The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the creation of the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) for conducting a common eligibility test for central government jobs, initiating a “landmark reform” in the recruitment process. The Union Cabinet meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said that it will allow job-seekers to take one common test and save costs and time spent on writing multiple exams. This has been a major demand of the youths for many years which has been fulfilled, he said.

How the NRA works?

The NRA will conduct a common eligibility test to shortlist candidates for the Group B and C (non -technical) posts, which are now being conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railways Recruitment Board (SSC) and Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS). More exams may be brought under its umbrella.

The test will be conducted for three levels: graduate, higher secondary and matriculate candidates. 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. The examination will be conducted by the respective recruitment agencies. However, the present recruitment agencies– IBPS, RRB, and SCC — will remain in place.

In how many languages will the test be conducted?

The test will be conducted in multiple languages, i.e 12 languages.

For how long will the test score be applicable?

The test score of a candidate shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of the result announced. The best of the scores that is valid will be considered to the current score of the candidate. There will be no limit to the number of times that candidate can appear for the test however, there will be an upper age limit.

As per the existing policy of the Government, the relaxation in the age limit shall be given to candidates of SC/ST/OBC and other categories.

For now, the scores of the common test will be used by three major recruitment agencies, but other agencies would be included over a period of time.

Where will be the examination centre be?

The examination centres will be in every district of the country and no candidate will now have to travel out of their district for taking this common exam.

How will the common eligibility test be helpful?

On average, around 2.5 crore to 3 crore candidates appear in each of these examinations and a common eligibility test would enable them to appear once and apply to any or all of these recruitment agencies for the higher level of examination.

Amount sanctioned for the NRA?

The government has sanctioned a sum of Rs 1,517.57 crore for setting up the NRA, which will be headquartered in Delhi. It will have a chairman of the rank of a Secretary to the government.

The expenditure will be undertaken over a period of three years. Apart from setting up the NRA, the costs will be incurred on setting up examination infrastructure in the 117 aspirational districts.