Topic: General Studies 2:
- Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive
National Recruitment Agency (NRA)
Context: Recently the government has approved the creation of a national recruitment agency.
What is NRA?
- NRA is a testing agency which would be responsible for conducting the Common Eligibility Examination (CET) for non-gazetted Group B and C(non-technical) posts
- To begin with, NRA CET would cover recruitment examinations for Railway Recruitment Board (RRB), Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS Clerk, PO) and Staff Selection Commission (SSC CHSL, CGL, Steno Group C, D, JHT, etc.).
- Gradually, all Central government recruitment agencies would be brought under the NRA.
- NRA will be set up under the Societies Registration Act
- It would have representatives of the Ministry of Railways, Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB and IBPS.
About Common Eligibility Test
- Objective: It would merely check the eligibility of the candidates to appear for the recruitment process and is not same as a recruitment examination.
- Nature of Exam: It is like a preliminary or Tier 1 examination where the general and basic aptitude of the candidate is tested.
- Mode: This would be an online examination and would be time bound.
- Frequency: NRA would release the schedule for the CET, which would be conducted twice every year.
- Language: Candidates would be able to choose the medium of instruction from 12 major Indian languages, which will be expanded to other languages in future.
- Validity: Once the exam is conducted, the candidates would be provided with their CET score, that would be valid for a period of three years.
- Differentiated: Separate CET’s would be conducted for the different levels of eligibility – 10th pass, 12th pass and graduates
- Utility: Based on 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
Would NRA also cover UPSC Exams?
- No. UPSC conducts the recruitment examinations for Group A and Group B posts. These examinations do not come under the ambit of NRA.
Merits of NRA & CET
- Leveraging Technology to enhance Integrity of exam: A standardised question bank with multiple questions of similar difficulty levels will be created in a central server. An algorithm will be used to jumble and dole out different questions, so that each candidate receives a different question paper, reducing the chances of cheating and paper leakage.
- Reduces Recruitment Cycle: Scores will be generated quickly, delivered online and be valid for a three-year period. Presently these exam cycle process takes on an average 6-12 months
- Increases Access to Exams: To make it easier for candidates, examination centres would be set up in every district of the country
- Huge Savings for recruiters & candidates: For the recruiting agencies, the savings in terms of logistics will be huge. Also, candidates would no longer have to travel to urban centres at considerable expense and hardship to take an employment test
- Applicant Friendly: The candidate may qualify the CET once and then appear for multiple recruitments directly for a period of 3 years (provided he meets the other criteria)
- Unfilled Vacancies: New posts are sanctioned periodically, but a large number of vacancies remain unfilled. Around 7 Lakh Government Posts Remained Unoccupied till March 2018, according to government sources
- Growing Privatisation: With growing emphasis on transferring core railway services to the private sector, there may be fewer government jobs on offer in the future.
- Similar reform needed at State level: Only 14% of public employment comes under the purview of Centre (predominantly in railways & defence), with the rest falling within the purview of States.
- Needs Sustained Political Commitment: The long-term relevance of such reforms will depend on the commitment of governments to raise the level of public employment and expand services to the public
Connecting the dots:
- National Testing Agency
- Issues with NEET