Govt to set up a National Recruitment Agency

The NRA is built on the line of the Government’s commitment to digitise a wide range of services and operations, making them more efficient and accessible

August 19, 2020

NRA will reduce the recruitment cycle, standardise the examination pattern, and cut costs for recruiting agencies by Rs.6 billion

Approximately 125,000 government jobs are advertised every year for which 25 million aspirants appear in various examinations

Examination in their local district would encourage more women candidates to apply for government jobs - a critical target

The CET to be conducted in 12 languages. In the past, recruitment exams to Central Government jobs were held only in English, Hindi

The Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on August 19 approved the proposal to set up the National Recruitment Agency (NRA), marking a paradigm shift in government recruitment. At present, candidates seeking government jobs have to appear for separate examinations conducted by multiple recruiting agencies for various posts. Candidates have to pay fees to multiple recruiting agencies and also have to travel long distances for appearing in various exams. The NRA promises to streamline the recruitment process, benefitting government operations.

Approximately 125,000 government jobs are advertised every year for which 25 million aspirants appear in various 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. The NRA will now conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for recruitment to non-gazetted posts in the Government and public sector banks. This test aims to replace multiple examinations conducted by different recruiting agencies for selection to government jobs with a single online test.

Features of the NRA:

  • The Common Eligibility Test will be held twice a year.
  • There will be different CETs for graduate level, 12th Pass level and 10th pass level to facilitate recruitment to vacancies at various levels.
  • The CET will be conducted in 12 Indian languages. In the past, examinations for recruitment to Central Government jobs were held only in English and Hindi.
  • To begin with, CET will cover recruitments made by three agencies: viz. Staff Selection Commission, Railway Recruitment Board, and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection. This will be expanded in a phased manner.
  • CET will be held in 1,000 centres across India in a bid to remove the currently prevalent urban bias. There will be an examination centre in every district of the country. There will be a special thrust on creating examination infrastructure in the 117 aspirational districts.
  • CET will be a first level test to shortlist candidates and the score will be valid for three years.
  • 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. Age relaxation for SC/ST and OBC candidates as per existing rules will apply.

Advantages for Applicants:

  • Removes the hassle of appearing in multiple examinations.
  • Single examination fee would reduce the financial burden that multiple exams imposed.
  • Since exams will be held in every district, it would substantially save travel and lodging costs for the candidates. 
  • Examination in their local district would encourage more and more women candidates also to apply for government jobs.
  • Applicants are required to register on a single registration portal, boosting fair competition. 
  • No need to worry about the clashing of examination dates.

Advantages for Institutions:

  • Removes the hassle of conducting preliminary / screening tests of candidates.
  • Drastically reduces the recruitment cycle.
  • Brings standardization in the examination pattern.
  • Reduces costs for different recruiting agencies. Rs.6 billion savings are expected.

The NRA, with a budget of Rs.15.2 billion for three years, will be a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act. It will be headed by a Chairman at the rank of a Secretary to the Government. It will have representatives of the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance, the Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB, and IBPS. The Government also plans to provide outreach and awareness facility to assist candidates from rural and remote areas to familiarize them with the online examination system. Additionally, a 24×7 helpline will be set up for resolving queries and complaints.

The NRA is built on the line of the Government’s commitment to digitise a wide range of services and operations, making them more efficient and accessible. The platform will not just improve recruitment of the best talent to the Government, it will also help deliver increased parity in access to opportunities. This will contribute to enhancing the country’s socio-economic development.