Cabinet Approves National Recruitment Agency (NRA), to conduct Common Eligibility Test (CET)

Cabinet Approves National Recruitment Agency NRA to conduct Common Eligibility test

On 20th August 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by the PM Modi approved creation of National Recruitment Agency (NRA), paving the way for a transformational reform in the recruitment process for central government jobs. NRA will conduct Common Eligibility Test to screen/shortlist candidates for the Group B and C (non-technical) posts and will provide a level playing field to all candidates.


At present, candidates seeking government jobs have to appear for separate examinations conducted by multiple recruiting agencies for various posts, for which similar eligibility conditions have been prescribed. Candidates have to pay fee to multiple recruiting agencies and also have to travel long distances for appearing in various exams. These multiple recruitment examinations are a burden on the candidates, as also on the respective recruitment agencies, involving avoidable/repetitive expenditure, law and order/security related issues and venue related problems.

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.

National Recruitment Agency (NRA)

The National Recruitment Agency (NRA) will be a multi-agency body that will conduct a Common Eligibility Test (CET) to screen/shortlist candidates for the Group B and C (non-technical) posts. NRA will come into force from next year and will be headquartered in Delhi.

NRA will have representatives of Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB & IBPS.

NRA is envisioned to be a specialist body bringing the state-of-the-art technology and best practices to the field of Central Government recruitment. State Governments will also be advised to come on board in a true spirit of Cooperative Federalism. The government hopes that in near future private sector will also join the NRA.


Salient Features of NRA:

  • 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.

  • Access to Examination Centres: Examination Centres in every District of the country would greatly enhance access to the candidates located in far-flung areas.

  • Cost Savings & reduced hassle for Candidates: A single examination would reduce the financial burden on candidates occurring because of multiple examination fees, and additional expenses for travel, boarding, lodging etc. It will also improve chances for women & rural background candidates.

  • Score Validity for 3 years, no bars on attempt: There will be two tests per year under NRA and the scores of the candidates will remain valid for three years. 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.

  • Multiple languages: Besides Hindi and English, tests will be conducted in 12 languages in due course and efforts will be made to include all the languages mentioned in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.

  • Shortening the recruitment cycle: A single eligibility test would significantly reduce the recruitment cycle.

  • Financial Outlay: 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.
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