Railway officers applying for 36 key posts such as chairman, member, or general manager (GM) will now have to take an “emotional intelligence” test, according to a senior officer privy to the development.
The online tests will be administered for the first time in the upcoming empanelment process to fill up one dozen vacant posts of GMs, the officer said, adding that test scores will determine whether the selected officer would be posted for operations or in an administrative job.
A GM, for instance, needs to undertake high-voltage field work whereas the equivalent post of director general of National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) is considered more an administrative or desk job.
“EQ (emotional quotient) test is made mandatory for selection to 36 top railway posts as part of our new empanelment process notified last month. It will be an online test for about 15-20 minutes. This tool will be used to assess personality and role fitness,” the officer said, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to talk to the press.
The railways in a board resolution in May 2022 said it had decided to merge seven secretary-level posts, including railway board chairman and members as well as 29 posts, mainly GMs, to create the Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS) at the top of railway hierarchy. The resolution further said IRMS was created in pursuance of the cabinet decision taken back in December 2019.
The board resolution was published in the Gazette of India on May 27, 2022, and hence, it is in public domain. The resolution’s annexure contains a guideline that mentions that there would be a “psychometric assessment” to judge emotional intelligence of applicants in addition to weighing in their appraisal reports as well as feedback from peers.
The guideline also noted that the EQ test would be conducted to assess personality of an officer on five scales: self-perception (an awareness of one’s strength, weakness, ambitions etc.), self-expression (assertiveness, independence of thinking etc.), interpersonal skills, decision-making and stress management.
Indian Railways employs over 1.2 million people, but this test has been made mandatory only for its 36 top managers so far. “As the Railways values emotional intelligence of its officers, it is likely that such modules could be extended for selecting DRMs too in the near future,” the same officer added.