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National Recruitment Agency (NRA): Salient Features, Advantages and Key Facts

According to PM Narendra Modi, ‘National Recruitment Agency (NRA) will prove to be a boon for crores of youngsters.’ What is the National Recruitment Agency (NRA), what are its salient features and advantages to students as well as to institutions?

The Union Cabinet approves the setting up of National Recruitment Agency to conduct Common Eligibility Test on 19 August, 2020. It will pave the way for a transformational reform in the recruitment process for central government jobs.

What is National Recruitment Agency (NRA)?

It is a Multi-Agency Body which will encompass the primary or first level test by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and therefore the Institute of Banking Service Personnel (IBPS). With the set up of NRA, there will be a Common Eligibility Test (CET) to screen candidates at the first level for SSC, RRBs and IBPS.

Why there is a need for National Recruitment Agency (NRA)?

Currently, candidates applying for government jobs have to appear for separate examinations conducted by several recruiting agencies for various posts. It has also seen that candidates pay fee to several recruiting agencies and also have to travel long distances for appearing in various exams.

Every year approximately 1.25 lakh government jobs are advertised and for this, around 2.5 crore aspirants appear in various examinations. Common Eligibility Test (CET) would enable these candidates to appear once and apply to any or all of these recruitment agencies for the higher level of examination.

Therefore the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) will conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for recruitment to the non-gazetted posts in government and public sector banks.

What are the salient features of National Recruitment Agency (NRA)?

– In twice a year the Common Eligibility Test (CET) will be held.

– For graduate-level, 12th Pass level and 10th pass level, there will be different Common Eligibility Tests (CETs). It will facilitate recruitment to vacancies at several levels.

– The Common Eligibility Test will be conducted in 12 Indian languages.

Note: This is a major change as examinations held for the recruitment to Central Government jobs were held only in two languages English and Hindi.

– In the starting, CET will cover recruitments made by three agencies namely Staff Selection Commission, Railway Recruitment Board and the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection. It will be expanded in a phased manner.

– Across the country, CET will be held in 1,000 centres to remove the presently prevalent urban bias. In every district of the country, there will be an examination centre. Also, there will be a special thrust on developing examination infrastructure in the 117 aspirational districts.

– The first level test will be CET to shortlist candidates and for three years the score will be valid.

– No restriction has been defined on the number of attempts taken by a candidate to appear in the CET subject to the upper age limit. There will be age relaxation as per existing rules for SC/ST and OBC.

Advantages of National Recruitment Agency (NRA)

With the Common Eligibility Test (CET) there will be a Uniform Transformative Recruitment Process.

– It will remove the hassles of appearing in various examinations.

– It will eradicate malpractices.

– Common Eligibility Test will reduce Recruitment Cycle.

– It will provide relief to poor candidates. Apart from the examination fees, candidates have to incur additional expenses in terms of travelling, boarding, lodging, etc. Therefore, a single examination will reduce all these types of burden on candidates to a large extent.

– Women candidates will also be benefitted with the NRA. As the location of test centres in every District would help and benefit the candidates from rural areas in general and women candidates in particular.

– Under the NRA, the candidates by appearing in one examination will get an opportunity to compete for various posts.

– By conducting the first-level/Tier I Examination by NRA is the stepping stone for several other selections.

– Under NRA, candidates can schedule their own tests at Centres of their choice.

– NRA will shorten the recruitment cycle also.

Around Rs 1517.57 crore has been sanctioned by the Government for the National Recruitment Agency (NRA). For over a period of three years the expenditure will be undertaken. Apart from setting up the NRA, costs are going to be incurred for setting up examination infrastructure in the 117 Aspirational Districts.


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