National Recruitment Agency UPSC

National Recruitment Agency | UPSC


Cabinet approves setting up of National Recruitment Agency to conduct Common Eligibility Test

      WHY 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

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Human Resource : Education


For PRELIMS go through the important features of NRA , Exam guidelines and Procedure .

For MAINS make awesome answer on this topic . This can surely help you on a longer run . Let us dive in!



NRA: 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
  • CET: 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.

Focus on access to Test Centres in Aspirational Districts

  • Uniform Transformative Recruitment Process
  • Multiplicity of Exams Out
  • Robust use of ICT to Eradicate Malpractices
  • A first stage screening of eligible candidates
  • CET to reduce Recruitment Cycle
  • NRA to conduct Mock Test for rural youth

National Recruitment Agency (NRA), paving the way for a transformational reform in the recruitment process for central government jobs.

National Recruitment Agency | UPSC

NRA to have mock tests, 24×7 helpline and grievance redressal portal


  • At present, candidates seeking government jobs have to appear for separate examinations conducted by multiple recruiting agencies for various posts.
  • 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

This involves 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 multi-agency body called the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) will conduct a Common Eligibility Test (CET) to screen/shortlist candidates.

This will be only for the Group B and C (non-technical) posts

  • NRA will have representatives of Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB & IBPS.
  • It is envisioned that the NRA would be a specialist body bringing the state-of-the-art technology and best practices to Central Government recruitment.


  • Examination Centres in every District of the country would greatly enhance access to the candidates located in far-flung areas.
  • Special focus will be on creating examination infrastructure in the 117 Aspirational Districts.

The benefits in terms of cost, effort, safety and much more would be immense.   

  • It will motivate the rural candidates residing in the far-flung areas to take the up Central Government jobs.


  • Presently, the candidates have to appear in multiple examinations conducted by multiple agencies.

Apart from the examination fees, candidates have to incur additional expenses for travel, boarding, lodging and other such.

  • A single examination would reduce the financial burden on candidates to a large extent.


  • Women candidates especially from rural areas face constraints in appearing in multiple examinations.
  • They sometimes 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.


  • Given the financial and other constraints, the candidates have a choice as to which examination they want to appear in.

The candidates by appearing in one examination will get an opportunity to compete for many posts.

  • NRA will conduct the first-level /Tier I Examination which is the stepping stone for many other selections.


  • The CET score of the candidate shall be valid for a period of 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 shall be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by a candidate to appear in the CET subject to the upper age limit.

  • Relaxation in the upper age limit shall be given to candidates of SC/ST/OBC and other categories as per the extant policy of the Government.

National Recruitment Agency


  • Candidates would have the facility of registering on a common portal and give a choice of Centres.
  • Based on availability, they would be allotted Centres.

The ultimate aim is to reach a stage wherein candidates can schedule their own tests at Centres of their choice.


  • The CET would be available in a number of languages.
  • This would greatly facilitate people from different parts of the country to take the exam .

Thus everyone will have an equal opportunity of being selected.


  • Initially the scores would be used by the three major recruitment agencies.
  • However, over a period of time it is expected that other recruitment agencies in the Central Government would adopt the same.

Further, it would be open for other agencies in the public as well as private domain to adopt it if they so choose.   

  • Thus, in the long run, the CET score could be shared with other recruiting agencies in the Central Government, State Governments.
  • This would help such organizations in saving costs and time spent on recruitment.


  • A single eligibility test would significantly reduce the recruitment cycle.
  • Some Departments have indicated their intention to do away with any second level test .

This will go ahead with recruitment on the basis of CET scores, Physical Tests and Medical examination.

  • This would greatly reduce the cycle and benefit a large section of youth.


  • The Government has sanctioned a sum of Rs. 1517.57 crore for the National Recruitment Agency (NRA).

The expenditure will be undertaken over a period of three years.

  • Apart from setting up the NRA, costs will be incurred for setting up examination infrastructure in the 117 Aspirational Districts.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • 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.
  • Based on the screening done at the CET score level.

The final selection for recruitment shall be made through separate specialised Tiers (II, III etc)  by the respective recruitment agencies.

  • The curriculum for this test would be common as would be the standard.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | National Recruitment Agency


If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for Daily Current Affairs , Editorial Analysis & Answer writing video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

You May Also Like