Master Circular No. 43

Trade Test for Promotion in Artisan Categories.

At present, the orders relating to 'Trade Test' are contained in a number of office circulars/orders issued from time to time. The question of consolidation of these existing orders/circulars in to one Master Circular has been under the consideration of the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board). They have now decided to issue a consolidated order on the subject as below for the information and guidance of all concerned.

2. A Trade Test is given to employees belonging to artisan category on the Railways at the time of promotion to semi-skilled and skilled Grade I, II & III and for promotion to ESM/MSM in S&T Department.

2.1 Trade Tests are to be conducted twice a year.

2.2 Trade Test should comprise both oral and practical and may include written test wherever considered necessary.

2.3 Qualifying Marks in the Trade Test would be as follows: -


Total Marks

Qualifying Marks










Note: A SC/ST candidate will be required to secure 30 marks out of 60 in the practical test and 11 marks out of 40 in the oral test, as against 36 marks out of 60 in the practical test and 15 marks out of 40 in the oral test prescribed for other community candidates, to qualify in a Trade Test in the categories other than safety categories (E(SCT)70/CM/15/6 dated 31.08.1971).

2.4 The syllabus and rules of Trade Tests for each category are contained in the Trade Test Manual available on the Railways.

2.5 (i) Employees equal to the number of vacancies should be called for trade test. If sufficient number of suitable candidates is not available, further candidates to meet the short fall may be called up in continuation and so on, but the whole process should be completed within six months. If this period is exceeded, it will be treated as a fresh trade test. Those who failed in the earlier test should be eligible to appear in trade test held after expiry of six months period. The period of six months is to be reckoned from the date of announcement of the results.

2.5. (ii) In case of promotion to the posts of ESMs/MSMs Grade-II and I in the S&T Department, employees equal to twice the number of vacancies may be issued notices for consideration for trade test so that an equal number remains in readiness for appearing in the subsequent trade test held in continuation, in case some candidates are not found suitable in the trade test, necessitating other candidates in order of seniority being called at a short notice. Fresh notice need not be issued for the standby candidates. The same procedure may be followed in other cases also where vacancies are required to be filled expeditiously.

2.6 If an employee fails in a trade test but passes subsequent trade test, he should be given preference for promotion over his junior who had passed the trade test held earlier but is still waiting to be promoted for want of a vacancy.

[E(NG)I/66/PM1/98 dated. 18.02.1967]

2.7 Pending the holding of Trade Tests, an employee may be promoted to officiate on ad hoc basis for a period of six weeks without passing a trade test.

[E(NG)I/79/PM1/139 dated. 27.10.1979]

3. The assessment of vacancies for the trade test should be made as under :-

"Existing vacancies plus those anticipated to arise (as defined below) during the next 4 months."

3.1 The concept of anticipated vacancies should be deemed to connote the following:

a.     Vacancies on account of normal wastage, viz retirement on superannuation,

b.     Vacancies likely to be caused as a result of staff having given notice for voluntary retirement, provided the same are likely to be accepted,

c.      Vacancies in higher grades in the channel, the filling of which will result in the need to make consequent appointments from the proposed panel,

d.     Vacancies likely to be caused due to staff approved to go on deputation to other Units,

e.     Number of staff already empanelled for ex-cadre posts,

f.       Vacancies likely to arise due to creation of additional post in higher grades and in the same grade. This may include only those proposals which have been concurred in by the Accounts and approved by the competent authority, and

g.     The vacancies arising out of cases where staff are likely to go out on transfer to other Railways/Divisions during the period under consideration.

4. Approval of Trade Test Assessment:

4.1 The actual trade test will be arranged by an Assistant Officer according to the specified trade tests. He will assess the results of the trade test, which must be supervised by a Supervisor not below the rank of Assistant Foreman or equivalent status. In Workshops and other places where large concentration of skilled categories exist, it will be desirable to employ a whole time trade testing supervisor to assist in arranging and conducting the trade test.

Results of trade test may be approved in the divisions by the respective Administrative Grade Officers of the departments concerned. Where there are no Administrative Grade Officers in position in a division, the trade test results may be approved by DRM or ADRM.

4.2 In regard to Workshops and other non-divisional units headed by a Senior Scale Officer, trade test results should be approved by the Dy. HOD of the department concerned at Head Quarters office who will work as Chairman of the Trade Test Panel. The Trade Test Panel consists of three officers namely (I) Foreman/Assistant Foreman or Inspector Supervising Trade Test, (ii) Assistant Officer concerned, and (iii) JA. Grade Officer of the department who acts as Chairman, Trade Test Panel and approves the results.

4.3 In the event of an appeal over any approve trade test, the appeal will lie to the Chairman, Trade Testing Panel i.e. the Administrative Grade Officer who approved the trade test results, will function as an Appellate Authority.

4.4 The Trade Test accepting officers are advised to scrutinise the results of the Trade Test properly to ensure that there is no over-writing/alteration before accepting them, so that manipulations, if any, can be detected and prevented.

5. Employees who have already qualified in a Trade Test for non-selection posts in R.E. or Construction Projects need not be subjected to such tests on open line and they may be promoted on the basis of the seniority as and when due in turn. This is, however, applicable in comparable Trades only in which the lien of the individual is kept on the open line and is applicable only to the next higher grade than the one in which the lien is kept.

6. General:

a.     While referring to this circular, the original letters referred to herein should be read for a proper appreciation. This circular is only a consolidation of the instructions issued so far and should not be treated as a substitution to the originals. In case of doubt, the original circular should be relied upon as authority.

b.     The instructions contained in the original circulars referred to have only prospective effect from the date of issue unless specifically indicated otherwise in the concerned circular. For dealing with old cases, the instructions in force at the relevant time should be referred to; and

c.      If any circular on the subject, which has not been superseded, has not been taken into consideration while preparing this consolidated letter, the old circular which has been missed through oversight should be treated as valid and operative. Such a missing circular, If any, may be brought to the notice of the Railway Board.

Order issued Subsequently.

1.     Calculation of anticipated vacancies Vide Railway Board's letter No. 89-E(SCT)I/49/5-Pt. dated 14.07.1997.

2.     Promotion from Technician Gr. II (4000-6000) to Technician Gr. I (4500-7000) Vide Railway Board's letter No. PC-III/96/FE-I/3 dated 19.08.1999 (RBE 212/1999).