IRS Officer From Nagaland On Competitive Exams And Beyond - Eastern Mirror
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IRS officer from Nagaland on competitive exams and beyond

By Moakala T Aier Updated: Sep 27, 2023 12:13 am

Moakala Aier

The 42-year-old, an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, Sashi Wapang Lanu in an exclusive interview with Eastern Mirror offered valuable insights into the essential facets of competitive examinations
IRS officer from Nagaland on competitive exams and beyond
Sashi Wapang Lanu

The Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, Sashi Wapang Lanu, completed his schooling at Mount Hermon School, Darjeeling, and earned an Electronics and Communications Engineering degree from PES Institute of Technology, Bangalore. Following his graduation, he worked as a lecturer in Mokokchung for a year, before heading to New Delhi to prepare for the UPSC Civil Services examination. On his third attempt, he successfully passed the exam and joined the IRS, 2009 batch.

In an interview with Eastern Mirror, the 42-year-old officer offered valuable insights into the essential facets of competitive examinations. Furthermore, he shared his personal experiences and life lessons besides furnishing prospective candidates with an understanding of these exams.

Currently, Lanu serves as the Additional Commissioner at the Central GST Commissionerate in Dimapur. Prior to this, he held positions in various Customs and Indirect Tax offices, including Kolkata Airport and Port Blair, before being posted to Dimapur in 2019. Outside of his professional life, he is a father of two sons and enjoys playing the guitar during his leisure time.

Here is an excerpt of Lanu’s interview with Eastern Mirror:

What motivated you to take the UPSC exam?

My parents did a lot to motivate me to take up this exam.

What is your take on UPSC and other competitive exams?

Working as a civil servant remains one of the most coveted jobs in Nagaland because of the way you can make an impact on society while at the same time having job security and social status. However, I feel that it is not the only way to attain success or find validation in life. 14 years into this job I can tell you that passing competitive exams is an achievement no doubt but one must remember that it merely offers a person a platform to do something significant. Therefore, what you do with the platform becomes more important than glorifying the passing of such exams.

When is the ideal time for students to commence their preparation for such exams?

Awareness about the exam and its requirements should happen during college years but the actual preparation usually starts after graduation from college.

How can extracurricular activities or skills enhance a student’s preparation for these assessments?

Participation in extracurricular activities in school and college becomes important because it can help you develop various skills and networks and help gain confidence in different scenarios. For me, music and playing the guitar opened up many opportunities where I got to network and interact with people who I might not have access to under normal circumstances.

Can you provide some general tips on effective exam preparation?

Any person seriously wanting to write the civil services exams, be it the NPSC or the UPSC, has to get into it with a mindset that I am going to give 3 to 4 years of my life with complete dedication for the cause of passing the exam. This means for this particular period, social activities should take a backseat and studies have to be the main focus. It is very important to also know when to step back and withdraw from these exams if one is not successful. If after 3 or 4 attempts a person cannot even clear the prelims stage then it’s better to move on to other avenues.

What steps should individuals take when they find a particular subject or topic challenging during their preparation?

Forming a study group with other like-minded aspirants is advisable. This need not be a big group, just 3 or 4 persons preparing together can help. It’s a long and lonely journey and knowing others in the same boat can help in many ways. You end up sharing and helping and encouraging each other during difficult times of preparation.

What advice can you offer for managing stress and anxiety during the examination period?

Stress and anxiety while preparing for such exams is inevitable. Support and encouragement from family and friends is very essential and helpful. I cracked the exam in my third attempt and I can testify that my prayer life and personal walk with God became stronger as the number of attempts went by. I also remember taking a few days off after not seeing my name in the selected list in my first two attempts by going off for a break and basically grieving the failure. And in that process letting it out of my system so that I could come back with a renewed enthusiasm for the next attempt.

Could you describe the importance of consistency and share your experiences with maintaining it during your preparation?

More than showing sparks of brilliance once in a while, this exam rewards those showing consistency in the long run. The syllabus is vast and the questions are unpredictable. This can make a person try to study haphazardly from several sources and end up confused. Revision plays an important role here. It’s better to read one book three times and recall some points than to read three different books and not remember anything. There are so many coaching centers, there are so many books and authors being suggested, there are many study notes circulating. One must choose one among the good ones and then concentrate on being consistent in studying that source material.

Can you recount a low point you encountered during your exam preparation journey and how you overcame it?

Not seeing your name in the selected list and knowing you have to start right from the beginning again is a difficult low point to negotiate. One year the UPSC final result came out  just two days before the next prelims exam and that was a heavy blow to take. But one has to remind themselves that you’ve chosen to give everything you have for this cause and pick yourself up and go at it again.

A message for students in Nagaland who are preparing or looking forward to taking these exams.

If you are seriously preparing for the NPSC and UPSC civil services exams then please also consider sitting for the SSC Combined Graduate Level Exams which recruit Group B and C level posts for various departments of Govt. of India.

Unlike the UPSC Group A level posts which will mean postings anywhere in India, for aspirants who want to work closer to home the SSC exam jobs will mean postings within the northeast area only for the entire career. There is a lot of scope for Nagas to be posted in Nagaland for Group B and C level Central Government posts at GST, Customs, Income Tax, Intelligence Bureau, AG and other such offices. 

Rapid Insights:

One daily activity you never skip

I do spend a lot of time on social media especially on Twitter (now X), which has become my way to stay updated on news and current events and have conversations around it.

What has been occupying your days of late?

Trying to be a good father to my two little boys.

One piece of advice you last received

One memorable piece of advice I have recently been given is that in your 40s you are at an age where you are more involved with responsibilities at the workplace as well as in social / church activities while also raising kids etc. In all this, one tends to get so caught up that we often forget that our parents are also growing older and we do not spend enough time with them only to regret later. So the advice was to make sure you make time for your parents too. I have been trying to do that lately.

Also read: SSC announces competitive exams to be held in 2023: CGL, CPO, Junior Engineer, and more

By Moakala T Aier Updated: Sep 27, 2023 12:13:50 am
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