August 24th, 2020       Civil Services Preparation

The Union Cabinet approved the proposal to set up the National Recruitment Agency (NRA), marking a paradigm shift in government recruitment.  This blog tries to make the aspirants aware of the new agency, CET and its salient features.

National Recruitment Agency : All You Need to know about NRA and CET for Group B, Group C Vacancy

What was the need to set up such an agency?

  • At present, candidates seeking government jobs have to appear for separate examinations conducted by multiple recruiting agencies for various posts.
  • Candidates have to pay fee to multiple recruiting agencies and also have to travel long distances for appearing in various exams.
  • Approximately 1.25 lakh government jobs are advertised every year for which 2.5 crore aspirants appear in various examinations.
  • A common eligibility Test would enable these candidates to appear once and apply to any or all of these recruitment agencies for the higher level of examination.

About the agency

 National Recruitment Agency will be a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act. It will be headed by a Chairman of the rank of the Secretary to the Government of India. It will have representatives of Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB & IBPS.

The Government has sanctioned a sum of Rs. 1517.57 crore for the National Recruitment Agency (NRA). The expenditure will be undertaken over a period of three years. It is envisioned that the NRA would be a specialist body bringing the state-of-the-art technology and best practices to the field of Central Government recruitment.

Features of the CET

  • The NRA will conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for recruitment to non-gazetted posts in government and public sector banks.
  • This test aims to replace multiple examinations conducted by different recruiting agencies for selection to government jobs advertised each year, with single online test.
  • The Common Eligibility Test will be held twice a year.
  • There will be different CETs for graduate level, 12th Pass level and 10th pass level to facilitate recruitment to vacancies at various levels.
  • The CET will be conducted in 12 major Indian languages. This is a major change, as hitherto examinations for recruitment to Central Government jobs were held only in English and Hindi.
  • To begin with CET will cover recruitments made by three agencies : viz. Staff Selection Commission, Railway Recruitment Board and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection. This will be expanded in a phased manner.
  • CET will be held in 1,000 centres across India in a to bid remove the currently prevalent urban bias.
  • There will be an examination centre in every district of the country.
  • There will be a special thrust on creating examination infrastructure in the 117 aspirational districts.
  • CET will be a first level test to shortlist candidates and the score will be valid for three years.
  • There shall be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by a candidate to appear in the CET subject to the upper age limit.
  • Age relaxation for SC/ST and OBC candidates as per existing rules will apply.

Centre to set up National Recruitment Agency to conduct common test for government jobs - The Hindu

CET will work as a screening test, and based on the CET score level, final selection for recruitment shall be made through separate specialised tier one and tier two exams, which shall be conducted by the respective recruitment agencies.

The scores would be open for other agencies in the public as well as private domain to adopt it if they so choose. Thus, in the long run, the CET score could be shared with other recruiting agencies in the Central Government, State Governments/Union Territories, Public Sector Undertaking and Private Sector. This would help such organizations in saving costs and time spent on recruitment.

What will be the advantages for students?

  • Removes the hassle of appearing in multiple examinations.
  • Single examination fee would reduce financial burden that multiple exams imposed.
  • Since exams will be held in every district, it would substantially save travel and lodging cost for the candidates.
  • Examination in their own district would encourage more and more women candidates also to apply for government jobs.
  • Applicants are required to register on a single Registration portal.
  • No need to worry about clashing of examination dates.

What will be the advantages for Institutions?

  • Removes the hassle of conducting preliminary / screening test of candidates.
  • Drastically reduces the recruitment cycle.
  • Brings standardization in examination pattern.
  • Reduces costs for different recruiting agencies. Rs 600 crore savings expected.

The Government also plans to provide outreach and awareness facility to assist candidates in rural and far flung areas to familiarize them with the online examination system. 24×7 helpline will be set up for answering queries, complaints and queries.

Will it affect UPSC Prelims exam?

  • Government said that there are more than 20 recruitment agencies currently under the Central government. Although it is taking exams of only three common agencies as of now, in course of time there will be one Common Eligibility Test for all recruitment agencies in the country.
  • The NRA will conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for recruitment to non-gazetted posts in government and public sector banks.
  • Going by the point that CET is meant for recruitment to non-gazetted posts, it means that UPSC, however, will continue to deal with top administrative exams, including the coveted the civil services exams.


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