Paving the way for a transformational reform in the recruitment process for central government jobs, India on Wednesday, August 19, gave the approval for setting up the National Recruitment Agency (NRA). The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi gave the nod.
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. The NRA will have representatives from the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, RRB, IBPS and SSC.
Recruitment Reform – a major boon for the youth
Candidates seeking government jobs now have to appear for separate examinations conducted by multiple recruiting agencies for various posts, for which similar eligibility conditions have been prescribed. Moreover, they also have to pay fee to multiple recruiting agencies and also have to travel long distances for appearing in various exams. On an average, 2.5 crore to 3 crore candidates appear in each of these examinations. A common eligibility Test would enable these candidates to appear once and apply to any or all of these recruitment agencies for the higher level of examination. This would indeed be a boon to all the candidates, an official release said.
There would be examination Centres in every District. Examination infrastructure will also be developed in 117 Aspirational Districts. 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, the release said.
Relief to poor Candidates
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, the release said.
It said that the whole system would be helpful for women candidates, especially from rural areas. Most of the time, they face constraints in appearing in multiple examinations as they have to arrange for transportation and places to stay in places that are far away. The location of test centres in every District would greatly benefit candidates from rural areas in general and women candidates in particular, the release said.
Bonanza for Candidates from Rural Areas
Once NRA comes into force, the candidates will get an opportunity to compete for many posts by appearing in one examination. The NRA will conduct the first-level /Tier I Examination which is the stepping stone for many other selections.
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. 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.
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.
Scheduling Tests and choosing Centres
Candidates would have the facility of registering on a common portal and give a choice of Centres.
The CET would be available in a number of languages. This would greatly facilitate people from different parts of the country to take the exam and have an equal opportunity of being selected.
Scores – access to multiple recruitment agencies
Initially the scores would be used by the three major recruitment agencies. However, over a period of time it is expected that other recruitment agencies in the Central Government would adopt the same. In the long run, the CET score could be shared with other recruiting agencies in the Central Government, State Governments/Union Territories, Public Sector Undertaking and Private Sector. This would help such organizations in saving costs and time spent on recruitment.
Shortening the recruitment cycle
A single eligibility test would 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.
The Government has sanctioned a sum of Rs. 1517.57 crore for the National Recruitment Agency (NRA). The expenditure will be undertaken over a period of three years. Apart from setting up the NRA, costs will be incurred for setting up examination infrastructure in the 117 Aspirational Districts.