Indian Cabinet on August 19, 2020, made a big administrative reform announcement, Common Eligibility Test (CET). To conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for all competitive examinations in India a new National Recruitment Agency (NRA) will be set up. NRA Common Eligibility Test will use to recruit candidates towards non-gazetted posts in the central government and public sector banks.
NRA Common Eligibility Test (CET)
Every year different recruitment bodies in India conduct their recruitment tests for hiring new candidates towards their services. Among them, Staff Selection Commission of India (SSC), Railway Recruitment Board (RRB), and Institute of Banking and Personnel Selection (IBPS) are the major players. Every year these agencies advertise 1.25 lakh Group B and C jobs with separate schedules and fees. They do attract about bout 2.5 crores to 3 crore candidates for this recruitment process. In a couple of events, these exam dates clash with each other forcing the candidates to choose one over the other, and eventually, he/ she will lose the application fee of the other. This autonomous recruitment agency, National Recruitment Agency by the central government will streamline the hiring processes. The registration portal and syllabus will be common with single entrance fee.
The proposal for the National Recruitment Agency and CET was first introduced in the Union Budget 2020 by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Minister quoted, ” The new agency is going to be an “independent, professional, specialist organisation and can conduct an exam, which would be known as the Common Eligibility Test, for selection to government jobs,”. The government-sanctioned ₹1,517.57 crores for the NRA for three years. With this fund, NRA will set up testing infrastructure in every district to make at least one test centre in each district.
Three Agencies Under NRA
To start with, three of the over 20 Central government recruitment agencies would be brought under the NRA. They are:
- Staff Selection Commission
- Railway Recruitment Board, and
- Institute of Banking, and Personnel Selection
The preliminary test for the RRB, SSC, and IBPS would be conducted by the NRA. Based on their performances the candidates can use their scores from this CET to apply to the individual agencies for the next round. Gradually all Central government recruitment agencies would be brought under this National Recruitment Agency (NAR). Thus reduces the burden of SSC and the IBPS, among others, from holding preliminary recruitment exams, which is an extensive exercise.
The NRA CET would be held online and centres would be set up in every district. The test would be available in multiple languages including all those notified under Schedule 8 of the Constitution. The agency will create a question bank with multiple questions of similar difficulty levels in the central server. With the help of a program, different questions will be shell out to the candidates, so each candidate gets different question paper. Thus reduces the chances of cheating and paper leakage.
The hiring of Group-B (non-gazetted), Group-C (non-technical) and clerical posts in the government along with various equivalent recruitment in public sector banks will be done through CET from 2021 onwards. There will be separate CET each for the three levels of graduate, higher secondary (12th pass) and the matriculate (10th pass) candidates. The score of NRA CET will be valid for three years. There shall be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by an aspirant to appear in the NRA CET bound to the upper age limit.
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