Kasturi Panda IAS Biography, Age, UPSC Marksheet, Rank, Optional Subject, Preparation Strategy

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Kasturi Panda upsc

Hi Everyone, I am Kasturi Panda. I have got AIR 67 in UPSC CSE 2022. I will share my strategy in this post.

This is my post where I will share my detailed strategy, marksheets, booklist, methods, mistakes, learnings and lot of positive vibes.
Things will be posted gradually, kindly bear with me for the delay! 🙏

Kasturi Panda
AIR 67, UPSC 2022

Few words on kickstarting mains preparation by Kasturi Panda

Yesterday’s prelims will be ranked the toughest yet. If you’re clearing it based on popular coaching answer keys, just keep up the condition. Say yourself you’ll excel in mains and start your preparation after a short break.

For others – If at all you assume to be on the border and expect writing mains, please don’t take a break more than a week. Multiple coaching institutes will release answer keys, but check only 4-5 of them which you personally trust. Cutoff speculations and wasting time on finding correct answers at this point of time will cost you dearly. Please take rest for a while and get into mains mode.

For 1st mains – Cold feet is natural. You’re on equal footing with others who have given mains earlier. The list proved many toppers have qualified from 1st mains and others couldn’t even after multiple attempts. UPSC is unpredictable. Don’t stress yourself with self doubt that you won’t be able to complete the syllabus or you’re any less.
Mains is not about who writes the best answers. It’s only a process of choosing least bad answers.
Best resource for practicing – Use PYQs, they’re your bible.

For improvement in mains – Analyse what you might have lacked previously. Work on your weaknesses. Take up few questions for practice from freely available resources like IASBABA TLP or a new test series for disclipline and acclimatisation – best ones would be VISION/FORUM/SHANKAR.

My advice – Don’t run after best notes/answers/content. You don’t have to be the best, just try staying better than the rest.

You’ll do wonders 🤛


A brief history of modern India (Spectrum)Get Book
Indian Art and Culture by Nitin SinghaniaGet Book
Certificate Physical & Human Geography by GC LeongGet Book
AtlasGet Book
Indian Polity by LaxmikanthGet Book
Indian EconomyGet Book
Shankar IAS EnvironmentGet Book
Internal Security and Disaster Management by AshokGet Book

Answer Writing strategy by Kasturi Panda

Understanding Answer Writing
I started answer writing only after prelims got over in 2020 (never before that).
In both my attempts, I used PYQs and selective questions from IASBaba TLP compilations. I took correction assistance from
for the first month post prelims – a recommended platform for 1st-time mains aspirants to learn the art of answer writing.

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Mains Test Series used in my preparation
I’ve detailed my experience year by year below.

1. 2020 – GS & Essay – Bought ForumIAS MGP+ (included essay) and free download of VISION previous year subject wise mains test solutions
Experience: Copy checking speed was very fast with comprehensive analysis

2. 2020 – Sociology – Bought NICE IAS Praveen Kishore Sir’s Sociology test series with crash course explanation videos and VISION set of 4 FLTs only
Experience – Explanation classes of Praveen Kishore Sir are excellent but copy checking was extremely slow, some copies I received after mains was over. So please choose wisely

3. 2021 – Sociology – I was only appearing the State PCS (OPSC OAS Examination) and not UPSC – Bought IASBaba Sociology Test Series by Vamshi Krishna Sir for practicing and improving my notes/content after poor marks in Paper 2 of UPSC 2020
Experience – The content PDFs developed by Vamshi Sir were excellent and I used them in enriching my notes. Copy checking was slow but manageable

4. 2022 – GS – Bought VisionIAS set of 8 FLTs and collaborated with a friend to share ForumIAS MGP FLT solutions for practice.
Experience – Copy checking speed was very fast with comprehensive analysis. Also gave the ShankarIAS Open Test as final boost before mains and simulation

5. 2022 – Essay – Used pyq and freely available essay topics for writing 3 sets of 2 essays each. Got only one copy verified by
Checking was okayish

6. 2022 – Sociology – Bought FLTs from Reliable and Valid (https://reliableandvalid.com/).
Experience – Great speed and comprehensive verification. Their personal guidance call is a morale booster.
I also practiced one extra set from Shankar IAS previous test series freely available for final boost before mains.

Will upload mock test copies soon. 🙏

Kasturi Panda Interview Transcript

Smita Nagraj Mam
3rd to go. 30-35 mins
Forenoon. 13.03.2022
Keywords from DAF – BTech, Cloud, Cybersecurity

What are the issues for inequality in different regions of your state?
Why is there a governance deficit?
Should we force development on indigenous communities?
In USA the federal government signs treaties with indigenous tribes, should India adopt it?
Why are tribal schemes failing in India?

M1 (Male)
You mentioned about PVTGs? Why are they resistant to change?
What do you understand by SaaS?
Why do we need cloud data centres when they are easy targets for cyber security threats?
What foreign countries have you travelled?
What is process to travel abroad?
Which major cities we need to cross in order to reach Kyiv from Delhi by land? (He stressed to mention land and road route only, the discussion went too stretch-y, I gave up.)
Do you know about SVB bank? Is there a support system if Indian banks fail? (Long Discussion)

M2 (Female)
Do you know about 5th and 6th schedule areas? What is the difference? What type of councils are present?
You mentioned about cyber criminals. Are they more intelligent that other software professionals?
Have you worked on cybersecurity?
Why is India unable to face cyber threats? Are you aware about the loss to GDP? Should we not stop the Digital India Project?

