What is the National Recruitment Agency | Common Eligibility Test

National Recruitment Agency (NRA) is an agency set up by the Indian Government that will conduct a common preliminary examination named Common Eligibility Test for various recruitments in the central government. The Common Eligibility Test would be held mainly for the recruitment of non-gazetted posts in government and public sector banks.

According to the proposal, the common recruitment exam would replace the examinations that are hitherto conducted by SSC, IBPS, and Railways and are held every year. The recruitment agencies that conduct these examinations in the current times include the

  • Staff Selection Commission (SSC),
  • Railway Recruitment Board (RRB), and
  • the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).

It is important to mention that the NRA will not replace these recruitment agencies or the exams entirely. These agencies would still remain intact and would be responsible for conducting the specific exams (Phase-II) for the screened candidates.

Important Points Regarding National Recruitment Agency (NRA)

  • The National Recruitment Agency or NRA will be a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act,1860.
  • It will be headed by a Chairman of the rank of the Secretary to the Government of India. Additionally, the National Recruitment Agency will have
  • representatives of the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB & IBPS.
  • The government has sanctioned a consolidated sum of Rs. 1517.57 crore for setting up of the National Recruitment Agency (NRA)

Why Is the NRA needed?

In the current scenario, candidates have to appear for different recruitment exams conducted by different recruitment agencies. About 2.3 crore candidates appear for 1.25 lakh vacancies every year in different examinations conducted by SSC, RRB, and IBPS. When the National Recruitment Agency will be set up, it will conduct a Common Eligibility Test (CET) for all these aspirants. On the basis of the CET score, a candidate can apply for a vacancy with the respective agency of his choice.

Will the NRA conduct a test for all government vacancies?

Initially, it will organize 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)
  • Matriculation (10th pass).
  • 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 specialized Tiers (II, III, etc.) of examination which shall be conducted

Examination centre

To make it easier and economic physible for candidates, examination centers 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.

Validity of CET Score?

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.

Features of Common Eligibility Test (CET)

Some of the salient features of CET include:

  • This CET would be conducted twice a year.
  • There will be three different CETs, for the 10th pass (secondary) candidates, for 10+2 (higher secondary), and for graduates to facilitate the recruitment drive at different levels.
  • It is proposed that CET will be conducted in 12 different languages.
  • The syllabus for the CET would be common for all the aspirants irrespective of which profile they’re giving the exam for. The various sections may include Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning, General Awareness, and English COmprehension.
  • This exam will be held at about 1000 centers across the country.
  • In the initial phase, the CET will cover recruitments hitherto conducted by three major agencies: viz. SSC, RRB, and IBPS at Group B and C (non -technical) posts. This will be further expanded in a phased manner.
  • The proposed common eligibility test (CET) will be the Phase-I test that will screen the candidates. On the basis of CET score, the candidates can further sit for further levels conducted by respective recruitment agencies.
  • The validity of the score of CET will be three years.
  • While there shall be no limits on the number of attempts, there will be age restrictions subject to recruitment agencies.

This is the overview of the National Recruitment Agency and the Common Eligibility Test that will be applicable to all the central government job recruitments from 2021 onwards.

NRA Government Notification