The Union Cabinet on Wednesday, approved setting up of National Recruitment Agency, an independent body to conduct examination for government jobs.
The setting up of such an agency to conduct a common eligibility test (CET) was announced in the Union Budget by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in February.
Though the Centre envisages to use the CET score for all recruitments in the future, this will be implemented only in three sectors initially. The central government agencies — Railway Recruitment Board, Staff Selection Commission and Institute of Banking Personnel Selection — will be brought under National Recruitment Agency.
The National Recruitment Agency will conduct the Tier-1 examination for these three agencies online. Examination centres will be set up in each district, with the Centre committing to invest in the necessary infrastructure for 117 aspirational districts.
The examinations will be conducted in 12 languages. The examination will be conducted based on a common curriculum. There will be a common registration, single fee and the candidate need not travel outside the district to appear for the examination.
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.
Scores will be generated quickly, delivered online and be valid for a three-year period. Students can write the test multiple times as long as they are within the eligible age limit, with their best score being taken into account.
Ultimately, the aim is to allow examination by appointment at the convenience of candidates. For now, however, the examination will be held once a year.
Hailing the move as an "historic decision," Union Minister of State, PMO, Jithendra Singh said it was possible due to the direct intervention of the Prime Minister. Dr. Singh said the State governments as well as private firms can also use the CET score for their recruitments.
According to DoPT Secretary C. Chandramouli there are 1.25 lakh vacancies every year in Group B and C for Railways, banks and SSC, known as non-gazetted officers. About 2.5 crore people applying every year for examinations to fill these vacancies, also appear for 50 other recruitment tests for positions at public sector banks, railways, police, paramilitary forces and other State and Central government bodies. The recruitment cycle takes at least 18 months and is often marred by clashing dates, leaked papers and examination scams.