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Role and Functions of National Recruitment Agency (27 August 2020)

Role and Functions of National Recruitment Agency (27 August 2020)

Why in News:

Terming the setting up of a National Recruitment Agency as "historic", Union minister Jitendra Singh on August 19 said it will conduct an online Common Eligibility Test for shortlisting candidates for majority of central government jobs twice a year.


He said the multiple recruitment examinations are a burden on the candidates, as also on the respective recruitment agencies, involving avoidable or repetitive expenditure, law and order or security-related issues and venue-related problems. 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 idea of NRA was first mooted in the Union Budget by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in February 2020. The spirit of this entire exercise is to deduplicate the kind of work that the three agencies are doing at the same time.

Summary of the Debate


  • NRA is a historic transformative reform which the central government has carried out in the field of recruitment test. There are lot of jobs in the central government at the Group B and C level, which are not technical in nature and there are several agencies which conduct different kind of recruitment tests throughout the year.
  • NRA taking over the first level exam of three main government recruitment agencies that is; SSC, IBPS and Railway Recruitment Board. So, this particular CET, which has been envisaged, will be the first level of exam common for these three organisations and it will be held on computer.
  • It is an online examination and the score that is generated out of this particular exam can be used by the candidates for the next level of examination to any of three agencies mentioned above.

National Recruitment Agency

  • The National Recruitment Agency (NRA), a multi-agency body, for conducting a Common Eligibility Test (CET) to screen or shortlist candidates for the Group B and C (non-technical) posts.
  • NRA will be a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • It will be headed by a Chairman of the rank of the Secretary to the Government of India.
  • It will have representatives of the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB & IBPS.

Challenges with the existing system:

  • Aspirants have to go through different exams that are conducted by various agencies for central government jobs.
  • Candidates have to pay fees for different examinations they appear, which are conducted by multiple recruiting agencies.
  • Students have to travel long distances for appearing in different exams.
  • Women candidates especially from rural areas face several challenges in appearing in multiple examinations.
  • The online education system in the current covid situation has brought out this fact that, a large number of students especially in smaller towns and cities are just not been able to cope with the pressure of online education system.


  • The harassment to the students will be reduced.
  • There will be no restriction on the number of attempts.
  • CET will be held twice a year.
  • The score of a candidate shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of declaration of the result.
  • The examinations will be conducted in 12 major Indian languages.
  • There will be different CETs and it will be conducted for three levels that is; graduate level, higher secondary (12th pass) level and the matriculate (10th pass) level.
  • A special focus will be on creating examination infrastructure in the 117 ‘Aspirational Districts.