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M3 (Female)
What is the issue in India’s digital infrastructure?
What is IoT? Why is 5G delayed? Are we ready?
Then why are we not going for 100% digitisation?
In covid, employees were happy with WFH model? Why are they going back to office and spending too much on infrastructure and energy charges? (Very long premise to the question)
Don’t you think women were the happiest that housework got divided? (In response to my answer as I mentioned about gender stereotyping and they all laughed within this discussion)
What is a ransomware? Can you tell us about any recent malwares?

M4 (Male)
You talked about AIIMS, Mumbai power grid and all issues, let’s talk about the solutions? What do you suggest?
Why do you want to join civil services?
What is the state of MSMEs in India? I don’t think they are performing well, what is the government doing?
Can you mention any particular sector of MSME which is doing good work?
Can it help in women empowerment? How exactly MSMEs employ women? Do they follow all labour codes?

CM – Thank you. Your interview is over. All the best.

Experience– Extremely cordial board. Most of the questions were about deeper understanding of my academics and work. All members were very attentive of my answers, even when they were not asking. Quite comfortable, didn’t realise how time passed. Felt like an engaging conversation rather than Interview.

Best of luck to all!

Clarification – Kasturi Panda association with coaching brands

1. Economics Course by Mrunal Patel Sir on Unacademy Platform – Online
2. Prelims Subject Wise Test Series on Insights website – Online
3. Vision Abhyaas for Prelims – Online
4. I have also used various prelims mock full test papers from Insights, VisionIAS, ForumIAS, ShankarIAS which were available for free online
5. Mains – All details mentioned above – online only
6. Personalilty Test
2020OnlineMocks – Dates were delayed due to covid 2nd wave so I used the time for multiple online mocks, all names I’m unable to recall
2020 One on One Online – Vinay Sir and Mohan Sir – Recommended
2020 Offline Mocks – Sudhir Chandra Sir’s panel, Vajirao & Reddy, Khan Sir One on One
2022 Online Mocks – KSG, Samkalp
2022 Offline Mocks – Vajirao and Reddy, Chahal Academy, NextIAS

Note – Apart from the above, I’m not associated with any coaching brands. My complete preparation was from my home at Bhubaneswar, Odisha except for personalilty test which we appear in Delhi. I cannot advice/recommend about any classroom coaching, since I have no personal experience about them.

GS Resources of Kasturi Panda UPSC Topper

Mostly inspired from Anudeep Durishetty Sir’s (AIR 1 UPSC 2017) blog

1. Polity – Indian Polity by Laxmikanth
PRS India for new legislation
Random googling for SC judgements

2. Economy, Agriculture – PPT and Notes of Mrunal Patel Sir on Unacademy, Class 11 NCERT

3. Ancient History of India – Old NCERT by RS Sharma, Medieval History of India Old NCERT by Satish Chandra
(Based on present evolving syllabus – I would recommend new aspirants to use Tamil Nadu Board books)

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4. Modern History – A Brief history of Modern India by Spectrum Publications
India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra (Very Selective Reading only once, never revised)
NCERT by Bipan Chandra (Overlooked only once for the period 1700s to 1857)

5. Indian Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania Sir’s Book (Mc Graw Hill Publication)
An Introduction to Indian Art Class XI NCERT (Read only once)

6. World History – Pratik Nayak Sir’s PPTs available on Mrunal.org

7. Environment and Biodiversity – Shankar IAS book

8. Geography – Fundamentals of Physical Geography XI NCERT
India: Physical Environment XI NCERT
Fundamentals of Human Geography XII NCERT
India: People and Economy XII NCERT
Rajtanil Madam’s PPTs available on Mrunal.org website

9. Schemes, Governance, Social Issues, Science and Technology, International Relations, Internal Security and Miscellaneous Topics – Vision Monthly PDFs on Current Affairs Compilation (Read only once every month)
Vision PT 365 and Mains 365 – Used for multiple revisions
Vision Value Added Materials for Mains
Test Series Solutions Documents
Economy Survey – Read only introduction of all chapters
NITI Aayog Reports, ARC 2 Reports, Yojana Magazines – Read once in a while randomly and added any interesting content on A4 sheets
Google, YouTube, Toppers Blogs, Topper Copies on Vision Website

10. Newspaper – The Hindu everyday
I ordered Indian Express two months before personalilty test

11. Ethics – G Subba Rao Sir’s Book PDF to note down few definitions
Extensively used all GS resources to gather relevant examples for ethics

Sociology Resources that Kasturi Panda UPSC Topper used

1. Class 11 and 12 NCERT – Four Books (Read only once)
2. IGNOU BA and MA notes – selectively as mentioned on Reliable and Valid website
3. Haralambos (Blue Book PDF available for free) – Selective chapters as mentioned in Anu Kumari Mam’s strategy
4. Fundamentals of Sociology and Applied Sociology – Vikash Ranjan Sir’s Book by Golden Peacock Publication 
5. Upendra Sir and Mahapatra Sir Notes PDF which were available online – used later only for value addition
6. Tusharanshu Sir’s notes available online – used later only for value addition
7. Modernization of Indian Tradition – Prof Yogendra Singh (selectively overlooked once, no revision, made no notes)
8. Essential Sociology – Nitin Sangwan Sir’s Book – For revision and enriching my notes
9. Made notes from Praveen Kishore Sir’s explaination videos after each test
10. Vamshi Krishna Sir’s Value Addition Materials (got with Test Series)
11. Free notes available on Sleepy Classes website
12. Neha Bhosale Mam’s notes – used after 2020 mains
13. Extensively used GS Resources as well for current affairs, relevant examples to supplement answers

Note Making strategy of Kasturi Panda UPSC Topper

1. For Prelims – Made notes to gather new information from test papers only
2. For GS – Made small content compilation on A4 sheets for easy revision before Mains
3. For essay – Compiled few catchy phrases for introduction and conclusion
4. Sociology – Made detailed notes

Will upload soon.