The Finance Ministry has approved a proposal to streamline recruitment of Group-B (non-gazetted), Group-C (non-technical) and clerical posts in the government along with various equivalent recruitment in public sector banks, it is learnt.
A new National Recruitment Agency (NRA) will be set up to conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for all these competitive examinations, in which an estimated 2.5 crore candidates appear annually.
Sources in the Finance Ministry said that the Department of Expenditure approved the proposal recently, and it is now likely to go to the Union Cabinet for its consideration.
Sources said the proposed NRA will conduct preliminary examinations for all these recruitment, which are at present conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS). As per the proposal, the NRA will subsequently forward the list of qualifying candidates to the respective recruiting agencies to conduct the mains examinations, they explained.
The SSC and IBPS, it is learnt, will not be disbanded for now and will conduct the mains examinations as usual.
Why a new agency is proposed
The proposal for a new agency is meant to streamline recruitment process on subordinate-rank posts in the government. The proposed NRA is expected to reduce the burden of SSC and the IBPS, among others, from holding preliminary recruitment exams, which is an extensive exercise. Once up and running, NRA will work as a preliminary single-window agency to shortlist qualifying candidates from bulk of applicants and forward the list to SSC, IBPS, etc, to hold the mains.
According to an estimate, more than 2.5 crore candidates sit for these prelims, most of them conducted by SSC. Recruitment conducted at present through the SSC and proposed to go to the new agency include the Combined Graduate Level (CGL) examination to enter government departments as Assistant Section Officers and several other examinations for Customs and Central Excise, Income Tax Department, and Ministry of Railways, among others.
Similarly, recruitment tests for clerical-level recruitment in public sector banks are proposed to go to the NRA. The proposed agency, however, will not be in charge of recruitment of Probationary Officers (PO) in banks, sources said.
Sources said the basic idea behind this proposal is to shortlist qualifying candidates through a Common Eligibility Test before sending them for the mains examination.