Role & Functions of National Recruitment Agency – The Big Picture – RSTV IAS UPSC

  • IASbaba
  • September 7, 2020
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The Big Picture- RSTV, UPSC Articles
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Role & Functions of National Recruitment Agency


Topic: General Studies 2

  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

In News: Terming the setting up of a National Recruitment Agency as “historic”, Union minister Jitendra Singh said it will conduct a online Common Eligibility Test for shortlisting candidates for majority of central government jobs twice a year. It is envisioned that the NRA would be a specialist body bringing state of the art technology and best practices to the field of central government recruitment.

The Problem

At present, aspirants have to take different exams that are conducted by various agencies for central government jobs. On average, 2.5-3 crore candidates appear for about 1.25 lakh vacancies in the central government every year.

The 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. The NRA is a combination of convenience and cost-effectiveness for candidates.

National Recruitment Agency

A multi-agency body, the NRA will conduct a Common Eligibility Test (CET) to screen/shortlist candidates for the Group B and C (non-technical) posts. The NRA will have representatives from the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).

A. Taking job opportunities closer to the people

  • Examination centres in every district would greatly enhance access to the candidates located in far-flung areas. 
  • There will be a special focus on creating examination infrastructure in the 117 Aspirational Districts, which will go a long way in affording access to candidates at a place near where they reside. This will prove a great boon to crores of aspirants residing in hilly, rural and remote areas and most importantly, for female candidates who face a plethora of problems in taking such examinations at different centres at different times. The resultant benefits in terms of cost, effort and safety will be immense. 
  • Taking job opportunities closer to the people is a radical step that would greatly enhance ease of living for the youth. 
  • The NRA also envisions conducting mock tests for rural youth and will have a 24×7 helpline and grievance redressal portal.

B. Number of attempts and age

  • The CET score of the candidate shall remain valid for three years from the date of declaration of the result. The best of the valid scores shall be deemed to be the current score of the candidate. 
  • There would be no restriction on the number of attempts to appear in the CET subject to the upper age limit. Relaxation in the upper age limit shall be given to SC/ST/OBC candidates and from other categories as per the extant government policy. This will go a long way in mitigating the hardship of candidates who spend a considerable amount of time, money and effort preparing for and giving these examinations every year.

C. Removal of Multiple Examinations

  • The 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 SSC, RRBs and 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 and standard for this test will be common. This will ease the burden of candidates who are at present required to prepare for each of the examinations separately.

D. Exam should now reach the students

Candidates would have the facility of registering on a common portal and give a choice of centres. Based on availability, they will be allotted centres. The ultimate aim is to reach a stage wherein candidates can schedule their tests at centres of their choice.

E. Equal Opportunity

The CET will be available in several languages. This will greatly facilitate people from different parts of the country to take the exam and have an equal opportunity of being selected. 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.

F. Women candidates to benefit 

Women candidates especially from rural areas face constraints in appearing in multiple examinations as they have to arrange for transportation and places to stay when exam centres are far away. They sometimes also have to find suitable persons to accompany them to these centres that are located far away. The location of test centres in every district would greatly benefit candidates from rural areas in general and women candidates in particular.

Connecting the Dots:

  1. Examine the need for National Recruitment Agency (NRA) in India. Will it be able to  prepare India for the post-COVID period?
  2. Great opportunity cohabits with great risk. Explain with reference to jobs in the post COVID-19 world.

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