National Recruitment Agency Unveils Unified CET for Efficient Government Job Selection

The CET, set to commence with graduate-level examinations in May-June, is expected to have a profound impact on job seekers, government agencies, and the private sector alike.

Srajan Girdonia
12 Sep 2023

In a groundbreaking move set to reshape the landscape of government job recruitment in India, the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) has announced its plans to initiate recruitment examinations through the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for Group B and C positions starting next year. This move aims to streamline and simplify the cumbersome and often lengthy recruitment process currently in place. The CET, set to commence with graduate-level examinations in May-June, is expected to have a profound impact on job seekers, government agencies, and the private sector alike.

Extending the Reach

One of the key features of this initiative is the extensive reach of the examinations. NRA is poised to conduct the CET across more than a thousand examination centres in 117 districts throughout the country. The inclusive approach ensures that all district headquarters will be covered, making it convenient for candidates from even the remotest areas to participate.

Furthermore, not only will central and state governments utilize the CET for their recruitment needs, but public enterprises and private sectors will also be able to hire candidates based on their CET scores, offering job seekers a broader range of opportunities.

CET Score Validity

A significant advantage for candidates is the longevity of their CET scores. Once achieved, a CET score will remain valid for a period of three years. This means that candidates can explore various job opportunities and continue to apply for different positions within this timeframe, reducing the pressure and urgency associated with the current recruitment system.

Bidding Farewell to Fragmented Recruitment

Prior to the introduction of CET, numerous agencies, including the Service Selection Commission, Railway Recruitment Board, and Institute of Banking Personnel Selection, were responsible for conducting more than 50 distinct examinations annually. The entire process, from notification to selection, is often extended between 12 to 18 months. 

The CET promises to unify and simplify this convoluted system, streamlining the recruitment process and reducing the waiting time for aspiring candidates.

Gradual Implementation

While the CET has generated significant excitement, the NRA and concerned agencies recognize the challenges associated with simultaneous implementation at all three levels (10th, 12th, and graduation). In response to these concerns, the Standing Committee of Parliament has recommended that the NRA initially focus on graduate-level CET. This phased approach allows for a manageable number of applicants during the initial rollout.

Increasing Accessibility

In line with the parliamentary committee's recommendations, the Railway Recruitment Board has been urged to expand the number of examination centres, ensuring that candidates can access testing centres within a 100-200 km radius. Similarly, the banking recruitment agencies have been encouraged to enhance their capacity by 5.25 lakhs to accommodate the expected influx of candidates.

The establishment of the National Recruitment Agency in December 2020 was a significant milestone in the reform of India's recruitment process. Currently, over 50 examinations are conducted annually for 1.25 lakh vacant central government positions, attracting around 2.5 crore applications. With the implementation of the CET, this arduous process is expected to become more efficient and streamlined, significantly reducing the time from notification to the selection process.

The impending launch of the Common Eligibility Test (CET) by the National Recruitment Agency represents a monumental step towards simplifying and enhancing the recruitment process for Group B and C positions in India. This reform is set to empower candidates from diverse backgrounds, improve accessibility, and expedite the selection process for government jobs. With the phased approach and recommendations from the Standing Committee of Parliament, the CET promises to revolutionize recruitment in the nation, offering a more equitable and efficient path to secure coveted government positions.