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National Recruitment Agency (NRA)

Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

National Recruitment Agency (NRA):


The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of National Recruitment Agency, an independent body to conduct examination for government jobs.

  • Initially, it will organise a CET to screen/shortlist candidates for the Group B and C (non -technical) posts, which are now being conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railways Recruitment Board (RRBs) and Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS). Later on, more exams may be brought under it.

When was it first announced?

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.


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.

Functions of the proposed NRA:

It will conduct a common preliminary examination for various recruitments in the central government.

Based on the common eligibility test (CET) score a candidate can apply for a vacancy with the respective agency.

How the test will be conducted?

The Common Eligibility Test will be held twice a year.

  1. The test will be conducted for three levels: graduate, higher secondary (12th pass) and the matriculate (10th pass) candidates.
  2. However, the present recruitment agencies– IBPS, RRB and SCC — will remain in place.
  3. 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.

Other details:

  • The CET score of a candidate shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of declaration of the result.
  • To make it easier for candidates, examination centres would be set up in every district of the country.
  • While there will be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by a candidate to appear in the CET, it will be subject to the upper age limit.
  • The examinations will be conducted in 12 languages. 

Why is the NRA needed? What are the challenges faced by students and agencies?

  • As of now, aspirants have to take different exams that are conducted by various agencies for central government jobs.
  • Candidates have to pay fees to multiple recruiting agencies and also travel long distances for appearing in various exams.

On an average 2.5 crore to 3 crore aspirants appear for about 1.25 lakh vacancies in the central government every year.

Sources: pib.