NRA-CET 2020: Key Things to Know About
NRA-CET 2020: Key Things to Know About

NRA CET 2020: Key Things to Know About NRA CET

NRA stands for National Recruitment Agency. In the latest announcement by the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister of India, has given the approval to NRA for conducting the Common Eligibility Test (CET). NRA will have representatives from various government departments namely the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, The SSC, RRB & IBPS and other bodies. National Recruitment Agency India will act as a boon to the job-seeking aspirants throughout the country providing easy access to the rural youth, women and candidates with disabilities.

What is the National Recruitment Agency?

A multi-agency body known as the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) will be constructed by the government of India to conduct Common Eligibility Test (CET) for recruitment to various Group B & C posts. NRA exam will be known as CET to be conducted for screening eligible candidates for the next level of examination required to fill vacancies in non-gazetted government posts. NRA would be a specialist body of the government responsible for bringing the state-of-the-art technology and best methods to the field of Central Government recruitment.

The NRA will replace the first level of tests for Group B and C posts by a Common Eligibility Test (CET) to screen or shortlist the candidates for the mains examination. The scores of CET will be valid for a period of 3 years. On average, over 2.5 crore to 3 crore candidates appear in each of these examinations every year.


The functions of the National recruitment agency will include:

  • To conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for screening candidates at the first level for SSC, RRBs and IBPS exams.
  • Access to employment opportunities for rural youth, women and candidates having a lack of proper resources.
  • Remove the Multiplicity of Exams by conducting a common test for all exams.
  • It will focus on access to Test Centres in the Aspirational Districts and motivate the rural candidates living in the far-flung areas to take the examination.
  • Candidates would have the facility of registering on a common portal and give the desired choice of Centres.
  • A single common eligibility test would reduce the recruitment cycle process, resulting in the reduction of cost, time and effort of bodies involved in it.

Exam Details

NRA exam would be called as Common Eligibility Test (CET) and it would act as a preliminary exam for all non gazetted group B and C posts particularly SSC, IBPS & RRB. Here are the NRA CET Exam details:

  • The CET score of the candidate will be valid for a period of 3 years from the date of declaration of the result.
  • A standard curriculum for the CET with a standard degree of difficulty level will be followed.
  • The exam will be held in multiple Indian languages.
  • A separate CET by NRA each for the three levels of graduate, higher secondary (12th pass) and the matriculate (10th pass).

NRA CET structure

A multi-agency body called National Recruitment Agency will be formed that would conduct a single computer-based examination for the recruitment in non-gazetted government posts from 2021. The agency will be responsible for conducting the Common Eligibility Test for selection to government jobs. Currently, multiple exams are being conducted for over 2.5 crore candidates each year. This process will take approx 18 months or more to complete one cycle. The implementation of NRA CET will provide a level playing field for all candidates and will be treated as a preliminary examination for specialized posts.


A single examination will also reduce the financial burden on candidates to a large extent. Candidates will not appear for multiple first stage examinations and a common exam will be held for the preliminary stage. It would significantly reduce the recruitment cycle and will make sure the recruitment process is completed within time. This would be a specialist body which brings the state of the art technology and best practices for Central Government recruitment.

List of Exams conducted by NRA

The National Recruitment Agency will initially aim at replacing the preliminary exams of 3 agencies namely:

  • Staff Selection Commission (SSC)
  • The Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) and
  • The Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS).

This means that aspirants will have to prepare for a single preliminary examination for all the exams conducted by these three agencies namely SSC CGL, CHSL, IBPS Clerk, RRB NTPC etc. The exact details regarding the posts to be notified under CET is yet to be declared.

How to Apply

Under this new system, candidates would be required to apply through a common portal and prepare from a common curriculum. The official website for the NRA will be formed where candidates will be required to apply for CET. Standardised question paper with multiple questions will be there of similar difficulty levels will be set in a central server. Scores of the candidates will be generated quickly under this process, delivered online and will be valid for a period of 3 years. The exam will be held twice in a year.

Exam pattern & Guidelines

Some of the points regarding NRA CET guidelines highlighted by the Department of Personnel & training includes:

  • Standard curriculum will be followed for this along with a standard difficulty level.
  • The exam will be conducted in multiple Indian languages.
  • NRA is expected to conduct a separate CET each for the three levels of graduate, higher secondary (12th pass) and the matriculate (10th pass).
  • The score will act as a preliminary score and final selection will be made through separate Tier 2/Tier 3 examinations which will be conducted by respective recruitment agencies.
  • Scores of CET will be valid for 3 years and best of the score during the period of 3 years will be taken into consideration.
  • There isn’t any restriction on the number of attempts made by candidates.
  • Candidates can schedule their tests and can freely choose the exam centres.
  • Secured scores can be shared with the Central government, State government, Union Territory, Public Sector Undertakings and other private sectors.
  • The examination will be conducted over 1000+ centres and every district must have at least one centre.

How will NRA CET benefit millions of aspirants?

It will benefit millions of government job aspirants and will act as a boon for the youth. It will make sure that candidates don’t have to go through multiple examinations and will share less burden. This will reduce the recruitment process and hence, aspirants will get an early appointment to jobs as compared to now. The CET score could also be shared with other recruiting agencies in the Central Government apart from the mentioned including State Governments/Union Territories, Public Sector Undertaking and Private Sector. This would help these organizations in saving costs and time spent on recruitment.

Major Relief to poor Candidates

Presently, the candidates will have to appear in multiple examinations to be conducted by the multiple agencies. It results in spending thousands of rupees on different forms. A single examination will reduce the financial burden on poor candidates to a large extent. Women candidates are also expected to benefit greatly.

Women candidates, especially coming from rural areas, face a lot of constraints for appearing in several examinations as every time they have to arrange for transportation and accommodation. And sometimes they have to find suitable persons who have to accompany them to Centres that are located far away.

Introduction of NRA in Budget

Union Budget 2020 was presented by the Union Minister of Finance, Nirmala Sitharaman on 1st Feb 2020 where the allocation to different sectors was provided based on the expenditure and income of the government. The education sector was allotted with Rs 99,300 crore for Financial Year 2020-21 and Rs 3,000 crore for skill development sector. The Finance Minister in her speech proposed the idea of some of the major reforms in the recruitment of non-gazetted government posts.  The step is being taken to mitigate the hardships and issues faced by the aspirants in appearing for multiple exams. As per the ministry, the CET will save time and efforts of the students planning to be appointed in Group B and Group C posts. It will also save the money spent by candidates in filling up ‘n’ number of posts.

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About Utkarsh Upadhyay

Learning something new Everyday !!

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