities required to begin with this UPSC exams.

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> Confidence, steadfastness and perseverance are all that are needed to crack the exam. But an added advantage would be a cool mind. It’s after all just another exam and the less bones one makes about it the more easy the process becomes.

Why is the exam seen as so difficult an ordeal?
Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> A few factors go into it. The long duration of the exam, three different stages of selection( or rather rejection!), a combination of subjects chosen out of almost 54 graduation level optional subjects offered- and the associated uncertainity (For the optional subjects count for a big chunk in the overall score. And then depending on the chosen optionals it often happens that a candidate with Law and Tamil Literature competes against someone with Physics and Public Administration and someone else with Geology and Economics!). To top it the competition is for around 700 seats from amongst around 4 lakh aspirants across the country every year.

How did prepare for the exams? Did you take any coaching for the same?

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> I have already mentioned above about the preparation for Mech. I had decided not to opt for any professional coaching for my preparation. As Political Science (which I took as an optional subject) was an entirely new stream for me, I visited a couple of resource centres in Pune to get a basic idea about the subject. I then developed the subject for myself through self-study. For general studies, I began with NCERTs, standard books and competition magazines like the Civil Services Times. I prepared a a long term time-table for myself that synchronized with the year and half- long examination process and tried to follow it stringently. And to ensure the stringency, I allowed myself the liberty of several breaks in the time-table. 🙂

When should one ideally think and start working on UPSC exams.

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> Somewhere midway in graduation is a good time. However, if one comes to know about the examination and career in sufficient advance, one could choose a graduation stream with subjects that would help in preparation for the examination.

The Karnataka state Govt. this year has decided to award cash prize of Rs1 lakh for all those who pass the civil service examination, your thoughts on this?

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> Once one gets into the service, the monetary part of the prize doesn’t matter much ( it would perhaps matter a great deal if it comes earlier- say at a smaller level for candidates who crack the prelims or are selected for the interview). However, the recognition awarded will definitely count for a lot. This is something that is lacking in Karnataka when one compares the immense importance attached to the examination and selected candidates in other states like Tamil Nadu, UP and Bihar. The recognition will definitely help in attracting many talented people from Karnataka to the services.

Your views on the corruption in the civil administration and how it can be tackled.

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> I sincerely believe that the corruption is not in the system but is brought in by the people who join the system. Instead of pointing fingers at the lapses, one would be better served if one volunteers to join the select few who are fighting to clear the system of corruption.

Thoughts about the past year and about training.

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> It’s almost a year to our results and anytime now the new batch of officers will be declared. Looking back, the past year has just zoomed by. From those who are just beginning with the preparation for the examination to those who will shortly be selected, I have one thing to say. The time that you have after your selection is just wonderful. The inner feeling of accomplishment is more than matched by the accolades that just don’t stop coming your way. It is a wonderful experience to pause awhile and savour these moments before setting forth on the nation’s work.
The FC (Foundation Course) at Mussoorie for officers of the Administrative, Foreign, Police and Forest Services is often rightly abbreviated as ‘Fun Course’. More than 3 months spent doing a variety of activities in the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration develops Espirit de Corps – a life-long bond amongst some of the top-most services of the country.
This is followed by specialized training for the services like the one I am currently undergoing in New Delhi. In all, the training modules are very well designed and provide a specialization in one’s service without missing out on a holistic personality development. In a nut-shell, the training is a fulfilling and enriching process.

Your vision for Belgaum.

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> My vision for Belgaum is one of a city developed in terms of its socio-economic and commercial infrastructure, while retaining its cultural ethos.
8 years ago I had won an Open Elocution Competition organised by Indradhanushya on Independence Day on ‘My Belgaum, My Beautiful Belgaum’. Even today I am thrilled that I won the event by just speaking frankly about my love for my city. Even today I am sad that not many things have improved that needed improvements even then! Agreed that the administration sometimes takes time to respond- but then, it won’t take much more than simple endeavours from all of us who are passionate about our city to improve it.

What is the best thing about Belgaum you like?

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> Well…where do I begin? The rains- especially around Military Mahadev and the ponds near Hindalga Ganpati; the sunny days full of football on RPD Ground; the chilly heaps near Nath Pai Circle; the saree market of Shahapur; the bustle on Kirloskar Road and Khade Bazar; the quiet in the Vivekanand Ashram in the Fort; the fires that burn by night in the Udyambag foundry furnaces; the morning walkers’ paradise that is Vaccine Depot; Deshmukh Road with Nath’s Vada-pav and CoolTop; the sudden drop to countrysides towards Kakti or Sawantwadi; the enduring jungles of Jamboti(always so much within reach for a bike ride); the Christmases and ‘Old Man’ effigies in the Camp area; the Eid in Old Belgaum; the Ganpati Pandals in Ganesh Chaturthi;my school( M V Herwadkar English School); my college (GIT); the heady mix of many other such educational institutions; plazas; eateries; Mandey; Kunda…………there’s no one thing that is best about is all these things that come together to make it the most loveable place on earth.
But then again, what defines Belgaum is its people- one of the most caring, hospitable group of people you would find anywhere. And I say this from experience. Belgaumites back you when things go wrong, rejoice when success comes to you and never fall short in encouraging, supporting or commending you; they truly share sorrows and joys in equal measure. I am indeed privileged to have been born and brought up in this fine city and amidst these charming people.

What are your thoughts on this website?

Maitrey Kulkarni ——-> This website is doing a commendable job of updating stuff that is happening all around in the city- not only to those within the city but also to those spread across the globe. My heartiest compliments to Mr.Uday and his team of resource persons behind this site and my best wishes for its sustained success.


22 thoughts on “Indian Foreign Service The Belgaum Connection”

  1. Wish you all the best Maitrey….

    This country needs young guns like you. ROCK ON ….

    Dont forget Belgaum … 🙂

  2. The answer for the question: "What is the best thing about Belgaum you like?" is being answered in such a great imagination.Even if a stranger to Belgaum reads this, he will be eager to land into Belgaum. Real good wordings used here..
    I would heartfully wish you all the very best for your future mr. Kulkarni and may god bless you with all the glory and your wishes….

  3. Congratulation Mr Kulkarni… Feel Proud that our Belgaum Boy has done it. I am based here in Middle East( KSA)…. Look forward to see you first as a Indian Consul General and then Indian Ambasador to KSA some Day. All the best. And thanks to Uday for bringing us this interview, on this web site. Keep up the good work Buddy

  4. Maitrey is a very articulate and (obviously) smart young man. I wish him all the success in his desire to serve our country.

  5. congratulation sir ….
    my aim is also to be a successful officer like u . i m in 8th std …i m studying so hard to get success , gaining lot of knowledge for this . i realy want to be IFS OFFICER . i wish to have ur help for this please……………….:)

  6. Dear Sir..
    Hearty Congratulations for your great achievement and wish you all the best for your future endeavors. I have a desire to undergo the training for Indian Foreign Service. And to attain success in it. Could you please guide me.

    Athmeeya J Kadamba
    Student of MBA(HR)
    Justice K S Hegde Institute of Management,
    Nitte,Karkala,Udupi Dist.Karnataka.

  7. Hi Maitrey,

    Congratulations.In what way can I help you to improve Belgaum city,except financial help.Remember Baba always.You can contact me or write to me if you need me.

    Thanks & regards.

    Yallappa Patil


    POSTAL(PIN) CODE: 590006


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