National Recruitment Agency (NRA)
In News: Cabinet approves creation of National Recruitment Agency (NRA), paving the way for a transformational reform in the recruitment process for central government jobs
Background: Over 85 per cent of employment in India is in the informal sector. An unplanned national lockdown halted economic activity and wiped out livelihoods, especially of informal workers. The Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) estimates that between mid-March and mid-April, 120 million people lost their jobs, with unemployment rising to an all-time high of 27 per cent. Left with nothing, we saw reverse migration on an unprecedented scale — some 10 million people abandoned cities to return to their native villages.
National Recruitment Agency
A multi-agency body to encompass the first level test by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and the Institute of Banking Service Personnel (IBPS)
- Common eligibility Test (CET) to screen candidates at the first level for SSC, RRBs and IBPS
- A computer based online Common Eligibility Test (CET) for the Graduate, the Higher Secondary (12thpass) and the Matriculate (10th Pass) candidates as a path-breaking reform.
- CET in Every District: Ease of Access to Rural youth, women and disadvantaged candidates
- Multiplicity of exams will not be there
- Robust use of ICT to eradicate malpractices
- CET Score to be valid for three years, no bar on attempts
Recruitment Reform – a major boon for the youth
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.
A new framework is required…
In the words of Raghuram Rajan “the gig economy, which looked so wonderful when things were going swimmingly, is going to look a lot more precarious”. The classic gig anchors, including pioneers of the shared economy, Uber and AirBnB, have laid off thousands of people.
- The current crisis should force a discussion on the levels of social protection which should be available to gig workers including wage protection, health benefits and safety assurance.
- The government could play the role of a facilitator, in partnership with the private sector, to create a unified database to provide efficient hiring solutions. People working from home, out of choice or compulsion, would get a credible medium to find the best fit for their skills.
- The low enrolment of girls for higher education in science, technology, engineering and math would constrict their universe of opportunity in the gig world. Going ahead, this would need greater policy attention to ensure gender parity.
- A comprehensive employment policy combined with an industrial policy (to boost growth of medium and large firms) is necessary to address the transformation of agrarian workforce, boost real wages, and to ensure industrial development.
- We must encourage the migration of people to higher productivity occupations in our cities. And we must ensure that clean, affordable and accessible housing is available for all in our cities.
- The real issue at hand is not solely of job creation but also of creation of quality jobs.
- Reverse migration is also an opportunity to collaborate in spreading the geography of development.
- The easiest way to grow farmer incomes is by having them grow more value-added crops. Fruits and vegetables have great export potential, and exports must be consistently encouraged and not switched on and off as domestic prices change. And the cultivation of palm plantations has the potential for huge import substitution. The Atmanirbhar agricultural reforms, which permit contract farming, and open up agricultural markets, are major medium-term reforms. Implemented right, they can transform agricultural markets.
- We need to encourage agro-processing near the source. Fostering entrepreneurship in rural and semi-urban areas would combine nicely with local processing.
- We need to invest even more massively in rural connectivity. Many years ago, the great sociologist Alex Inkeles was asked if there was only one thing that could be done to foster development, what would it be. His answer was to build roads which connect producers to markets, heads to knowledge, and people to each other. Today, we would add digital connectivity to road connectivity to level the playing field for all regardless of where they live.
Connecting the Dots:
- COVID-19 has induced a domino effect in the global job market. Discuss.
- Great opportunity cohabits with great risk. Explain with reference to jobs in the post COVID19 world.