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What is National Recruitment Agency? Common Eligibility Test (CET) for govt jobs

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New Delhi, Aug 19: Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday announced that the government will be setting up a National Recruitment Agency to conduct a common eligibility test.

Common eligibility tests for Railways, banks, SSC vacancies

Hailing the decision, Union minister Jitendra Singh called the creation of National Recruitment Agency as an historic decision and said it was possible due to the direct intervention of the Prime Minister.

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Explaining the role of National Recruitment Agency, DoPT Secretary C. Chandramouli said Railways, Banks and SSC examinations will be brought under the newly formed agency.

"Some of the problems faced by candidates are the multiplicity of exams, fees, dates and expenses.

"There are more than 20 recruitment agencies in the Central government. Right now, we are bringing 3 agencies under the National Recruitment Agency and will eventually bring all of them under it"

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    "There are 1.25 lakh vacancies every year in Group B and C for Railways, banks and SSC for which 2.5 crore-3 crore people apply."

    "The National Recruitment Agency will conduct the tier-1 examination for these three agencies online."

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    The agency will conduct exams in 12 languages, and it will be expanded to include more regional languages. The score will be valid for three years and candidates will have a chance to improve their score by taking the exam again.

    Common registration, single fee, and common curriculum are among the benefits for candidates, he added.

    Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the proposal in her Union budget speech on February 1 this year.

    Key points:

    • NRA will be an autonomous society under Societies Act
    • NRA will conduct Tier-1 examination- Common Eligibility Test, CET
    • CET will be online examination
    • Every district will have atleast one exam centre

    What is National Recruitment Agency (NRA)?

    A multi-agency body called the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) will conduct a Common Eligibility Test (CET) to screen/shortlist candidates for the Group B and C (non-technical) posts. NRA will have representatives of Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB & IBPS. It is envisioned that the NRA would be a specialist body bringing the state-of-the-art technology and best practices to the field of Central Government recruitment.

    Examination Centres:

    Examination Centres in every District of the country would greatly enhance access to the candidates located in far-flung areas. Special focus on creating examination infrastructure in the 117 Aspirational Districts would go a long way in affording access to candidates at a place nearer to where they reside. The benefits in terms of cost, effort, safety and much more would be immense. The proposal will not only ease access to rural candidates, it will also motivate the rural candidates residing in the far-flung areas to take the examination and thereby, enhance their representation in Central Government jobs. Taking job opportunities closer to the people is a radical step that would greatly enhance ease of living for the youth.

    Relief to poor Candidates

    Presently, the candidates have to appear in multiple examinations conducted by multiple agencies. Apart from the examination fees, candidates have to incur additional expenses for travel, boarding, lodging and other such. A single examination would reduce the financial burden on candidates to a large extent.

    Women candidates to benefit greatly

    Women candidates especially from rural areas face constraints in appearing in multiple examinations as they have to arrange for transportation and places to stay in places that are far away. They sometimes have to find suitable persons to accompany them to these Centres that are located far away. The location of test centres in every District would greatly benefit candidates from rural areas in general and women candidates in particular.

    CET Score to be valid for three years, no bar on attempts

    The CET score of the 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. There shall be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by a candidate to appear in the CET subject to the upper age limit. 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. This would go a long way in mitigating the hardship of candidates who spend a considerable amount of time, money and effort preparing and giving these examinations every year.

    Standardised Testing

    NRA shall conduct a separate CET each for the three levels of graduate, higher secondary (12th pass) and the matriculate (10th pass) candidates for those non-technical posts to which recruitment is presently carried out by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS). 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 this test would be common as would be the standard. This would greatly ease the burden of candidates who are at present required to prepare for each of the examinations separately as per different curriculum.

    Scheduling Tests and choosing Centres

    Candidates would have the facility of registering on a common portal and give a choice of Centres. Based on availability, they would be allotted Centres. The ultimate aim is to reach a stage wherein candidates can schedule their own tests at Centres of their choice.

    Why National Recruitment Agency was set up?

    A single eligibility test would significantly reduce the recruitment cycle. Some 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. This would greatly reduce the cycle and benefit a large section of youth.

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