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Officers of 1983, ’84 batches to vie for first IRMS top panel slots: Railways

Days after notifying it, the Railways on Tuesday asked its senior officers to send applications on the panel of Indian Railway Management Service’s Level 16, to be selected from suitable officers who are currently serving in Level 15.

As per the circular, officers from 1983 and ’84 batches in the eight organized Group-A services (Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Traffic, Accounts, Personnel, Signal and Stores) are eligible to apply.

Several officers from non-Engineering services, who are civil servants, such as Traffic, Accounts and Personnel, pointed out that going by this cut-off, senior-most officers from their services will not make the cut even though they are working in Level 15, as they are from batches of subsequent years.

The seniority lists of the cadres show that the senior-most Traffic service offers are from batches 1986 onwards, and hence are not eligible to apply in this round. Same is the case with Accounts and Personal services. “What is the point of a merger of cadres when civil servants will not be eligible to apply at all,” a senior civil servant asked.

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Sources in the ministry told The Indian Express that the call for applications is not equal to final empanelment, and a second call for applications from subsequent batches will come “very soon”. A senior official said: “The new system is yet to be established. This is just a call for applications so we can iron out the new process. We will call for applications from junior batches soon.”

All batches will get a chance to apply to be empanelled, “as there is no age bar to applying and being empanelled in the new system”, the official said.

Empaneled officers of Level 16 of IRMS will be the pool for the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet to pick suitable officers for posting in 29 posts of General Managers of zones, production units and others. The next level is seven posts of Level 17, which are Railway Board members and Chairman Railway Board. As per the new rule, anyone in Level 15 is eligible to apply to be empaneled for both Level 16 and 17. The current form is to make the panel for Level 16 posts.

The selection process for empanelment will have officers going through a process of self-assessment, multi-source assessment (peers, seniors, etc), along with annual confidential reports of the officers.

Theoretically, this new system takes away any advantage or disadvantage the age factor earlier had on posting to positions of General Manager and Board members.

Applying officers, for instance, will have to describe at least top five contributions to the organization in their lifetime, and top five contributions that the officer will make in the top three positions that he or she is aspiring for in a given time-frame. They will also be marked on the basis of Emotional Quotient Intelligence. A Departmental Promotion Committee that will make an overall assessment of the officers for empanelment will consist of Secretary, DOP&T; Chairman & CEO, Railway Board, and one non-railway officer (like Secretary DPIIT, or Secretary MORTH, or CEO, NITI Aayog, etc.) to be nominated by the Railways Minister.

The committee will be aided by an expert panel comprising retired chairmen Railway Board, Board Members, GMs, additional members and principal departmental heads and retired secretaries to the Government of India.

Sources said Railways will keep names of the nominated members of the expert panel a secret to maintain strict confidentiality of the process.

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