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:: Psychology

Psychological / Aptitude Test for Running staff / Safety Category  

Indian Railways embraced psycho-technology in 1964 in pursuance of recommendation of Railway Accident Committee-1962 (Kunjru Committee) by setting up a unit in Railway Board's office. This unit was transferred to RDSO in 1970 and given the status of a full-fledged directorate in 1990. Psychological test is not only a test but also a continues research and development in the area of human resource development, engineering psychological tools formed as 'aptitude tests' for safety category railway staff who are directly involved in train operation and ergonomics. The focus is also on job analysis, motivation, stress management, safety supervision, counseling and appraisal of tools and work places. 

Objective  of the Psychology test / Aptitude test :
  1.      Enhancing railway safety and maximize functional efficiency through - matching of job requirements with workers aptitude. 2.      Improving employees' performance, job satisfaction and motivation. 3.      Preventing accidents due to human failures.  

History In the year 1979 [E(NG)I 77 PM1/247 dated 26.04.1979] with the objective of scientific matching of staff with critical of significant psychological requirement of the job with a view of optimizing efficiency and minimizing human errors and lapses which jeopardize operational safety, instructions were issued after consultation with the staff side in the Departmental Council for application of Psycho-Test at the stage of :
 (i)                 intake of Engine cleaners, and, 
(ii)               selection of Pointsman Grade-II and Leverman - Grade-II The above categories were included for the reason that they, in due course of time, came in turn for promotion as Fireman/Diesel/Elect.Asstt/Drivers and ASMs.  

Later in 1990 it was decided to introduce Psycho-Test for deployment of Drivers on High-speed trains and for promotion as Motorman. These provisions had reviewed by the Board in the light of the recommendations made by the High - Powered Committee on Psycho Technical Cells and it had decided to do away with Psychological Tests at the stage of promotion/lateral induction as Engine Cleaners, Pointsmen Grade II and Levermen Grade II and to introduce them at the stage of promotion as Switchmen, ASM, Diesel Asstt., Elect. Asstt.,Goods Driver. Consequent to this decision, the Psycho Tests would now be conducted at the following stages:—       
 i.            Direct recruitment of the ASMs, Diesel Asstt./Elect. Asstts and Motormen     
 ii.            Promotion as Switchmen, ASMs, Diesel Asstt./Elect. Asstt./Goods Driver Motormen, High Speed Drivers deployed on Rajdhani/Shatabdi Express.[E(NG)I-98/PM1/4 dated 13.07.1999

The aptitude test has been qualifying nature ever since 1972. However, one had to pass the test based on the composite score of marks obtained in various sub-tests. Only those who had passed in the aptitude test were include in the panel but the position in the panel was decided purely on the basis of marks obtained in the written test. Subsequently, in 1994 in pursuance of the recommendations made by a high power committee appointed by the Board in 1992, instruction were issued to the effect that Psycho-Test would be applicable at the stage of promotion as Switchmen, ASMs, Diesel Asstt./Elect. Asstt./Goods Driver Motormen, and for deployment of Driver on Rajshani and Shatabdi Express trains and at the stage of recruitment as Diesel Asstt./Elect. Asstts,  Motormen and ASMs. Later, the category of Switchman was also included.  Psycho-Test was qualifying in nature, i.e. if a candidate failed in the a Psycho-Test he was not eligible for inclusion in the panel for promotion. In the year 2002, a high level committee consisting of the then Member Staff as the Chairman and GMs of select railways as members to examine the scope of Psycho-Test and its effect on the eligibility of staff for promotion, instructions pertaining to the promotion of in-service employees were issued vide E(NG)I2002/PM1/31 dated 22.08.03 to the following effect:
 (i)                 Psycho-Test should henceforth be called Aptitude Test.
(ii)               Aptitude Test be made applicable at the stage of promotion as:(a)   ASM,(b)   Diesel/Electrical Assistants,(c)    Motorman, and(d)   At the stage of deployment of Drivers of High Speed 
Trains running above 110 kmph.
(The categories of Switchman and Goods Drivers were deleted from the list of categories for promotion to which Psycho-test was applicable earlier)
(iii)             Aptitude test should be given a weightage of 20% in the selection for promotion to the categories mentioned at (a), (b) & (c) above, but no minimum qualifying marks were prescribed.  

On the recommendation of this committee the aptitude test was made non-qualifying.   The revised instructions] not only made the aptitude test non-qualifying but also dispensed away with the system of multiple cut-off and added a new dimensions to add a proportionate weightage (30% for direct recruits and 20% for departmental candidates) of marks obtained in the psychological test to the score of the written test for deciding the position of the successful candidate in panel. 

While considering the above report the then Member  Mechanical had observed – “All these recommendations are acceptable but should be considered as an interim solution valid only upto 31.12.2003 by which time the committee as mentioned above should have evolved a aptitude test. Aptitude test should thereafter regain their eminent sanctity for vetoing unsuitable persons from employment / deployment on safety critical activities”.

 As a follow up to this observation, the Advisory Committee comprising professors from the Psychology Department of University of Delhi and ED(Traffic)/RDSO and Director Safety-I as member in their subsequently recommended that the system of eliminating the low performers on aptitude test should be reintroduced.  

The minimum cut off each sub test should also be fixed  as eligibility criteria for success.  Recommendation of the Advisory committee were accepted by the Board and the instruction to the effect that Railways may switch back to the old system of multiple cut0off and qualifying status of Psycho-test  with the existing system of adding marks 0f aptitude test with written examination continuing for deciding the eligibility for empanelment amongst those candidates who score the minimum cut-off marks and above in all the sub tests of the Aptitude test, were issued to Railways vide letter no. E(NG)I-2002/PM1/31 dated 29.03.2005. 

After issue of instructions dated 29.03.2005, the staff vide DC-JCM  raised the present demand for reinstating the earlier status of non-qualifying nature of Psycho-Test and that if a candidate has qualified the selection process he has a right for inclusion in the panel.  In case a staff, who has qualified the selection process, fails in the psycho-test, his promotion may be postponed and he may be allowed appear for the same subsequent Psycho-test for the same category to which his name was included in the panel. On the demand of the staff side it was decided to review the matter. The Board in their meeting held on 21.02.2007 decided as under:
             “In the interest of safety, the psychological test should be qualifying and mandatory in nature. It has also been decided that the candidates would be called a day prior to the test for hands on practice session so that they are familiar with the nature of the test batteries.
             As regards psycho testing of in-service staff, those who fail to pass the psycho test will be considered only in the next selection as per extant practices” Accordingly, the instructions were issued vide Board’s letter no. E(NGH)I-2002/PM1/31 dated 20.03.2007  

Hence, in case of departmental selections the status of Psychological test has undergone changes as tabulated below: 
Period Attributes of the Aptitude Test
From 1972 onwards Qualifying  No multiple cut off No weightage
From 1991-92 onwards Qualifying  Multiple cut off No weightage
From Aug`2003 onwards Non-qualifying  No multiple cut off 20% weightage for departmental selections
From Mar`2005 onwards Qualifying  Multiple cut off

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