The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister on August 19, has proposed setting up a National Recruitment Agency (NRA) that will conduct a common preliminary examination for various recruitments in the central government. Until now, aspirants had to take a number of tests, conducted by various departments, for a job in these. The NRA proposes to hold a Common Examination Test (CET), the score of which will allow aspirants to apply to different departments based on the vacancy. NRA will be registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and will be headed by a Chairman of the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
The CET is designed for recruitment to the non-gazetted posts in the government and public banks. Approximately, 1.25 lakh government jobs are advertised every year for which 2.5 crore aspirants appear in various examinations. CET will replace all these various examination into a single online test. However, the present recruitment agencies, namely - Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) – will remain in place and NRA will infact have representatives from each of these three agencies. The test will be conducted for three levels: graduate, matriculate and the higher secondary candidates. Based on the initial shortlisting through this test, final selection for recruitment shall be made through separate specialised ‘Tiers’ of examination which will be conducted by the respective recruitment agencies. CET will be held twice a year and will have a common prescribed syllabus.
With testing centres set up in every district, CET will be conducted in 12 languages. It is aimed at reducing the ‘urban bias’. A common test according to the officials will greatly reduce time and cost incurred by aspirants while giving multiple tests throughout the year. The exam pattern will also become standardised. The Union Cabinet has approved an amount of Rs1517.57 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’.