The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to set up a National Recruitment Agency (NRA). The proposed NRA will conduct a common preliminary examination for various recruitments in the central government.
As of now, aspirants have to take different exams that are conducted by various agencies for central government jobs. According to C Chandramouli, Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training, on an average 2.5 crore to 3 crore aspirants appear for about 1.25 lakh vacancies in the central government every year.
As and when it will be set up, the NRA will conduct a common eligibility test (CET) and based on the CET score a candidate can apply for a vacancy with the respective agency.
Initially, it will organise a CET to screen/shortlist candidates for the Group B and C (non -technical) posts, which are now being conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railways Recruitment Board (SSC) and Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS). Later on, more exams may be brought under it.
The agency will have representatives from SSC, IBPS and RRB. The test will be conducted for three levels: graduate, higher secondary (12th pass) and the matriculate (10th pass) candidates. However, the present recruitment agencies– IBPS, RRB and SCC — will remain in place. Based on the screening done at the CET score level, final selection for recruitment shall be made through separate specialised Tiers (II, III, etc.) of examination which shall be conducted by the respective recruitment agencies. The curriculum for CET would be common.
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To make it easier for candidates, examination centres would be set up in every district of the country. A special focus will be on creating examination infrastructure in the 117 ‘Aspirational Districts’. The government says that the move will benefit the poor candidates, as in the present system they have to appear in multiple examinations conducted by multiple agencies. They have to incur expenditure on examination fees, travel, boarding, lodging and other things. The single examination is expected to reduce the financial burden on such candidates.
The CET score of a candidate shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of declaration of the result. The best of the valid scores shall be deemed to be the current score of the candidate. While there will be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by a candidate to appear in the CET, it will be subject to the upper age limit. However, the relaxation in the upper age limit shall be given to candidates of SC/ST/OBC and other categories as per the extant policy of the Government.
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The CET will be conducted in multiple languages. According to Minister of DoPT Jitendra Singh, the exam will be conducted in 12 languages that are in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
The government says that a single eligibility test would “significantly reduce” the recruitment cycle. Even some of the departments have indicated their intention to do away with any second-level test and go ahead with recruitment on the basis of CET scores, Physical Tests and Medical examination, say sources.
Initially, the Union Cabinet has approved an amount of Rs 1517.57 crore for the NRA, for a period of 3 years. The money will be used for setting up of NRA, and examination centres in ‘aspirational districts’.